This is an old draft post from 2012 that I found. I decided that it is OK to post it as it stands.
Immigrant: a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country
Expat: a person who lives outside their native country.
There was some article recently that I can’t be bothered to find, complaining that, as an Indian in Britain, he could never be seen as an ‘Expat’.
Then there were lots of comments deriding Expats (meaning British Expats) who went to live in places like Spain but never integrated and, yet, didn’t think of themselves as immigrants but only Expats – as if it makes a difference.
Which, according to the terms as defined by Oxford (online) are, in effect, the same.
Anyway, I have always realised that I am, in fact, an immigrant here, in Italy. Am I an Expat? Well, I suppose so. And if you’re looking for other English people then you could do worse than Google “expat milan”. Obviously, I have friends who are also Expats (American and British) but I really don’t like mixing with Expats much.
I mean to say, the only thing we have in common (usually) is that we live in a foreign country. It does mean that when we’re in a group we are able to complain about the same things, many of us having had the same experiences but the question I always ask myself is, “If we weren’t Expats in a foreign country, would I actually LIKE this person. Sadly, the answer isn’t always a resounding “yes”.
But, I’m not even sure if I’m a true immigrant. I never said that I would stay here permanently. I mean I do love it here but it doesn’t mean permanent. It means ‘for now’. So I’m not sure what that makes me. But I feel as if I’m not quite an immigrant. Nor quite an Expat.
Although I am keeping my British passport, of course. And I like being English – I just don’t want to move back there, if I can help it. But, being away for so long now, nor do I feel it’s quite right to ‘meddle’ in the affairs of the UK.
In the same way, nor do I feel it’s right for me to ‘meddle’ in the the affairs of Italy