abroad or foreign country

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, one of the dictionaries I use (Collins) says "If you go abroad, you go to a foreign country, usually one which is separated from the country where you live by an ocean or a sea". Does this mean that it's not a good idea to ask "Have you ever travelled/been abroad?" in a survey if I want to hear "Yes" from, say, Northern Irish people who have only travelled/been to their neighbouring country Ireland? Should I ask "Have you ever travelled/been to a foreign country?" [Edit: "another country" is more idiomatic, isn't it?]
 
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  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Abroad just means in another country, it does not necessarily mean overseas.
    Of course it depends on perspective. If you are in an island nation, such as the UK or indeed Japan, then abroad is automatically overseas.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks Edinburgher. What a relief. When I saw the Collins' definition, I was a little dismayed.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I agree with the others, but if you're thinking of someone travelling from, say, Londonderry (Derry) in Northern Ireland to Donegal in the Republic, I don't think people would normally think of it as going abroad, especially as there is no border control and they are on the same island. Ireland is not quite 'foreign' or 'abroad' for someone from Northern Ireland. However, another country is good and unambiguous.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you both very much.

    but if you're thinking of someone travelling from, say, Londonderry (Derry) in Northern Ireland to Donegal in the Republic, I don't think people would normally think of it as going abroad, especially as there is no border control and they are on the same island. Ireland is not quite 'foreign' or 'abroad' for someone from Northern Ireland. However, another country is good and unambiguous.
    I thought so too. I'll use "another country".
     
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