In 2016, I said goodbye to the US, and I haven’t looked back since. These days many black women (including myself) choose to call foreign territory home in search of a better quality of life. And for good reason.
Without further ado here are the best cities for black women to live around the world. Paired with a quote from a black traveler’s experience.
P.S – If you’re looking to get some inspiration on being a Black woman abroad I highly suggest reading Black Girl in Paris and The Black Girl’s Guide To Living, Loving, & Traveling Abroad
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Known for warm sun, and friendly faces Chiang Mai is one of the best cities for black women to live, be at peace, and call your new expat home.
I ended up here due to the corona times and found myself a few months later linking up with the black community over Juneteeth, vegan food, and poetry. It was amazing.
“The only folks who have given me a hint of racist behavior have been white men of western descent…as for the locals, it seems that while they may be a little curious about the differences of hair and skin texture, straight-out negativity is rare…if you are warm and friendly, they will be warm and friendly,”Mukaiwa, Being Black in Chiang Mai | Chiang Mai CityLife
It’s no secret that the history of a country plays a great part in their current-day prejudice.
Scandinavian country’s lack of embedded systemic racism makes it a breath of fresh air for many Black Americans, who are simply pointed out for their nationality over their skin color.
“When people meet me and hear me, they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re American,’” she says. “I don’t have to put anything in front of it or explain why I look the way I look. Here, I’m just an American girl. It’s always ‘African American’ in the U.S.”Joneien Johnson, For Americans of Color, Is Norway a Racism-Free Utopia? | The Root
Seoul, South Korea
Moving to Asia as a Westerner, is not always an easy task.
But even in a homogeneous society, i.e being the only foreigner (black or white) in many spaces, you may still find yourself more welcome than in the US.
“Racism exists everywhere, in small doses or large depending on where you live, but for the most part here it often seems to be less about my race and more the fact that I’m a foreigner. Of course, people see that I’m black, but I’ve gotten less commentary on it here than I do at home.”Anyssa Bohanan, Being Black in South Korea | Green Heart Travel
Panama City, Panama
With an extremely affordable cost of living, friendly Panamanian culture, low crimes rates and a proud African-heritage flowing through the city, Panama is a place to rediscover your identity as a black woman.
“Being a Black girl in Panama, I felt like my ethnical identity had been through the dry cleaners. I came out with an unclear picture like I was that awkward puzzle piece trying to fit into an empty space. But after seeing how Afro culture was celebrated and recognized I felt my identity was reconstructed and given to me in this new form.”Kiersten Brown, What It’s Like To Be A Black Woman In Panama | Sorella
For the boujee and the bold, Dubai is a great place to explore life in the Middle East and experience a whole new way of living.
If you’re willing to take the leap, this city is an amazing place to start your expat adventure as a black woman.
“This move has allowed me to dine with royalty. I’ve watched camels cross the desert on the way to work as the sun rose. I live on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I have a new abroad family of people from cultural backgrounds that I would have never interacted with had I remained in America. Most of all, I now know what it means to live. For me, the pros have definitely outweighed the cons.”Katrina Sunnei Samasa, The Black Expat: ‘I Now Know What It Means To Live | Travel Noire
Singapore is known as one of the best places to be a black expat.
With beautiful skylines, peaceful city atmosphere, high quality of living, and rich, diverse culture, this country is officially on my expat bucket list.
“Living here you forget about racism”Ashley Woods, Living Here You Forget About Racism (Black in Singapore) | MFiles, The Black Experience Japan
As one of the safest and happiest cities in the world, if you want to truly live your best life, head to Switzerland.
Not all cities are created equal, but Geneva seems to be a breath of fresh air for Black American women who call it their expat home.
“Now living in Geneva, I have found my true love of Switzerland. It’s a much more international city, larger and livelier, people are friendlier, and actually open to friendships and getting to know me. I have a diverse group of friends, including some Black Americans. I speak the language now and have had a much more positive experience than in Zug.”Coco, The Black Expat: ‘A Bad Breakup Led Me To Love In Switzerland’|Travel Noire
A city bouncing with opportunities, rich Cantonese cuisine, and a friendly expat community including 10,000 black expats, Hong Kong will give you a taste of expat life that, well, can get addictive.
“I consider myself a permanent expat. I don’t see myself moving back to Canada for the long-term. I love the idea of living in a foreign land and learning something new every day. I love traveling to new places in the region and meeting new people from places that I have never heard of before.”Oneika Raymond, Oneika Raymond in Hong Kong. Teaching and Traveling Southeast Asia|Black Expat
London, United Kingdom
Saving the best for last with my expat home, London! Although London has its issue, as one of most international cities in the world, there’s nowhere as diverse as the Big Smoke. Add a complete lack of guns and European destinations at my doorstep, I’m more than proud to call London my expat home.
Rather than a quote, I’m shouting out the gram on this one as this post sums of my experience abroad perfectly.
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Why every Black American woman should live abroad (at least once) 🇺🇸👩🏽👩🏾🦱👩🏿✈️ In the surge of the 19th century, it was a known fact that hundreds of black artists and creatives fled to Europe. After all, why would it make sense to be well-known, critically acclaimed, and still be treated like a second-class citizen. I don’t know how to write this, because I’ve always felt my experience as a Black American woman was dwindling out of validity considering I left before I knew what it was really like to be an adult in the USA. But I will say this (and 99% of the WOC I meet say the same thing). Living abroad is like “fresh air”. You’re not just described as the “black girl” (because we deserve way more adjectives than that). A new sense of individuality opens up. You’re allowed space. Curiosity from people who want to know way more about you than the color of your skin. Why did you move abroad? Where are you from? I’ve never been there, what’s it like? What do you like to do? You are you. An enigma. A blank canvas. One you can paint however you see fit. One you can paint with colours that the states doesn’t always give you. I know it’s not possible now. And of course, I know a location can only do so much if your inner state isn’t right. But with a surge of messages from other black women this week with a dream of living abroad, it needed to be said. Yes, it is as good a life as I make it seem (at least for me). No, it does not fix your problems, you do. Yes, it will be challenging. But yes. It is worth it, every single time. Also, please note. I can only comment on my experience, and that is okay 🙂