Definition of the word "expat"

51 posts in this topic

I have always believed that an EXPAT is someone who leaves their country, for greener pastures. I am not trying to start any arguments, but I am confused. Many people here refer to themselves as EXPATS, but they say they plan on going back home eventually. I was reading another thread, about "Which is better, England or Germany" and this is where I thought of this.

 

Just like to know where you're all coming from. Just to make myself clear. I don't mean where physically, but headwise. I am curious. I promise I will not argue with, or criticize anyone!

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an expat is per definition someone who lives temporarily or peramently in a country/cultural group other than the one he originally comes from.

 

It has nothing to do with his personal feelings about this or his motivation for doing so.

 

There have been several threads about these things, such as one about whether people would/will return to their country of origin. You could do a search.

 

In general, those who come mainly for work are more likey to feel they want to stay permanently than those who came here fo personal reasons.

 

There are all different types on TT: those who love it here and won't go back (luckily I count myself among these), those who love it here but will still one day go back, those who hate it here and will go back, those who hate it here but will stay (poor buggers), and the saddest group - those who hate it here, will one day go back only to find they don't like it back home anymore either. You will find all types here. :)

 

Of course lots of grey shades in between!

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yeah, I thought of mentioning that one too. But then they would still be expats somewhere else and the categories in the new place would apply again!

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Why don't you ever see the term Pakistani expat, Afghan expat, Bolivian expat, etc? Is it because expat refers to people from first-world countries who choose to leave, the others having left war-torn and / or economic basket cases and are therefore called refugees?

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I'm learning here.

 

I always thought as ex-pat as somebody who lives in another country but really intends to go back to their native land.

 

I don't describe myself as ex-pat as I've been here 7 years.

 

Time for a change of my definitions perhaps?

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It does happen to be a English word, so I would doubt it.

 

Edit: the comment was aimed at post #7.

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It's a snob thing really. However as far as the locals are concerned, i.e. the Germans in this case, all foreigners here are immigrants - regardless of whether they're coming, going, staying or leaving. Call yourself an expat if you like and if it makes you feel good - but at the end of the day you're foreign and you're an immigrant. Or maybe even an economic migrant... For example, many Greeks, Turks, etc. have no intention of settling here and do intend to return to their 'home' countries eventually. Frankly I never use the term. I find it pretentious. Since I'm living here but not German, I consider myself a foreigner. Simple really...

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I don't really get the snob thing, but then again I don't really use it except if I really have to describe my situation in life outside of germany and my native country. It starts to get a bit confusing when in Iowa trying to explain to somebody your Canadian but you don't live in Canada you live somewhere else then the word expat comes in handy. Also in describing a segment of population it is rather handy.

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It seems to me that "expat" is used to describe professionals and highly skilled segments of the workforce, also diplomats, ONG staff, artists, etc.

 

The vast majority of people working outside their countries of origin are low-skilled/low-wage labour (e.g. Filipino domestic help or Asian construction workers in the Gulf) but I don't think they're ever referred to as expats - someone correct me if I'm wrong - I believe they are usually labelled as foreign or migrant workers (in UN terminology, not in the Steinbeck, fruit-picking labourer sense of the term). It would be interesting to know what terms they themselves use to describe their status.

 

Edit: As ES said above, in a way it is a snob thing.

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I find it interesting that in the case where these two 'immigrants' beat up the 76 yr old pension in the UBahn, that the perps were not immigrants - well, at least one, the Turkish one, was born in Germany - so how can he be an immigrant if he was born here? In the States, we would call him '1st generation Turkish'.

 

I also found it strange that people from England, U. S. Canada (ie English speaking countries) are called Expats and everyone else is an immigrant.

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so how can he be an immigrant if he was born here? In the States, we would call him '1st generation Turkish'.

Just wondering if English/French/Swedish immigrants to the States are called "1st generation English/French/Swedish"?

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It's a snob thing really. However as far as the locals are concerned, i.e. the Germans in this case, all foreigners here are immigrants - regardless of whether they're coming, going, staying or leaving. Call yourself an expat if you like and if it makes you feel good - but at the end of the day you're foreign and you're an immigrant. Or maybe even an economic migrant... For example, many Greeks, Turks, etc. have no intention of settling here and do intend to return to their 'home' countries eventually. Frankly I never use the term. I find it pretentious. Since I'm living here but not German, I consider myself a foreigner. Simple really...

Then why is your user name ecks patz, sure sounds like expat to me :D

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I find it interesting that in the case where these two 'immigrants' beat up the 76 yr old pension in the UBahn, that the perps were not immigrants - well, at least one, the Turkish one, was born in Germany - so how can he be an immigrant if he was born here? In the States, we would call him '1st generation Turkish'.

In the States, being born there would automatically entitle one to an American Passport/citizenship, that is not the case here, or for that matter in most countries. Why wouldn't you call them 1st generation American.

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Are you an aüslander, Englander, Ami, usw?

 

Hell no, I am an expat*. ;)

 

Sounds better than alien, furiner, 'insert whatever here'...

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