Of diversity and harmony: Expats as cultural ambassadors

Being an expatriate means so much more than living in a different country for school or work. They may not really realize it before the move, but they will actually be carrying a very big responsibility the moment they settle in. Once they make new connections in their new home, at some point or the other, everyone will ask expats about their home country. That’s because hearing about a foreign country from an individual who actually lived there will excite and fascinate most. Slowly but surely, they are easing into their roles as cultural ambassadors.



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What does a cultural ambassador do exactly? For one, they tell stories of home with foreign friends. This then leads to conversation and insightful discussions. Cultural ambassadors do so much more than imparting information, as they also learn something from their host country along the process. During the discourse there will be misconceptions, but clearing them up will become an activity that is worthwhile and meaningful in and of itself. All of these actions are in pursuit of common understanding. Despite coming from different lands, everyone is still connected. The expatriate, while retaining some of his practices from his native land, will slowly adopt his new home’s culture as well. This gradual merge will become the foundation of mutual respect, at least in an ideal setting.


Thinking about the task at hand seems very daunting. Surely enough, it is understandable for the thought that a single person will be representing an entire country and everything that it stands for can be intimidating. However, there is nothing to worry about for things will surely come naturally.



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Expatriation made the world a much more globalized place for business and cultural exchanges. If it were a country, it would be one of the biggest in the world, with more than 230 million people considering themselves as foreign workers. That also translates to high economic value, with each one of them contributing taxes or investments to their new home, as well as remittances to where they are originally from. In countries like India, China, and the Philippines, money sent by their citizens working abroad serves as one the top sources of foreign currency.  This makes expats more than just cultural ambassadors, but economic linchpins as well.