The word expat is short for expatriate, which is a compound of the Latin ex (‘from’ or ‘outside’) and patria (‘native country’). An expat(riate) is someone who lives outside of their native country.
There are expats who work at embassies, international organisations, banks, and companies. Many expats are employees who were sent abroad by development organisations.
Expats usually have a good salary, or at least better than the average employee. Expats usually have a contract for a few years and then go back to their home countries. An expat sees themselves as a temporary inhabitant of a foreign country.
Expats in the Netherlands are not required to learn Dutch or take integration exams. They keep using their first language and often send their kids to international schools where they are taught in that first language.
Dutch children from expats who live abroad can get a Dutch education through the Foundation for Dutch Education Worldwide (NOB), a collection of 200 international schools in 115 different countries. This is explained in the video below:
Translation of the title: World citizens with Dutch roots
Please note: the film is in Dutch; click here for a transcription in English.
Expats often spend time together and do not immerse themselves very much in the culture of the country where they are staying.
Merel is an expat who went to America with her husband. The first few months were amazing, but things ended up being more difficult than expected.
“Everything was new and exciting. We immediately went out to explore the area (Texas) and really enjoyed the new neighbourhood we lived in.
Then all the paperwork started: Taxes, work permit, drivers licence, and my daughter frequently needed to see a doctor. That’s when I started noticing how much energy it all cost. My English is not bad at all, but the lingo used by different businesses and doctors were all new to me. It was quite intense.
Life as an expat is also emotionally difficult for me, especially since I know I’m here only temporarily, so I can’t build a life for the long term. I’ve also always missed my family and friends. I feel that our family is incomplete, especially on birthdays and around the holidays.”
4) What is the main difference between an expat and an immigrant?
5) When does an expat become an immigrant?
6) Why do Dutch children of expats often go to a Dutch international school? Give at least two reasons.
7) When they go back home, former expats often feel like their native country is no longer ‘their country’. What could be the cause of this?