With the rise of affordable air travel and globalization, visiting exotic foreign locales and living an internationally mobile cosmopolitan lifestyle has become possible for people who, only a generation before, may have never had the opportunity to travel far outside of the area where they were born. With commuter flight and specialized travel/migration agencies travel and even long term residence in diverse, fascinating places is attainable to more people than ever before. The following five international cities are just a small selection of the exciting and edifying cultural experiences that the Migration Company Melbourne can help you to enjoy!
While perhaps not traditionally considered a hot spot for Western nationals looking for adventure and cultural enrichment, Beirut, Lebanon is one of the most liberal cities in the Middle East. With a cosmopolitan populace, gorgeous climate, and a thriving, vibrant nightlife, Beirut is a cultural experience not to be missed.
Once called “The Paris of the Middle East,” and with a unique blend of European and Middle Eastern architecture and culture, the city acquired an unenviable reputation following a bloody, late-20th century civil war. While the war has been over for close to 30 years and virtually all of the ruins rebuilt, Beirut’s reputation still persists generations later. The city gained yet more notoriety in 2006 after a short but highly publicized conflict with neighboring Israel, but a decade of progress and reconstruction has healed those wounds, too, and the truth of Beirut isn’t the bombed out conflict zone of popular imagination, but rather a vibrant international capital with a cultured, well-educated intellectual class, thoroughly cosmopolitan, polyglot locals, and a quality of life that’s the equal of any Western city that you can think of.
Located in China’s Guangdong Province and bordering Hong Kong to the south, Shenzhen was founded in 1975 as the first of China’s “Special Economic Zones”; isolated enclaves where the Chinese government could experiment with market liberalization and other reforms without affecting the rest of the country. The experiment, as it turns out, succeeded far beyond expectation, and today Shenzhen is now the beating heart of China’s electronics industry.
Despite being a relatively young city in its current iteration, Shenzhen has existed in some form or another for millennia, with the earliest discovered sign of habitation dating all the way back to 5000 BC. As such the city contains several historic sites, including the tomb of the last Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty, as well as the Crane Lake Fortified Village/Hakka Cultural Museum, which is the largest traditional fortification in southern China.
For those new Shenzhen residents more interested in modern amenities than historic landmarks, the city offers a wealth of spas, world-class restaurants, theme parks, and galleries, most of which are extremely foreigner-friendly and readily accessible by bicycle, bus, or subway.
Shenzhen’s biggest lure, though, may be its massive Huaqiangbei electronics market. A mecca for builders and consumers alike, visitors will find everything from raw components to fully assembled, custom designed drones on offer, and an extroverted, canny group of vendors willing to haggle and negotiate with anyone interested in their wares.
Once the capital city of South Vietnam and known as Saigon, modern Ho Chi Minh City is a delightful riot of sounds, smells, and swirling humanity.
First established as a temple settlement by the little studied Funan state in the 4th century AD, Ho Chi Minh City is located on the Saigon River. First coming under Vietnamese control when it was seized from Cambodia in 1698, the city has changed hands many times in the region’s often volatile history, but has been enjoyed peace and prosperity since the most recent cessation of hostilities in 1975.
Modern day Ho Chi Minh City is the economic center of Vietnam, and a booming metropolis full of excellent food, world-class entertainment, and friendly locals, a large portion of whom speak English at a conversational level.
The city is full of must-see tourist hotspots, but long term residents looking to stretch their legs and go more local may prefer to acquaint themselves with one (or more!) of its modern bars or cafes, catering to trendy locals.
Tourists and residents alike will enjoy the city’s world famous street food and venerable Bến Thành Market.
Widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, and one of the largest in Europe.
Situated on the Danube river and tracing its existence all the way back to a Roman military installation established during the reign of Emperor Claudius, Budapest is positively swimming in culture and history. Having witnessed everything from the arrival of ancient Celtic tribesman, to the excesses of Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies, to World War II fighting and Cold War revolutions and everything in between, the city has time and again been the site of remarkable cultural intersections between East and West, leaving it with one of the most fascinating histories of any city that you’ll find.
Modern day Budapest is cosmopolitan and welcoming, with modern amenities like blisteringly fast WiFi, as well as reliable public transport, and an extremely reasonable cost of living.
The capital city of Portugal, Lisbon is situated on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
Inhabited in some form or another since at least the neolithic era, Lisbon represents another point of cultural convergence. Having at one time or another been the home of Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, Scandinavian crusaders, and Berbers, its remarkable mixed heritage is reflected in the city’s gorgeous and eclectic architecture, ranging from Roman walls to Moorish castles.
Lisbon as it stands today is a busy international hub with a thriving expatriate community. The climate is exceptional, with an average of nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, and both the internet and public transport are reliable and fast. Many if not most of the locals speak English at a near-fluent level, and are generally extremely friendly and welcoming to expatriate residents.