The 5 Types of Expats You Will Meet Abroad

After living in Thailand for a year, and embarking on my third month in Korea, I can confirm that there are similar types of expats in every part of the world. You are bound to run into them if you live abroad.  I can definitely say that my time in a foreign country has been shaped by the people I have met and the (mostly positive) experiences that I have with them. However, for the sake of satire, I will tell you about the 5 stereotypical types of expats that exist no matter where in the world you live. I’m sure if you have spent time away from home, you will recognize quite a few of them.

Sal the Sexpat

Let’s just get this one out-of-the-way real quick. Sal is an overweight, often sweaty older male who can be seen in the company of much younger local women. He can be found at any of the ‘tourist’ hangouts in town, eating pizza, and complaining about the local beer. (Itaewon in Seoul or one of the many bars in the Old City of Chiang Mai). He loves to have conversations about the failings of western women, while simultaneously lifting up his t-shirt above his belly and shouting at a sports game.

Harry the Haggler

Harry is an expat and deserves the local prices at all times, goddamit. He lives here, and he is not a tourist! He can be found haggling with the banana saleswoman over the equivalent of fifty cents. He is known to arrive at his destination frazzled and upset, moaning about how he just got ripped off by the taxi driver, again. Harry is quick to smugly tell you if you overpaid for anything, citing that he got said item cheaper only a week ago.

Karla the Know-It-All

Karla is practically fluent in the local language, and loves to brag about her friendships with the locals and the fact that she hasn’t eaten pizza in over a year. Don’t attempt to tell a story in the presence of Karla, as she will be sure to interject and tell a much more lavish and exciting tale of something similar that happened to her! Karla knows the city she is living in like the back of her hand, and she is a go-to source of information on the best places to eat, drink, and hang out. She is intent on full-immersion and often refuses to speak English or her native language.

Negative Nancy

Nancy is not happy with her choice of country to live in. She can list a million reasons why her home country is far superior. It is not enough that she hates it, she feels that everrryoneee must hate it with her. Nancy wants to go home, but is stuck for some reason or another.

Larry the Lifer

Larry has no intentions of returning home, ever. He’s not exactly sure how it happened, but he now has a wife, 3 kids, and he’s hit middle-age. He came here 10 years ago and had plans to stay for a year or so, but somehow he just never left. He cannot speak the local language, and stares in confusion while his kids speak to his wife. He still isn’t sure what’s going on.

In all seriousness though, most of the expats I have met have been lovely and I think most people who come abroad truly come with the best of intentions and mindsets. This post is mostly meant as a joke, with maybe a (tiny!) bit of truth. But perhaps, no matter where you go, there will always be one. Or two..or three.

What have been your experiences with expats abroad? 


16 thoughts

  1. Personally, I am an immerser. I tend to pick up languages quick enough and I try to avoid the tourist spots because, well that not what the place is really about. Comes from being a Documentary photographer and sociologist I guess. Also don’t foget the 6th expat. the Soldier. Bull in a China Shop here for a few years and willing to experience every drop the country has to offer as well as the Soju!

    Liked by 1 person

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