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June 2017

Behold

“Expat” or “migrants”? How should we call ourselves & why you might be wrong

expats or immigrants, what's the difference

Some things in life have become so familiar to us that we don’t even question it. I’m thinking about queuing 2 hours for Berghain, waiting too long for a Döner at Mustapha’s or giving up on the idea of ever buying real butter (no margarine) at Lidl & Aldi. Those things exist and we won’t challenge them.

One could also say the same about how most of us define ourselves. The term probably comes up in your conversations once in a while back home or here.  We are expatriates, expats part of the expat community.

  • “What does it feel like to be an expat?”
  • “Aren’t you tired about all those expats ruining the city?”
  • “I can’t believe how many expats just don’t want to learn the language! Right?”

But why exactly do we favor that term? Surely, as foreigners, if we left our countries in search of a better life abroad, should we not be immigrants? It would seem to make sense after all. So who is an expat? Who is an immigrant? What does that say about us? And is there a better way to call ourselves? These things have been in my head for a while now, and i will make my own attempt to try to answer to these questions.

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