Going local: when is an expat no longer an expat?

A recent article in Business Review (www.business-review.eu) asks when is an expat not an expat?

By Debbie Stowe

One unhappy answer is when they’re an immigrant. As a Brit – or Westerner – in Romania, there’s an uncomfortable disparity in how welcome we are made here, and how our equivalents doing the reverse journey – Debora Stoescu, say – would be treated in our home countries.

This is worse since the Brexit vote, and the horrible process of making Europeans who have made the UK their home, laid down roots, contributed to society, paid taxes and so on apply for settled status, and disenfranchising them.

But it was also the case before, and seems to apply the world over, wherever richer/whiter/Westerner people going to less developed countries are “expats” and those going the other way are “immigrants”.

Some Brits I know who’ve been here for years say they no longer consider themselves expats. It’s a much more attractive attitude than can be seen from those who swagger around town, giving it the big “I am” as we say in London, just because they happened to be born in a more developed country.

But no matter how much you adapt, how well you speak the language or how integrated you are, a foreigner still enjoys the advantages of perception, that Romanian trait of wanting to make a Western visitor feel at home and take away a good impression of the country.

I was pondering this life cycle of an expat after a recent readjustment following a lengthy visit to the UK. After (gulp) 15 years here, I like to think I’m pretty integrated – that I’m not one of your newbies who’d get ripped off by a taxi driver or be shocked when service is not with a smile.

Full article here:  http://business-review.eu/lifestyle/going-local-when-is-an-expat-no-longer-an-expat-196894