How many Expats are living in Guatemala?
Replies: 25 - Last Post: Apr 2, 2013 10:59 AM Last Post By: robinduc
May 31, 2012 12:33 PM
How many Expats are living in Guatemala?Hi there!
Finally the opportunity has come: my spouse and I will be moving to Guatemala by the end of this year! We are so excited!
While he will be teaching at a school in Guatemala City, I plan on doing my Master's thesis in Psychology. My speciality is Occupational Psychology so I would really like to do some research about Expatriates and their adjustment in the foreign country. The problem is: I have to have a certain sample size, otherwise I'll have problems doing the math-statistics-stuff ;) but as I haven't been in Guatemala just yet (flight already booked for July, though) I can't estimate how many Expats are living in the country. My question to you now: What would you say, is it possible to gain a sample size of about 100-150 participants?
I know that this is no "classic" question, but it is really necessary for my planning to know rough estimates as I will have to present my concept by the end of June at my University. I do have a "plan B concept", but would really prefer the Expat-topic!
So: any advice would be hugely appreciated! Thank you! :)
Best wishes from Austria!
May 31, 2012 2:28 PM
1First of all what is an ""expat"? A lot of people from other countries live here. Would a South Korean be considered an expat for example? - or a Canadian? How long does one have to live abroad to be considered an expat? Do missionaries count? - Retirees?
From what I know there is community of North Americans in Guatemala which could maybe reach 8-10,000 in number. Many of these probably would not qualify as expats since they have a specific target date for returning to the U.S. There is probably double that number of Koreans here. There would be an equivalent number of Europeans from non Spanish speaking countries and another number somewhere around that of people from Spain. The number of residents from elsewhere in Latin America could triple that.
As far as obtaining a population for a significant statistical sample you are probably safe.
You'll have fun answering these questions yourself once you get here.
Jun 1, 2012 12:33 AM
2First of all: Thanks a lot for your answer! That really helps me!
About the definition: there is no universal definition of the term "Expat", that of course will be a little difficult for my thesis. I will go with the quite open description "person who moves to a foreign country and works there, either for a certain time span or indefinitely, on assignment for a company or by own choice". So yes, Canadians, Koreans, Americans, Germans... the original citizenship is not the criteria as long as the culture of origin vs. host country differs (I will use Hofstedes culture dimensions to detrmine that criteria). This makes it hard to tell the difference between immigrants (moving for economical or political reasons, more or less out of a situation of distress) and Expatriates, but that is not too bad for my thesis since Guatemala is not really a typical country for people to immigrate to.
According to my definition, retirees are not the population I want to ask since they don't seem to be working but rather enjoy their life without the necessity of work. I might take them into account though to compare with Expats.
Am I right to suspect that there are "clusters" of Expats in Guatemala City, Antigua, around Lago de Atitlan and maybe Xela? Are there other "hot spots" as well?
Jun 1, 2012 8:36 AM
3You'll also have to define "typical country to move to." (I personally find nothing atypical about Guatemala .)
You are correct in assuming that people of similar cultutal background cluster. There is a section of Guatemala City with a higher concetration of North Americans - as well as one with many Koreans, etc.
Jun 1, 2012 8:48 AM
4Am I right to suspect that there are "clusters" of Expats in Guatemala City, Antigua, around Lago de Atitlan and maybe Xela? Are there other "hot spots" as well?
those would be the main ones. You'll also find a little pocket around the Rio Dulce area as it is a safe haven for yachts during the hurricane season.
But then I'm guessing that you will want to put some sort of time period into your criteria as well - how else to distinguish between an expat and a tourist? (and before you go the "visa status" route, bear in mind that the large majority of classic expats that I know who have been here for years still have tourist status according to their passports).
Guatemala City also has a sizable Middle Eastern population, but then again the question of whether they are expats or immigrants is one that your definitions will have to decide.
Jun 1, 2012 10:27 AM
5OP, I'm from the US. I worked in Canada for over 11 years for a Canadian Bank. So based on your criteria I was an Expat while living and working in Canada. Now I am retired and living in Antigua. Have established a relationship with a Guatemateca lady and will not be returning to the US. In other words, Gualtemala is my home. So am I or am I not an Expat?
Jun 1, 2012 10:36 AM
Jun 1, 2012 11:05 AM
8#3, I was referring to "immigrating" which, by my working-definition, means moving to a country because of economical or political reasons. Typical countries to immigrate to are first world countries and as Guatemala is a third world country I don't think many people immigrate there to improve their financial situation! ;)
#4, good suggestion, though my main criterion will be the work status. Tourists who "got stuck" in Guatemala and built themselves a life there are also Expats. But I guess that I would not include Volunteers or other people who only come there for less than 6 months because they would not fully undergo the different stages of "culture shock".
But all the details will be taken into account. This is not my first study and we are trained thoroughly in how to plan and conduct something like that... but for planning it good enough I have to know how big the population is.
Now I only have to figure out how best to contact my participants-to-be...
On another topic: Do you guys have Blogs of Expats in Guatemala that you could recommend? I know Innkeeper's Tale and Expat Mom but the rest I found was mostly of missionars and that's not really my cup of tea...
Jun 1, 2012 11:18 AM
9OP, I didn't get "stuck" in Guatemala. It was a life choice. So, Stacy's definition says I'm an Expat. But, you state due to the fact I'm retired and not gainfully employed in Guatemala I'm not an Expat. Help me out here. Expat or not Expat. I'm really leaning towards Stacy's definition.
Jun 1, 2012 11:39 AM
10There is no universally accepted definition of the term Expat. For my study I lean towards the definition of "person working in a foreign country, either for a limited or unlimited amount of time". Some papers about Expats define the term even more strictly as a "person being sent by a company to work in a foreign country".
So: I can only tell you that you - if you do not work in Guatemala but enjoy your retirement - would not be an Expat according to the definition that I use. Others may say otherwise.
It all depends on what hypotheses you want to answer and what the population is that you want to make assumptions about, based on your hypotheses. I want to look into how people who decided to work in a foreign country cope with the acculturation and what role their relationship status on one hand and their work on the other. Since my specialty is Occupational Psychology I am interested in work-related questions so logically I would concentrate on people who work. ;)
I hope that makes the matter more clearly?
And sorry about the "got stuck", English is not my first language so the fine distinctions in meaning sometimes cause difficulties! I wanted to express that some people (like you?), find a country so beautiful and enjoy themselves so much there that they extend their stay, sometimes indefinitely. And if they happen to have a job there they might be a "person of interest" for my study ;)
Jun 1, 2012 11:45 AM
11I am not an expat by any definition but travel widely and have many expat friends. Without question, the most common definition in Central America is "One who has taken up residence in a foreign country." Of course you're welcome to define the parties in your study any way you like as long as you're clear but the vast majority of us don't think working or not has anything to do with it.
Jun 1, 2012 11:58 AM
12I'm sorry, I think I can't really follow your point... What do you think working has nothing to do with? Being an Expat?
As I said, there are so many different definitions of that term! Most of the literature I use for my thesis uses the definition that I plan to use, too. In this forum an Expat is someone living in a foreign country, period. But that definition does not help me when I want to examine how work and relationship status influence acculturation and coping in the host country. For that I need people who a) live in a foreign country, b) have a cultural background that differs from the one in their host country, c) work and d) are either single or in a relationship and e)with accompanying partner or without. You know, in psychological studies you have to be really careful about the variables you include because it can happen all too quickly that your data is compromised by other factors that you did not account for. So being strict about criteria applied to participants is really important. On the other hand being too strict leads to a smaller sample size and then you can't do the math/statistics with it. It's all about finding the best and most logical compromise.
So let's just say I am looking for working Expats, then I think I should meet everyones interpretation of the term Expat. :)
Edited by: krissi298
Jun 1, 2012 12:13 PM
Jun 1, 2012 12:27 PM
14bajasur, why labelling at all? What matters is if you are happy with your life or not. And: people who do not fit in "standards" are the most fascinating1 (My thesis is another thing as science forces me to apply standards and labels ;) )
I really look forward to meeting a lot of interesting people in Guatemala who may or may not be called Expats ;)
That was always a thing I enjoyed about travelling: meeting the most fascinating and inspiring people. I hope that my research will lead to a lot of acquaintances like that!
By the way: I would be really happy to meet one or more of you in July when my better half and me are coming to Guatemala and check out our new home to be! :)
(4 star Hotel)
From US$323.69 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$190.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$228.20 per night