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Expatriate

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: An expat or expatriate is a person who lives outside of his or her native country or the country in which they grew up. Expats move to other countries for many reasons, though the term typically refers to people who move abroad for vocational reasons or retirement.

Expatriate - Expatriate

An expat, or expatriate, is a person who lives outside of his or her native country or the country in which they grew up. Expats move to other countries for many reasons, though the term typically refers to people who move abroad for vocational reasons or retirement.

Expatriate assignments for international companies, governments or other organizations are often broken down into three stages - before the assignment, the assignment, and after the assignment.

Human Resources departments in corporations now often make a distinction between expatriate and localized employees to design levels for an expat package, a shortened name for expatriate compensation package. Localized employees receive a salary and benefits in line with those provided to employees in the country in which they reside. There also can be a blend of the two types - localized with specified additional benefits commonly provided to expatriate employees.

After some expats live in a new country for an extended period of time and become permanent residents or a citizens of that country, they no longer feel that they are expatriates. Some may even feel offended when referred to as an expat. Similarly, expats often feel slighted when referred to as a tourist or even a business traveler.

Expats immersed in a new country and culture may experience culture shock to varying degrees. There has been a lot of research into culture shock, and many different models of the phenomenon have been proposed.

There is a long tradition of expatriate artists moving to cultural meccas, such as Paris, New York or London. This history dates back to such artistic luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. More recently, Johnny Depp (American in France), Madonna (American in London), Liam Neeson (Brit in the U.S.), Kevin Spacey (American in London), have continued the tradition.

More from Expat Exchange:

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Ecuador Expat Forum
Expat Exchange Country Forums - Full list of expat forums available on Expat Exchange
South Africa Expat Forum
Resources for Expats

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Dec 03, 2014

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