I love meeting expats for their interesting and unique stories
They all moved abroad for a reason: whether to explore the world, further their career or to escape from something… There is always a story there. And although of course every story and every expat is unique, I did enjoy reading about the “five types of global minds you meet abroad” as created by Internations. I therefore wanted to share this with you here.
Over the years I have met all of these types and have identified myself with several of them…
Five Types of Global Minds You Will Meet Abroad
Are you an explorer, keen to see the world? Or are you simply moving abroad because you’re sent there on an expat assignment? There are various different kinds of internationally minded people roaming the globe. InterNations introduces you to five common types of such global minds.
The explorer simply loves to travel the globe, to seek out foreign shores and explore the world. Displaying a keen interest in all that is new and unknown, the explorer is oftentimes drawn to destinations which very much differ from home. Asia, for example, is thus a popular destination of choice for western explorers.
While abroad, the explorer actively seeks out to experience the local culture. Attempts to speak the local language are made, but not always successful. Explorers are like nomads, roaming the globe because there is so much to see, learn, and experience, with each trip or stay abroad an adventure to somewhere new.
However, there are some explorers with a particularly focused interest in one specific country or culture, then known as country-/culturephiles. Take for example the Anglophile. Self-made expats often fall into this sub-category, spurred on by their love for a destination to make the move abroad.
Contrary to the explorer, the escapee is less driven by a love for the unknown, and more by a desire to flee their home. Reasons for the escapee’s flight may vary, from simply boredom to trouble with an ex-partner or the law. The common theme, however, is typically the further away and the more exotic the destination, the better.
The expat retiree is a classic example for the escapee type. Finally able to enjoy the fruits of their life-long labors, most retirees seek out sunny shores to escape the wet and cold climates of their home countries. Florida and Thailand, for instance, are popular destinations for the pensioned escapee.
The Foreign Partner
The foreign partner is living abroad not because of a love or hate for one country, but simply because of love, period. Regardless of whether they have met the love of their life during an explorer’s adventure or simply at the supermarket checkout, the foreign partner finds themselves abroad because love knows no borders.
Depending on their general disposition and personality, moving abroad for love may be the happy fulfilment of a lifelong dream or have the potential of becoming a nightmare. Only the end of the honeymoon phase will tell.
The International Local
Not a foreign resident themselves, the international local is nevertheless very much a global mind. They actively seek out travelers and foreigners, or are at least glad to be gotten in touch with and are thankful for opportunities to share their local expertise with strangers.
International locals are often returned explorers or repatriates themselves, hungering for familiar accents and opportunities to speak the language, keen on sharing experiences, news and stories about the former host-country, or simply hoping to get back this feeling of travelling and experiencing foreign cultures.
The Classic Expatriate
Sent abroad for a few years by their current employer, the classic expat typically takes this chance to further their career and ideally also get some expat benefits out of their stay abroad. Being sent abroad is, however, already where most similarities between classic expatriates end. Based on their individual characters and their behavior while living abroad, there are at least three very distinct subcategories of classic expatriates: the alien, the elitist, and the assimilator.
The alien sticks out in their host country and culture like a sore thumb, whether by choice (e.g. culturally insensitive behavior), or by circumstances (e.g. outward appearance). The elitist similarly does not integrate in the local culture, but spends most of their time, both at work and at home, with fellow expats. The assimilator, on the other hand, does their best to blend in by speaking the local language and adhering to local customs.
Of course, as is always the case with types and categories, these are very much a broad generalization. But I’m sure most of you who have lived abroad or traveled a lot have met numerous people who fit into one of these categories and have enjoyed listening to their stories about life abroad…
InterNations is a worldwide network of global minds. They organize all sorts of events and activities and, as an international online community for people who live and work abroad, InterNations is a great platform for meeting people when you have just moved abroad. For more information go to www.internations.org
Living and working abroad
Are you thinking about moving abroad? Whether for a few months or for the rest of your life, living and working abroad is an incredible experience! Check out my articles about living and working abroad for inspiration and useful tips.