Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

EXPAT OR IMMIGRANT : What’s the right term to use ?

Article from AFRIC Editorial
There is usually a popular saying that goes, ‘home is home’, meaning no matter where you find yourself at some point in time in life, it can never feel the same as going back to your roots. In today’s society, for one reason or the other, people tend to leave their home countries to other states. Most of the time, people migrate or settle out of their home countries due to a job opportunity or in search of greener pastures, or yet a better life. As a matter of fact, there exists quite a good number of factors that can lead one into becoming an expat or an immigrant. Since ancient times, people have gone to live in foreign countries, whether as diplomats, traders or missionaries. The numbers of such travellers grew significantly after the 15th century with the dawn of the European colonial period.

. While some people move abroad to live permanently, others travel just for a limited time to achieve a certain goal and move back home. These movements of persons in and out of their homelands have often resulted in the confusion in understanding who is an expat and who is an immigrant. In the following write-up, we are going to uncover who an expat is and factors that contribute to someone becoming an expat, as well as who is an immigrant.

Who is an Expat?

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines an expatriate or expat for its shortened form as a person who lives outside their native country. In common practice, the term often refers to professionals, skilled workers, or artists taking positions outside their home country, either independently or sent abroad by their employers, who can be companies, universities, governments, or non-governmental organisations. It is true that several Africans are living abroad as expats because of well paid jobs. The same can be said for the western world sending their citizens to work as expats in Africa because of the numerous opportunities present in the continent. The influx of foreign expats to Africa has increased in recent time.

There exists several reasons or factors why people decide to move abroad and some of them include:

  • The need to increase one’s creativity. Some people move abroad so as to increase their creative thinking. The adventure teaches one how to develop a new perspective that will result in a positive change in their life. Becoming an expat college provide you with new ideas and visions.
  • Becoming an expat also grants one the opportunity of expanding their horizons. It helps you keep an open mind when it comes to others’ cultures and traditions and will equally change your mind on a whole lot of other things.
  •  It further helps you learn about new cultures first hand, rather than watching on television or reading about it.
  •  Being an expat makes one more independent. Staying away from family forces one to learn to do things on their own, especially things that they have never tried out before.
  • It also grants one the opportunity of learning a new language. Finding yourself in a country where, the first language is not known to you, gives you the push to study a new language.
  • Living abroad will result in you making great international connections. It grants you the opportunity of meeting new and different people. This will thereby result in you broadening your professional networking and your personal one.

Who is an Immigrant?

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines an immigrant as a person who has come to live permanently in a country that is not their own. There exists many reasons why people move from their countries of origin to another country to seek permanent residence. While some may move because of the need to seek a better life, others migrate due to natural disasters. In recent times the rate of migration has become so alarming with people even using the illegal means of moving to other countries for greener pastures.

Causes or Reasons For Immigration

There is a wide range of reasons why people move from their nations of origins to other countries, which could be economic, political, social or even natural causes. Immigrants are motivated to leave their former countries of citizenship for reasons such as:

  • A lack of local access to resources
  • A desire to prosper economically
  • To look for or engage in paid work
  • To improve on their standard of living
  • To enhance their educational background
  • Natural disasters, climate change and conflict also motivate people to migrate
  • Some migrate to escape persecution, especially religious and political persecutions.
  • Others simply move to change one’s quality of life.

Whether an expat or immigrant, it is not usually an easy task for one to leave their country of origin to some unknown or strange land. It is usually a very delicate decision to make, if to become an expat or an immigrant, as the outcome is sometimes good, while at other times it is very challenging.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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