There are tons of lists which claim to definitively point out the world’s friendliest country. A lot of magazines take a stab at it on a regular basis (eg. Forbes, Inc) with varying results. While I think this list varies from person to person, there are a few countries that seem to show up on a couple of lists: Canada, Iceland, and New Zealand.
While I personally think my home, the United States, is among the friendliest nations, the geographic vastness and significantly greater population of the U.S really nullifies my having any good sample size to claim it is the friendliest (especially now – wink wink, nudge nudge). I haven’t been to Iceland yet so for me the battle always came down to Canada vs New Zealand.
Let’s start with Canada: my experiences with Canadians have shown me that they fully deserve their position at the top as one of the friendliest countries in the world. Canadians have this knack for apologising to you even when you’re actually the one in the wrong and it is thoroughly endearing. And, while my experiences in Alberta, British Columbia, and Toronto have been mostly fantastic, my interactions with people in Quebec were a different story altogether. Admittedly I only speak some high school French but let’s just say that my experience with the French Canadians hasn’t been the greatest.
New Zealand, on the other hand, I went in with absolutely zero expectations. I honestly didn’t expect “friendliest” to be the superlative I used when I first visited, especially given how remote the islands are. Why would you want foreigners interrupting the peace and tranquillity of your beautiful home? I am happy to report that my fears were unfounded.
New Zealanders love sharing the beauty of their country with foreigners and certainly welcomed us with open arms. I found myself making friends at every turn and during every morning photography walk. Can’t say enough of about how helpful and friendly I found the country to be across the board. And I think I got a pretty good sample of New Zealand to back up this claim. Look at me, trying to scientifically ascertain my predilections.