Friday 29 September 2023

Types of Expats in Costa Rica

An expat is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person's upbringing. What type of expat are you?

Expat FocusTypes of Expats in Costa Rica

An expat is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person's upbringing. What type of expat are you?

QCOSTARICA EXPAT FOCUS – Expats in Costa Rica are of all types. It’s easy to think of workers and retirees, but what about the rest of us who have chosen to live outside our native country?

According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing”. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (country).

A study by InterNations, the largest global community and information site for people who live and work abroad, has identified seven common types of expats, however, I think there are more, at least three more, for my list of ten.

  1. The romantic (looking for love or already found love)
  2. The retiree (looking for sun and better quality of life.
  3. The digital nomad (can work remotely and the new country offers a better work-life-cost balance)
  4. The worker, professional, or entrepreneur (recruited by a local company or looking for a job in the new country or wants or already has a business in the new country)
  5. The spouse (who joins their spouse in the adventure of living abroad)
  6. The returner (has family or was born abroad)
  7. The student (studying in the new country)
  8. The diplomat (recruited by their home country to represent them in the new country)
  9. The wanderer (loves to explore and live in different countries around the world)
  10. The part-timer (goes back and forth between the 2 or more countries, also known as the perpetual tourist)
Costa Rica’s tropical rain forests and beautiful beaches make it a popular destination. Paolo Giocoso/SIME/Estock

How to be an expat

  • Do your research. Not every country or city abroad is going to make your expat heart sing with the gusto of a Disney movie. …
  • Learn about the expat community. …
  • Apply for job/work away programs. …
  • Break the news to family and friends. …
  • Go, go, go!
Samara is a peaceful village and popular with expats. Image

Why do expats fail?

- payin the bills -

Culture shock is often one of the most common reasons expats fail in their new country, they fail by not immersing themselves, whether it is learning the language, customs, and traditions or totally unfamiliar with the climate.

But I believe the one the biggest reasons for failure is the mindset. Living abroad is not like living from where you come from. Assimilating, without giving up your core values in your new country is not easy.

Expat life in Costa Rica. Image

Are expats citizens?

An expatriate, or ex-pat, is a person living and/or working in a country other than his or her country of citizenship, permanently or temporarily. An expatriate can also be a person who has given up citizenship in their home country to become a citizen of another.

Is a person who takes out citizenship in their new country without relinquishing citizenship in their home country still an expat?

- paying the bills -

In my case, I was first an immigrant, by no choice of my own when my parents emigrated from Italy to Canada.  As an adult, after growing up in Canada, I arrived in Costa Rica for a two-week vacation.  More than twenty years later I feel I am just starting my second week.

I did not emigrate or immigrate to Costa Rica in that I never intended to settle in Costa Rica.
I became an expat.

After becoming a citizen I really didn’t feel any different than before. The people I interact with consider me an expat. For them, I still look, act or react, talk, and dress like a foreigner.

So, I were still an expat, for by definition, I am no longer, I would fit categories #1, #4, #9 and for a while, in the beginning, #10.

What type of expat are you?

Post your comments on our official Facebook page, Twitter or email me. And while you are here, check out my new Facebook group “Focus on Costa Rica” and ask you to consider joining our community.

- paying the bills --



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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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