What is your definition of an expat?

citygirl

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What is your definition of an expat?

I read a lot of posts on here from people calling themselves expats or talking about their "move" to Argentina. But the large majority seem to be here for 1 year or less.

That (IMO) isn't being an expat. It's being on holiday or doing a year abroad.

So for me, I think there has to be a minimum time frame - maybe 2 years? And on top of that time period, I think a person has to have some type of roots here, be it a job or starting a business or marrying. Those things to me make someone an expat

Do you differentiate between expats and everyone else? If so, what makes an expat in your book?

Random musings on Xmas eve...
 

markbsas

Registered
Lee said:
I have lived here for 3 years.

An expat is some one who no longer is interested in living in the country that that were born in.

Most of the world are expats.

Happy Holidays!
If this is the definition of an expat, then I am NOT an expat.

Merry Christmas
 

ElQueso

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Lee said:
An expat is some one who no longer is interested in living in the country that that were born in.
Can't agree with you on that. I think you're talking about an immigrant.

What about people who are transferred by their companies, for example, and live in a country for years as part of their work? Many of them return to their country - and indeed want to when theya re finished with their position. They are expats. I knew a whole bunch of them when I used to work for an offshore drilling company, and I always wanted to be one. I was a software geek though and just got to travel a lot instead of being permanently stationed.

There are many different types of expats. There are those who left because they don't want to live in their country any more. There are those who left their country because they are looking for something else, without even knowing what it is - they may return. There are expats that are there because of work. I'm sure there are other types as well, but I'm tired and can't think of more. Heh.

But I have to agree with citygirl, there is a difference between an expat and a foreigner on sabbatical or even a long-term tourist.

I'm not sure where that line crosses, but it has to be a mixture of intent and time. Intent to actually live in another country (as opposed to just checking it out and seeing if you like it, for example), and the accomplishment of that intent over a period of time. As far as what that period is? I would say less than a year is too short, but hesitate to put a higher limit.
 

Liam3494

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Well, not sure where I would be defined. As I have only been here six weeks so far, I am well short of the requirements of some definitions. But given that it is my intention to be here for at least the next three years and my significant other is Argentine, do I qualify under that definition.

To add fuel to this debate - I was born in Northern Ireland, but moved to England as a 4 year old, where I stayed for 36 years, before returning to Northern Ireland. Then two years later I moved to the Republic of Ireland (and I am not trying to have a debate of Ireland's status here). Spent 5 years in Dublin, before moving down here - Given I have only lived 6 years out of 50 in my country of birth, what does that make me - wherever I reside?
 

macondo mama

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Hi,

I think this can be a really interesting question, depending on the meanings you attach to it all. For me, it is a term that refers to your current situation and your future plans, and reflects both the political and the personal. I wrote a blog post about this a little while ago and would be interested to hear what any of you have to say about it:

http://macondomama.blogspot.com/2009/09/expat-or-immigrant.html

I have decided that I prefer to describe myself as an immigrant, but I still selectively use 'expat' when I think it will better describe my position in a particular context. That I have the privilege to do so is, perhaps, the whole point.
 

Camila

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"Expat" seems to spark a semantic discussion - so to that end: I have always winced when people say they "lived" in a country - and it turns out to be a matter of months . . . .
As for me, I've spent most of the past 3 1/2 years here in Buenos Aires. Shorthand, I say I "live" between SF, CA and BsAs, Argentina. But more accurately, I say "I've lived as a tourist" here the past 3 1/2 years. I leave every 3 mos. or pay the fine. I am NOT an expat. I have never intended to go for residency here. I have always known that one day I would live back in the US more regularly. I didn't know I would be here this long . . .
 

Camila

Registered
"Expat" seems to spark a semantic discussion - so to that end: I have always winced when people say they "lived" in a country - and it turns out to be a matter of months . . . .
As for me, I've spent most of the past 3 1/2 years here in Buenos Aires. Shorthand, I say I "live" between SF, CA and BsAs, Argentina. But more accurately, I say "I've lived as a tourist" here the past 3 1/2 years. I leave every 3 mos. or pay the fine. I am NOT an expat. I have never intended to go for residency here. I have always known that one day I would live back in the US more regularly. I didn't know I would be here this long . . .:):):) It's been wonderful. I wrote a book about the experience (Tango, an Argentine Love Story [Seal Press] but I could write ten more . . . Looking for the publisher . .
 

julicar12

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I was going to post a new thread nut I found this old one so I am going to revive it for a quick question.

So I take inmigrant and expats are not the same thing?

Why is it that people referr to gringos, europeans and the like as "expats" but to bolivians,paraguayans, etc as "inmigrants"?

When I asked a porteno to quickly tell me a place they relate to "expats" he told me "Recoleta" and when I said inmigrant he said "villa miseria".
 
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