FAQ #82 – Why EXPAT Instead of IMMIGRANT?

We’re often criticized for calling ourselves expats instead of immigrants. The implication is that we think we’re superior or elitist, but this has nothing to do with it. We’re happy to call ourselves immigrants in Ecuador, but we also want our content to show up in Google search results.

What Is An Expat?

Expat is short for expatriate, which is an old term that was used to describe someone who worked for a government or corporation and moved abroad to perform a job duty in another country.

However, it has since become a much broader term, and is now used to refer to anyone who leaves their home country to live in another country, including digital nomads, remote workers and retirees.

Fundamentally, an expat is anyone who LEAVES their home country to live abroad.

What Is An Immigrant?

The term “immigrant” has a negative connotation now, especially in the U.S., but it wasn’t always that way. Both North and South America are two entire continents full of immigrants.

Immigration used to be a sign of courage, fearlessness and adventure. Now, the term is more commonly associated with people trying to illegally enter a country.

We prefer to embrace the traditional meaning of the word immigrant, which refers to someone who moves TO another country.

The salient difference between the words expat and immigrant (and they’re just words) is that an expat LEAVES their home country while an immigrant MOVES TO another country.

That means we’re BOTH expats from the U.S. and immigrants in Ecuador. And we’re happy calling ourselves immigrants!

Why We Use the Term Expat Instead of Immigrant

However, we will continue to use the term expat in our videos and articles for one critical reason: We want our content to be found on Google. It’s that simple.

Our primary audience lives in the U.S. and Canada. If you do a search on Google and type in the term “Ecuador immigrant,” you’ll get a bunch of search results about Ecuadorians who moved to the U.S., either legally or illegally.

If you want to find information about moving TO Ecuador from the U.S. or Canada, you need to use the term “Ecuador expat” or Google won’t show you anything useful.

Therefore, we must use the term “expat” in our content or no one will find us, and we put an awful lot of work into this for it not to be found by people who really want it.


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