What is Expatriate or Expat? Understanding the term and concept.
Expatriate is a Latin word with a combination of ex (“out of”) and patria (“native country, fatherland”). Referring to Oxford dictionary: Expatriate or Expat is a person who lives outside their native country. Mostly expats are professional or skilled workers in their profession. Expat is different than Migrant or Immigrant. Normally, expats or expatriates are supposed to reside in their host country for few months or years, with the ultimate intention of returning home later without getting permanent residency of the host country. However, due to higher standard of living and a better of .quality of life abroad, many of them never return home
I saw people who were thinking that becoming an expat will set them apart from the local culture. But as an expat I found this term even useful. As an expat or immigrant, always immersing in the local culture is up to them. So being expat is more than just living out of native country.
Expatriates takes a position, either independently or as a work assignment scheduled by the employer. Expats usually earn more than they would at home, and more than local employees. In addition to salary, businesses sometimes give their expatriate employees benefits such as relocation assistance and housing allowance.
Expat population worldwide?
Based on utesinternationallounge.com, since 1960, the number of expats triplicated and today we have 230 million expats worldwide. 3.1% of the global population are expats. Almost half of the expat population are women. UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait are some of those countries with highest share of expats in total population. When you are reading this article, 6 to 7 expats would have moved abroad for the first time.
Reasons to become an expat?
If you talk to an expat, you will find the reason for their movement. Sometimes, it’s just a good job opportunity and sometimes, it’s an answer to economic or environmental crisis. There are many expats who moved to new place because they wanted to be with another people or wanted to experience a new place or a different life.
What is the difference between an expat and an immigrant?
There is a semantic difference between expat and immigrant. Expat is someone who lives outside of their home country, however an immigrant is also a person who lives outside of their home country but immigrants left their home country permanently to settle in another country while an expat lives in other countries for temporary. Immigrants are looking for another home country.
How is look like to be an expat?
Each expat has his/her own way of life outside the home country and experiences can be vary. But we can say that there are some general things in common.
1. Feeling some confusion by Social etiquette
Always joining the new community or society is challenging. As an expat the first thing that pay attention to is how little we know about new country. It’s not just about knowing the places, it’s also about how to behave in new society.
Its culture experience. We learn how to take a taxi or bus, order a coffee, rent or buy things greet others and etc. This is a new way of learning and improving.
2. Learning day by day
English is a universal language, so almost as an expat you can use English to communicate. But communicating effectively with native people may need learn more. Taking a new language will not be easy but it’s one of most rewarding things.
3. Have a chance to meet new people from everywhere
You will find a big group of people from all around the world. This is one of amazing things about being expat. Also you have always the chance to move to new places and new countries to work and countries and companies will be welcoming because you are carrying a precious experience.
You will find others who had same experience and willing to help and don’t forget to make local friends because they can make your stay so much easier than you may think.
4. Get rid of feeling lonely
As an expat, we have to live far from our friends and relatives and it can be tough and you may think that you are missing family events. This may make you feel lonely but the only choice is getting rid of feeling lonely by making friends and participating in different groups. After a while you will find yourself in a situation that you never had before and this will be your reward.
How to make this experience more successful?
Here are some steps for you to guarantee a successful experience of being expat:
Search about new society culture:
You may find different norms, beliefs, values, behavioral patterns in the host country. Knowing about these differences can help to adapt faster and face less challenges and make your stay more pleasant. A good way to achieve this, is searching for history, religion, geography, economy and the way of living life in the country. If you search in apps like Meta (formerly Facebook), you may find local groups who share the ideas and help each other to find things and talk about what is happening locally. It can give you good idea about new places.
Include your family:
Being alone in a new country can be tough. If you have a family, just involve them into your decision and ask them to move with you to new place. If you have to decide between multiple offers, think about those who are willing to support you to include your family during your stay by official family joining VISA’s.
Choose carefully a place to stay:
We all know that places and neighborhoods in all cities are different. Neighborhoods are more like communities with common life style and it’s important to live in a place that share similar things with you. This can help making friends in a more effective way and will help to settle in faster.
Keep the end in mind from the beginning:
Expats are coming to experience new life and they will go to their home country or another country, no matter how much it takes. Going back to home country or another country is challenging too. However when you move to a new country for a first time, It won’t be that much hard to do it again but it’s still challenging and you should keep this in mind ever. You should be ready for doing that all the time. One of practical tricks is: Don’t sell everything like your home and car just to relocate so fast. First move to new place and evaluate your workplace and new society for few month, then plan for relocate if it’s necessary.
Try to know yourself more:
This is true that those individuals which has some skills like problem solving, resilient, socializing have more chance or at least has less challenges to settle in faster and safer. If you know yourself you can decide that is it possible to be in new country and society as an expat at the first place and then how?
These are most important characteristics to expat success: Adventurousness, Cultural sensitivity, Curiosity, Flexibility, Open mindedness
Socializing is one of important success factors for expats. Especially if you have kids, it’s better to have a family relationships with other families that have same situation.
What do you need to know as an expat?
As an expat we need to know about all laws and regulations in native and host country that will affect us in personal and professional life. We need to know about tax regulations not only in the host but also in the native country because we may also have to file an income tax return in the country of residence. The cost and quality of life are other important things that we need to know before moving to new country as an expat. To get visa, we need to get through a process and receive some certificates and permissions. This is the most complicated part of moving to new place especially for the first time but normally, employers will help in this.
In 2021, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat were indexed in the list of top ten most qualified cities to live. The tax in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is almost zero and salary is higher than many countries.
Do you want to know more expats? You may want to read Wikipedia (put link here) to receive more information
regarding History, Literary and screen portrayals and recent trends.
Difference between an Expat and an Immigrant (weexpats.com)