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Are foreign students "expats"?

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  1. #1

    Are foreign students "expats"?

    I'm just wondering, can students be "expats"? If you're studying full-time for a degree in a foreign country and intend to return to your home country after graduation, are you an expat? It seems this usage is very rare.

    On the other hand, we do have the term "expat students" in Hong Kong, which means students who are the children of expat families. But then since many of these students actually grew up in Hong Kong, to be it's a little bit weird to address them with the term "expat", as they don't fit the definition of "expat". What do you guys think?


  2. #2

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    A lot more fun when we start looking at the differences between the usage of the terms - expats, immigrants and foreign workers.


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by shri:
    A lot more fun when we start looking at the differences between the usage of the terms - expats, immigrants and foreign workers.
    Especially the difference between "expats" and "foreign/migrant workers". But let's go back to the topic for now?
    angeluscomplex likes this.

  4. #4

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    Ok - students or anyone living outside their country is technically an "expat" if you look at the dictionary definition.

    But there are some cultural issues at play too.

    For example, with Indians you're more like to find us using the term "NRI" (non-resident Indian). Many banks have NRI desks, which operate outside their "expat" banking desks - HSBC used to have an NRI desk, just like they have HSBC Expat. Not sure if its around anymore.


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  6. #6

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    Let's be honest, for most people "expat" means white person.


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by flameproof:
    Definitions from dictionaries and online encyclopaedias aren't entirely helpful as we're more interested in the everyday life usage...
    Kowloon Goon likes this.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by monomono:
    Let's be honest, for most people "expat" means white person.
    So "expat" is generally reserved for Causasians only. But there are more Asian companies sending Asians to live in the west for work, and not to mention the number of Chinese students studying in western universities. Maybe the meaning of the word will change in the future?

  9. #9

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    I don't consider university students as expats, but I do consider kids under 18 living with their parents in a foreign country as expats. I consider university students as "international students" and that includes my own daughter who studied in the UK as an international student. If she had gotten a job in the UK and stayed there, then I would have considered her an expat.

    I know Asian expats (Japanese and Koreans) in Hong Kong and I knew both Asian expats and Asian immigrants in the US. To me, if you are planning to stay in the new country permanently, then you are an immigrant. Nothing to do with race, just intent of the person.

    Migrant worker, to me (going off-topic) implies that the person cannot immigrate to the new country (FDHs, farm workers in the US who come in under migrant worker visas, etc.). Again, not meant to be racial but maybe de facto racial as migrant workers frequently tend to be minorities (US definition of minority) and typically "persons of color" (again, US definition).

    Don't know if my understanding comports with the general understanding...

    kungpaochicken, kimwy66 and shri like this.

  10. #10

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    In terms of usage it’s the union of
    - visibly (or audibly) not from around here, and
    - presumably here by choice rather necessity
    Both are based on perception, and hence includes Asian professionals in Europe same as practically all caucasians in Hong Kong. People definitively referred to me as an expat when I was a graduate student here, even if they knew I was in school. Well - maybe the begpackers will help correcting that stereotype a bit

    kungpaochicken likes this.

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