Characteristics of an Expat

What Is an Expat?

According to the Oxford dictionary, an expat, which is short for expatriate, is ‘a person who lives outside their native country‘.

Wikipedia adds some more information to that:

“In common usage, the term expat often refers to professionals, skilled workers, or artists taking positions outside their home country, either independently or sent abroad by their employers. These employers can be companies, universities, governments, or non-governmental organizations. However, the term ‘expatriate’ is also used for retirees and others who have chosen to live outside their native country.”

I have lived in over a dozen countries all over the world and met many expats, from many different backgrounds.

Is There Such a Thing as ‘The Typical Expat’?

My first reaction is to say no because I believe every person is different and therefore so is every expat.

But I do believe we have certain things in common, a certain way of looking at life at least that makes living and working abroad more appealing to us and I feel the following article describes that quite well…


1. Eagerness to learn
Expats are open minded and eager to learn new things – from culture through to history and where to find the best hair of the dog on a Sunday, expats are eager to learn everything there is to know about their new city, culture, and way of life. There’s (almost) nothing they’d say no to!

2. Not afraid of a challenge
Expats throw themselves into the deep end and they’re not afraid of a new challenge. Relocating to a new city is equal parts exciting and terrifying, but they do it anyway…

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If you are interested in expat life check out my ‘Ask an Expat Series‘ in which I interview expats all over the world about their experiences living and working abroad.

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Featured image: taken in Athens while traveling through Greece just after I left my job on the island of Kos.


Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

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