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 different kinds of internationally-minded people roaming the globe. InterNations introduces you to five common types of such global minds.
1. The Explorer
The explorer loves to travel the globe, 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 that very much differ from home. Asia, for example, is thus a popular destination of choice for western explorers.
While abroad, the explorer actively seeks 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.
2. The Escapee
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 simple 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 of 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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. Those that are entrepreneurs may consider starting a business. Those living in Florida for example can register a Florida LLC, same with other localities based on existing regulations.