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Thread: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

  1. #1
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    What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Ciàu,

    How are people who moved to other countries viewed in your culture?

    I'd say that in Russia, the general attitude is something of admiration. I have the impression that the number of people who want to leave Russia is declining, and I actually know people who have left Russia long ago and would like to return. But still, a person who moved, say, to Finland, or Canada, or Israel, or the U.S., is often admired, especially when they have succeeded in their new countries ("succeeded" in the sense that they have a home and a steady income, hoewever modest it may be).

    And if a person says that they don't like their emigrant life and dream of returning to Russia, people tend to suspect that they simply couldn't cope with life in a foreign country.

    What are your opinions?
    Anna

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    There is little attention to emigrants from the U.S. in the U.S. Those who leave to live elsewhere are small in number, and most have gone abroad for studies or professional reasons, and found a partner who lives elsewhere, or have fallen in love with another country.

    Long ago there were people who left for political reasons, and such people were generally admired or reviled, according to the political views of those making comments. Such emigrants were small in number. There were also a few who left in search of artistic stimulation or the ability to earn a living at their art. This was notable with the Jazz musicians who left the U.S. for Europe. They too were small in number, and there was not widespread opinion voiced about them.
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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Not many emigrants in Germany. The ones who do emigrate are rich people who buy a house here in Spain. Most of them go to the coast of Valencia or Murcia. Actually my very own favorite bar-owner in my city went to live in Mazarrón. People don't look for a better life, but for the sun, mainly. Some parts of Germany are really sad, you know. Grey in grey, it is always raining.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Canadians who move out of the country often choose the United States. Many professionals take advantage of the less expensive university education system here and then take jobs in the States because they can earn more money. This is not appreciated by those of us who give it some thought, but many feel they have the right to earn the best wages they can. Then there are the Snowbirds, the retirees who live most of the year in the warm southern states and retain a residence in Canada to take advantage of our free health care. In the middle of winter we envy them. Immigration is far more common than emmigration here and if we could warm up a little we wouldn't need Florida and Arizona. Maybe global warming will favor us!
    The other category of emmigrant I can think of is people who return to their country of origin. I have cousins who had never seen Scotland or Ireland but moved there to embrace their heritage. I think that is just strange, but don't get me started about my family!
    Canada is a great multi-cultural society where one can visit pieces of Greece, Russia, China... just about any country, right in our own cities. Why would we need to emmigrate?

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    argentina84, I think Etcetera is asking about people who emigrate from your country -- citizens who leave the country, not immigrants who come to your country.
    Quote Originally Posted by cuchuflete View Post
    There is little attention to emigrants from the U.S. in the U.S. Those who leave to live elsewhere are small in number, and most have gone abroad for studies or professional reasons, and found a partner who lives elsewhere, or have fallen in love with another country.
    A couple of sites I found online estimate that there are 4 million American citizens living outside the U.S. I don't know where they got that number, and the U.S. Census refuses to count expatriates, so take that number as a very rough estimate. Even if it is high, it suggests that the number of Americans living abroad is close to 1% of the total population of the U.S.

    Most Americans that I know could not imagine why someone would want to live outside the U.S. They consider this country the best one on the planet, and they point out the large number of immigrants that beat down our doors trying to get in, who are escaping from the violent, poor and filthy countries that make up the rest of the world. In addition, since Sept. 11, more Americans are more rabidly patriotic than ever before. Bush's ultimatim to be "with us or against us" just exacerbated the worst attitudes that accompany patriotism.

    In short, most Americans are either perplexed by emigrants or they openly scorn them. Emigrants are at best, confused people or deviants; and at worst, traitors.
    Ignorance --> fear --> anger --> hate --> violence. || Knowledge => tolerance => acceptance => love => peace.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    There is a relatively small number of Spaniards living abroad. Despite Spain has been traditionally a country of emigrants (by the millions), most of migration stopped in the 70s and, since 1995 or so, about 4 million people (roughly 10% of population) have moved into Spain.

    Those who emigrated have either returned or settle in their new countries (S America and N Europe).

    The traditional emigrant was seen as a kind of superior man. It was called "indiano" when he return from S America, usually (or that is the urban legend) with much money to buy land and a huge house in his hometown.

    People living in Europe (mainly in the 50s and 60s) came back with a high standard of living (namely, with a car) to shock their school friends who had stayed here.

    Nowadays, the trend is to stay in Spain since there is a kind of feeling that "Well, we are not the richest country in the world, but you will never live so well in any other country. Afterwards people from all over the world come here either to work or to holiday."
    Only a Spanish speaker. If you need an exact translation, wait for better opinions.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Portugal has been a country of emigration for a very long time, but I honestly can't think of anything to say about it right now, even though I have several emigrants in my own family. It's a normal fact of life, I guess. People do what they need to survive. Let's face it: Portugal is not the right place for an ambitious person. If they can be more successful abroad, more power to them. And many immigrants come back, bringing with them what they earned and learned aboard, or at least on holiday.

    The only observation I hear with some frequency is that emigrants often have more conservative views and tastes than the ones who stayed behind. It's as if they've stopped in time. But that's kind of charming, most of the time.
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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    The only observation I hear with some frequency is that emigrants often have more conservative views and tastes than the ones who stayed behind. It's as if they've stopped in time. But that's kind of charming, most of the time.
    Yes, it's often said about those Russians who left the country after 1917. For example, the Russian they spoke was changing less rapidly (well, taking into account the way the Soviet regime treated the language... ), and they preserved the pre-revolutionary culture in their families.
    Anna

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Quote Originally Posted by fenixpollo View Post
    In short, most Americans are either perplexed by emigrants or they openly scorn them. Emigrants are at best, confused people or deviants; and at worst, traitors.
    I think this is a gross overstatement. I do think it might puzzle many people why someone would want to live elsewhere, but I don't think the people who emigrate are considered "confused" or "deviant" by the average American. I don't think this is unique to Americans. I've met many French people who have a hard time understanding why their fellow countrymen would live anywhere but in France.

    I've heard many people speaking of Americans who retire to live in Mexico with admiration and envy, mostly because of the tremendous difference in the cost of living. These are not considered "emigrants", though, in the sense of leaving the U.S. permanently, even though they may have sold their house in the States and have no other permanent residence. They still identify themselves as American.

    I have never heard anyone who emigrated spoken of in scornful tones, nor have I heard them being accused of being traitors. That is simply hyperbole, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by cuchuflete
    There is little attention to emigrants from the U.S. in the U.S. Those who leave to live elsewhere are small in number, and most have gone abroad for studies or professional reasons, and found a partner who lives elsewhere, or have fallen in love with another country.
    I think this is a much more accurate characterization of the typical reaction.
    Last edited by JamesM; 13th July 2007 at 7:48 PM.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    I think this is a gross overstatement.... That is simply hyperbole, in my opinion.
    I wasn't trying to be hyperbolic. Negative attitudes towards expatriates are common in Texas and Arizona, where I have spent most of my life, especially among the middle class. I believe that the desire to live abroad is hard to understand for: people who hold strong values of patriotic loyalty and nationalism; people who have worked hard to gain a comfortable lifestyle and are committed to maintaining it; and people who are unfamiliar with other cultures.

    I think most -- at least 51% of -- Americans fall into one or all of these categories, (although in my experience it's more like 75%).
    I don't think this is unique to Americans.
    I agree wholeheartedly.
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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Quote Originally Posted by fenixpollo View Post
    I wasn't trying to be hyperbolic. Negative attitudes towards expatriates are common in Texas and Arizona, where I have spent most of my life, especially among the middle class.
    I have no problem with accepting that your experience in these two states has been such, but please keep in mind that this is not a broad cross-section of America. The combined populations of California and New York, for example, represent nearly a sixth of the entire U.S. population.

    To assign a characteristic to all Americans based on experiences in Arizona and Texas, which I would characterize as two relatively conservative and insular states in the spectrum of states, does not give an accurate representation of our country, in my opinion.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Ireland has, historically, also been a nation full of emigrants. This was dramatically spurred on by the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840's, in which it is thought that 1 million people died and another 1 million emigrated - mainly to Britain and the US. This can be seen today as around 10% of the US population are said to have Irish blood in them, second only to German-Americans. You'll also find large Irish communities in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, London and Liverpool.

    I think Irish people are proud of their counterparts now living abroad because it is part of our history and has only made being Irish a positive thing...I don't know many people who dislike the Irish. It is 'cool' to be Irish, that's why everyone has the opportunity on St. Patrick's Day, lol.

    In recent years, however, as Ireland has become arguably one of the wealthiest countries in the world - in terms of living standards - and probably the most progressive nation in the EU economically, emigration is no longer the first thing on every person's mind because there is so much opportunity at home now. There is, however, still a great desire for Irish people to travel and represent the modern image of 'Irishness' around the world.

    Well...that's my view, hehe.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    There is a saying, slogan really, in the U.S.: "Love it leave it." It represents the sentiments of a small but significant minority (of which I'm not one). I don't personally know anyone who has left this country, but I know many people do and for their own good reasons.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Here is one example of how a country treats its emigrants:

    Denmark.

    If a Danish citizen choses to live outside Denmark, he loses his right to vote. Even if he stays inside the EU - which by sctually should be considered "inland" – he only keeps right to vote for Danish EP-candidates, or for those of the country where he is living, if he choses so.

    So in effect they have made it simple and easy to go a and settle in a different country and in turn deprive them of their citizens' rights.

    Very few countries I know treat their emigrants like that.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Are we making a distinction between emigrants and expatriates in this discussion? It might be useful.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    How would you define this difference?
    I don't have any official definition, but the difference between an immigrant and an expat appears to be about which group you are talking about. Generally speaking, it seems that a Dominican or a Russian living in New York is an immigrant. A Cuban living in Miami can be either. A Dane living in Saudi Arabia is definitely an expat.

    What would be the difference between an expat and an emigrant?

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    An expatriat is a person who KNOWS he is going to return. He is been payed by the parent company all the time. So the time abroad is just a temporary one, with no break (or partial) with their mates in their home country.

    A emigrant (regardless his payroll) goes to work to another company in other country.

    You can find the difference useless or not for the purpose of the discussion but there is a difference. I do not know if it makes the difference.
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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Fernando's definition covers part of it for me. I'd say that an American living in Paris, for example, but retaining ties with the U.S. both through language and citizenship is an expat. He has not moved to France with the intention of becoming a French citizen, raising his children as French, or renouncing his U.S. citizenship. He is simply "an American living abroad" for however long that may be. He is a legal alien resident of France but a citizen of the U.S. I'd call UK citizens who retire to the southern coast of Spain expatriates if they retain their culture, language, and citizenship but reside in Spain.

    An emigrant, on the other hand, would be a person who leaves his own country for a new one and adopts that new country as his own. In other words, an emigrant is an immigrant as seen from the point of the view of the country he has left.

    My nephew is a nearly-permanent expatriate. He works for USAID in concert with the U.N. He and his family come home for visits once a year, but they have lived in various countries for over a decade now, wherever they are assigned by USAID to work.

    The reason I bring up the distinction is that I think expatriates are often seen as rather classy and exotic, people who have seen the world and have interesting experiences to relate from their lives abroad. Emigrants, on the other hand, tend to slip under the radar, unless you happen to have known them before they left.

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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    Even though your distinctions between expatriates and emigrants appear logical, I disagree with the distinction. According to the WR dictionary, both words mean "someone who has relocated to another country". Therefore, someone who is an emigrant is also an expatriate, and someone who is an expatriate is also an emigrant.

    In addition, WR's definition of expatriate also includes the concept of exile, which the definition of emigrant does not include. So if your distinctions are valid at all, then they should be reversed so that "expatriate" refers to "permanent relocation".

    While in business there is much talk of "expatriate" assignments that are temporary in nature, most people I know who live abroad who describe themselves as expatriates (or more commonly, "expats") are there permanently. They retain many ties to the US, to be sure, but most of them have no intention of returning.
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    Re: What is the attitude towards emigrants in your country?

    In the Mexico of my youth, the emigrants were secretly admired, but generally maligned. They were often qualified as "malinchistas", or worse. That is, like Texans and Arizonans (is that even a word?), they were seen as somewhat traitorous for choosing a foreign country over their country of birth.
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