How the rest of the world sees expats

Published:  14 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, China, India, Dubai, England
Are expats mostly too busy seeing the world through new eyes to be concerned about how the world sees them?

The focus of a recent survey was somewhat different from the usual run of annual online expat questionnaires about living costs, liveability, salaries and suchlike as it measured expats’ beliefs of how their new communities feel about them. Words and phrases such as ‘a burden’, ‘good or ill feelings’, ‘rude’, ‘vital’ and ‘insensitive’ were all used to identify expats’ takes on how they’re perceived by their co-workers, and destinations used included India, Dubai, China, Singapore and the USA.

Results varied strongly by location with, for example, 38 per cent of expat respondents working in the USA believing they’re seen as a burden rather than an advantage and only 4 per cent of expats in Singapore giving the same result. Just under two-thirds of expats in Dubai who took the survey had the impression they were seen as vital by locals, compared with 14 per cent of those in China and 13 per cent of expats living in India. In addition, perceptions of insensitivity came under scrutiny, with 18 per cent of expatriate residents in the UK believing they were seen as insensitive by Britons as against 15 per cent who believed the same was true in the USA and 41 per cent of expats in India.

Unfortunately, some 35 per cent of those surveyed whilst living in China believe the Chinese see Westerners as rude, with 18 per cent saying the same about how they’re perceived in Singapore. As for foreign expats living and working in the UK, a miserable 9 per cent thought locals see them as being fun, whilst 38 per cent of those living in India believed their co-workers and friends believe they’re fun to be with. Other descriptive words used during the survey were ‘insular’, ‘rich’, ‘hostile’ and ‘superior’ as well as ‘friendly’, which doesn’t seem to have cropped up in the reported replies.
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