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The Seven Expat Categories

The Seven Expat Categories

The Seven Expat Categories

These days more and more people are asking, “I really want to leave my home country, I’m so bored, there’s no job opportunities, it’s just no fun here anymore, but where should I go?” Well, there is, quite literally, a world of possibilities out there, each place full of richness and opportunity. Of course, where you go depends on what kind of person you are. What would be a great expat haven for some seems like a hellish nightmare to others. For the purposes of illustration, some observers of the expat scene have divided expatriates into seven rather interesting general categories.

Read on and find out which of the seven expat categories you fall into.

Expat Categories #1: PIONEER

The opportunity-focused expat, willing to relocate solely for the prospect of making a great deal of money and doing something interesting. This person thinks nothing of charging in to an almost native, potentially dangerous environment, all the while caring nothing about the falling-apart, squalid infrastructure.

This expat is usually willing to learn the local language and doesn’t care if anyone else speaks English there. He loves the almost lawless, wild-west persona and can literally smell the money everywhere.

The Seven Expat Categories

Expat Categories #2: EXPEDITIONER

The classic traveler, following in the footsteps of British merchants and explorers. This expat wants to make the journey overseas, but also wants her amenities too, complete with a triple mocha latte. She wants to storm the plains of the Serengeti, but with an armed guide. She wants to see India up close and personal, and then go back to her five-star hotel. In short, this expat wants the richness of the expat experience, but wants it to be easy and painless.

Photo: Photobymack/ Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Photobymack/ Wikimedia Commons

Expat Categories #3: RETIREE

He’s had a full career and is looking for a change. It’s not just about playing golf every day (though there will be plenty of that); rather, it’s about finding a new direction in life, taking new steps and getting energized again.

The Retiree is looking for something worthwhile to throw his time and effort into. He wants to meet not only like-minded people who are in a similar position in life, but also young men and women from all over the world. In a way, he wants to turn back the clock and find a place that reminds him of his home back in the day – say, 1950’s America.


Expat Categories #4: NOMAD

The permanent traveler. She roams the globe because there are simply too many amazing places to see and so many abundant opportunities in each place.  She may have a ‘home base’ somewhere, but often doesn’t see it for months at a time.  She knows people all over the world and truly enjoys making new connections and trying new things. She counts air miles as an asset and talks about ‘running down to Panama for a few days’ as if she were going down the street to pick up a quart of milk at the grocery store.

Photo: Steven Zwerink Flickr
Photo: Steven Zwerink Flickr

Expat Categories #5: HERMIT

Our introverted expat shuns contact with most people in the world because “they just don’t get it.”  He’s passionate about his beliefs and is looking for a place where he can execute an agenda: growing organic food, preparing for social chaos, etc.

The Hermit is possibly interested in setting up a small community with like-minded souls, preferably away from major civilization centers, where he can live his life without bother or interference from governments or “corrupt” social institutions.


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Expat Categories #6: INTERNATIONALIST

This high-flyer is a smart, educated, opportunistic professional, sort of a cross between the Pioneer and Expeditioner. She thrives on opportunity, but also needs some sort of basic structure in which to feel comfortable – probably because she has a family or some other obligations beyond herself.

As long as basic needs are met– safety, schools, healthcare, etc. – the Internationalist is happy and can focus on building a life and a new business.

Photo: Vincent Burgeon/Wikipedia
Photo: Vincent Burgeon/Wikipedia

Expat Categories #7: HEDONIST

These relaxed expats have been successful in life and simply want to enjoy the fruits of their efforts over the years: wine, women/men, song, whatever else seems interesting. They almost feel like kids again, free to jump on a plane to follow their favorite team, see an old friend, or make new ones. The Hedonist picks a country because of its opportunities for pleasure, and is always willing to explore new ones (countries and pleasures).

The Seven Expat Categories

So, there you have it. Reviewing the above types of expats, I’m certain most people can see themselves in some of these categories, although they may be especially dominant in one. The places a person will most probably find appealing depends on which kind of expat that person is. Think about this list and see if you can find yourself in one of the categories. What do you think? Did I miss any?

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