Leaving your home country to live and work abroad is one of the most challenging life adventures to take on. Everything is new: the smells, the language, even the brands in the supermarket.
While our world is lot more connected than it used to be, HSBC's Expat Explorer website is a handy interactive tool that has done a lot of information gathering for you.
Based on an annual survey of more than 4,000 expats in 100 countries, the tool covers three broad areas of life abroad: economics, experience (quality of life) and offspring (raising children). Using dropdowns, visitors can set the values that mean the most to them, from making friends to setting up utilities to "my children eat less junk food now". The tool then displays the top 25 countries that best fit those values.
There are some surprising names that come up: Bermuda is consistently at the top and when based solely on economics, Russia takes the top slot; while Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE are one, two and three overall.
The site contains a colourful world map that changes according the criteria chosen, and users can even compare one country to another based on what is most important to them. The site also contains a breakdown of "expat findings" from the survey and case studies of people who have moved or settled in foreign countries. An effort is also being made to create a community through the Expat Explorer's blog with posts from many expats around the world.
Now you can know before you go. For more information, peruse our Living in columns, a series that examines what it's like to live in cities across the globe.