New research from HSBC reveals that while the top motivations for moving overseas are the promise of a better lifestyle or a better work/life balance - an idea shared by a third (31%) of people - the path to feeling settled with a real sense of belonging is not always straightforward.
The study, which surveyed over 7,000 people in nine countries*, found it takes someone on average just under nine months to feel settled when they relocate to Australia, while half (50%) feel settled in under six months.
When asked about top strategies to feel more at home, respondents were clear that putting in the effort to connect with others and experience local culture comes top:
|Actions respondents took to feel at home
|1. Socialising with local community in cinemas, restaurants, etc.
|2. Attending local cultural events
|3. Invested money in my new host location, for example saving with a local bank or buying a property
|4. Participating in activities at their children’s schools
Whilst learning the local language was not in the top five – suggesting it is not a barrier to belonging – it was embraced by a fifth (20%) of respondents.
When coming to Australia, people mostly move for a full- or part-time job (37%), or to study or develop a skill (22%), and sometimes simply because their partner wanted to move here (18%).
Commenting on the study, Jessica Power, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, Australia at HSBC, said: “We undertook this research to better understand how our customers experience the richness and diversity of life that comes with living and working in different cultures, to find the best ways to support them in their journey.
“Although it sometimes takes people over six months to feel settled here in Australia, we’ve seen that many people who do come to Australia plan to stay for 2 – 5 years, about 40 per cent of those moving, so it is critical for us to help them transition for the long term and feel financially secure.
“We also now know that more than half, 53 per cent, of people that have moved to Australia feel that nobody helped them financially prepare for the move, and we want to change this.
“We service over six million international customers, and many of them stay with us as they relocate to new countries. It is our mission to better help these people by trying to remove the social and financial barriers that can prevent people from settling in smoothly and finding a sense of belonging.
“By better understanding the challenges, we’re better equipped to support our customers as they embark on exciting new adventures,” she said.
Geoffrey Cohen, Stanford Professor and expert in the science and psychology of belonging, ccommenting on the findings said: “Living in another country can be exciting and enriching but also daunting. A core challenge isn’t so much a practical matter as a psychological one - the task of creating a home. Home is a psychological state as much as a physical place, one defined by a sense of belonging - a feeling of being an accepted part of a larger community. That’s why it’s important for people to be patient, not put pressure on themselves and take their time to feel settled – plus with some helpful strategies this process can be more seamless. HSBC’s research highlights the emotional barriers people face when moving abroad. Feeling isolated is a key reason some people felt their experience ‘falls short’ of expectations; and on the flip side, finding a sense of belonging in their host country can provide them with motivation to stay longer.”
To help people feel settled faster when moving, HSBC is launching the Unforeign Exchange, a new online community which allows people who are relocating to exchange local insights with those who have real-life experience – anecdotes and insights that cannot be found by simply searching the web.
These real-life insights are generated by international experts, HSBC colleagues and selected influencers, with the goal of making it easier for people who are re-locating to find their feet in their new home.
For more information on what to consider when setting up overseas, read HSBC’s Guide To Moving Abroad.
Notes to editors
Additional Australian data findings:
HSBC support for international customers: Products and services are available across 10 countries and territories: Australia, Canada, mainland China, Channel Islands & Isle of Man, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, UAE, UK, US. The suite of products and services, tailored for international customers enable customers to:
More information here: https://internationalservices.hsbc.com/
**Full 24-hour support is available for Premier customers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, the United Arab Emirates, HSBC Expat, Australia, Canada, the United States and India. Key services are available in the United Kingdom and for non-Premier customers. Chinese language support is provided for HSBC Premier customers in Singapore, Canada, US and Australia.
About HSBC Bank Australia
In Australia, the HSBC Group offers an extensive range of financial services through a network of 41 branches and offices. These services include retail and commercial banking, trade finance, treasury and financial markets, payments and cash management and securities custody. Principal HSBC Group members operating in Australia include HSBC Bank Australia Limited (ABN 48 006 434 162 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 232595) and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (ABN 65 117 925 970 and AFSL 30173).
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