The Influence of Expat Living on Self Identity



My recent reading of Louise Wiles' "How Has Expat Living Impacted on Your Sense of Who You Are?" at www.uccessbroadcoaching.com, recalled to mind the words of my old university tutor (himself a former French schoolmaster)...who often used to say that his ability to speak a foreign language fluently had enabled him to lead two distinct lives. In my own case, I would go even further and say that 41 years of uninterrupted expatriate living in France has transformed me into two almost distinct people...for I don't perceive the French version of Barry Whittingham as being quite the same as the English one -- so much so that it gave me the idea of writing my book 'François Théodore Thistlethwaite's FRENGLISH THOUGHTS' which looks at the French and English -- especially in their everyday lives -- through the eyes of a split-identity 'Frenglishman', whose French and English extremes can take control of the identity of the whole. Though it didn't cause me to wonder whether I was suffering from a type of Multiple Personality Disorder, this same article did prompt me to reflect on some of the reasons which might go to explain why a long-standing ex pat Brit like me doesn't have the same perception of himself in France as he does in England.