This week we’re focusing on an excellent article by Ginann Mitic published in the WSJ blog, about the issue of being an expat or an immigrant. Have a great read!
OVER THE YEARS I have found it problematic to call myself an expat. And I really got to thinking about it after a recent article in the Guardian newspaper brought up the question of who is an expat and who is an immigrant. But the story didn’t answer for me the question I’m constantly struggling with: “Does the word expat define me?” I don’t think so.
According to Wikipedia—that bastion of instant knowledge—the word expatriate (which comes from the Latin “ex,” meaning “out of,” and “patria,” meaning “country or fatherland”) is defined as a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s citizenship. So, according to a strict interpretation of this definition I’m not an expat because though I hold American citizenship by birth, I also became a naturalized British citizen in 2008.
Expat, Wikipedia goes on to say, has commonly come to refer these days to professionals who are sent abroad by their companies. Now, this is more like how I view an expat: Someone who is sent overseas to live and work for a specific amount of time, and oftentimes ends up in an expat bubble, existing in a community of other expats and not really getting to know the locals. There is even something of a negative connotation when the word is defined in this manner. (Read More).