expat or immigrant?

Here’s a nice little commentary from the Guardian on The British abroad: expats, not immigrants.

I’ve been mulling this ever since a friend of mine (British, incidentally) was chatting about his upcoming move to Seattle and said, “You know, the expat life.” Well, no, I don’t know.

The two necessary and sufficient conditions to be an expat are identifying as one and looking the part.

2 thoughts on “expat or immigrant?

  1. “The Indian just off the plane at Heathrow, the Pakistani out for his maiden walk on Oxford Street, the Lithuanian finding his way around St Pancras are all too acutely aware that this is not their country. They must ingratiate themselves as soon as possible. Our expat has no such dislocations.”

    I agree here, to be an expatriate seems to come with the connotation that you must be different, you’re not meant to fit in and you’d never have to.

    In this sense I think we’re both not expatriates. We’re not sent on a “mission” from whatever firm we’re working for to build something, let it be a business or whatever, for a few years without ever considering the possibility that wherever we’re being sent to may just be our next home.

    • Exactly. The expat wants to be seen as different; the immigrant doesn’t. The expat isn’t here to make a new home; the immigrant is.

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