Newsrooms around the world are discussing how and when to use the words “refugee” and “migrant.” Terminology is key when it comes to why people are fleeing or seeking a better home. It gives context to their needs and struggle. “Let’s just call them people,” one journalist suggested in late September. What a concept.
Visit either of Vienna’s two train stations where refugees have been arriving over the past few weeks. Beside the tired expressions, it’s hard to differentiate between the helpers and the “migrants.” Only a few months or years ago they would have lived similar lives.
If the “migrants” had come under different circumstances, what would we call them? The term expatriate is vague. Wikipedia defines it as “a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship.” But immigrants are people who plan to stay “especially as permanent residents or naturalized citizens.” So if you become a citizen, you’re an immigrant, but if you “reside permanently” you could also be an expatriate?
If you have ever lived outside your home country, you’ve surely encountered this question. Are you an immigrant or an expat?
We’ve approached the topic of foreignness in Vienna in various ways in this first issue of METROPOLE. In our cover story, we take a look at how migration and immigrants have changed Vienna over the past centuries. We’ve found the current statistics about Vienna’s foreign population and profiled four creative expats/immigrants who have launched successful careers in Austria. In our business feature, we spoke to Ali Mahlodji, a former refugee himself whose “career dating” platform has become a startup success story. The How-To section gives newcomers a primer on gaining legal status in Vienna. Spanish ex-foreign minister Ana Palacio examines Europe’s crisis mode and how it affects decisions about refugees.
We look forward to giving our readers insight into what Vienna’s talking about. Let us know what interests you, via social media, email, or at our monthly METROPOLE Salon.
So, by all means be an immigrant, be an expat. But don’t be a stranger.
Keep it real,