The 6 Different Kinds of Expat

June 16, 2014

in love, moving abroad, retirement

Expat life is varied and exciting. All manner of people choose to make the move abroad and they do so for many different reasons. However, there are certain types and traits of expats that we will all recognize.

1.      The ex-expat-child: They’ve lived in more countries than you’ve even visited, have a web of friends across the world who they met while at a range of top international schools and always have a great story to tell when someone asks where they’re from. They have this expat thing down so befriend rather than envy them!

 2.      The perpetual gap year-er: They set off on an adventure and never stopped. These men and women are top cocktail makers, rucksack packers and hostel-sleepers, for whom expat life is one never-ending holiday.

3.      The careerist: New York needed them, now Hong Kong does too. This expat goes where the economic tide takes him or her, often with family in tow. Much of the drama when moving overseas for work is removed by their company’s support but the next move is ever-imminent.

4.      The ‘[INSERT COUNTRY]phile’: This expat fell in love with his/her destination country before even moving there – by learning the language, listening to the music, cooking the local cuisine. Moving abroad wasn’t a shock so much as a return to a spiritual home. As such they have a wealth of knowledge to share with other expats but are more likely to be found hanging out with local friends.

5.      The rom com star: This expat fell in love – not with the country but with someone who came from there – and they’ve moved across the world to pursue love’s young (or not so young) dream. Their friends back home say it will never last but they’re just jealous that this wasn’t their adventure!

6.      The runaway parent (otherwise the retiree): Life post work was meant to be a walk in the park, but these parents found they were continually hassled by their middle-aged children as soon as they started to receive a pension. So they did the only sensible thing – ran away abroad to soak up the rays among friends not relatives and relish their retirements!

Which of these expats have you run into on your travels — or, which one are you?

This guest blog post was written by Expat Explorer, brought to you by HSBC Expat.

5 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Amy

    I’m #4 and #5! I’ll be moving to Perth, Australia early next year to be with my Aussie boyfriend. I’m definitely an Austraphile. I fell in love with Australia even before I visited for the first time and then I loved it when I visited for the first time when I went to Sydney. Can’t wait to move! Nice blog 🙂

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks Amy — and good luck to you. I love that you are coming here for love! It’s a beautiful country and you will love it. I never made it to Perth but hear it rocks.

  2. Alice

    I definitely am #2! My first week as an expatriate student led me to believe travelling and experiencing new culture and lifestyle was the life I wanted to live! You summed it up pretty well…never-ending holiday!! 🙂


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