Questionnaire on being an expat

Questionnaire for the projet ‘Home Truths: Families on the Move in the Oil Community’ (University of Aberdeen and Woodend Barn Banchory, May-November 2015) This questionnaire has reached you as a member of the oil-related expat / international community, as a means of collecting data towards an exhibition on this community (see project description). If you are interested in taking the time to answer it, we would be very grateful for your thoughts. This project is not sponsored by any oil companies, nor will the data collected be shared with any third parties. They will be treated as confidential. This questionnaire complies with the University of Aberdeen’s standards of Ethics. The questions below are only meant as prompts: feel free to ignore some of them, or to send your answer as a freely-drafted paragraph. For all queries and to submit your answers (copied and pasted in an e-mail or other file), please contact the project organizer Clémence O’Connor at: clemence.oconnor@abdn.ac.uk

I understand that filling this questionnaire, and/or considering getting involved in other activities, is entirely voluntary on my part and requires my consent:

Sign: ………………………………………………………………………………..  

Your perceptions of Aberdeen

  1. How long have you lived in Aberdeen? Do you feel well settled?
  2. For you, what are the words, places, images and sounds that best sum up Aberdeen?
  3. Is there a specific place in the area that you find striking, or identify with at some level?
  4. Do you feel ‘at home’ in Aberdeen? What about in the country you originally come from? What does your sense of belonging depend on?

Your individual trajectory

  1. What has been your individual trajectory?
  2. Do you work in the energy sector yourself, or are you partner to someone who does?

Employee / Partner / Both

  1. If you are a partner, do you work in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire? Do you consider it to be particularly difficult or easy for you as an expat to find work each time your change countries?
  2. During the transition between countries, is there a risk that logistical / administrative matters and other practicalities might become overwhelming? Or do you see this, on the contrary, as a good opportunity to find out how your new country ‘works’?
  3. Are you satisfied with the logistical support provided at times of transition by your employer or your partner’s? Why is that? What could be improved?
  4. Have you used the services of a relocation company on arrival here?
  5. Is learning the language part of your experience of changing countries? What languages do you speak and / or understand?
  6. What impact has transnational mobility had on your relationships with your relatives ‘at home’? What is it like coming back ‘home’?
  7. What impact has transnational mobility had on your social life? Has it been a limitation or an opportunity?
  8. Find three words to describe the experience of re-inventing your life as you move from one country to another.

What you leave behind, what you take away with you

  1. What types of objects do you leave behind when you de-locate? If you feel like attaching photos of such objects for our website, they would be very welcome. 16. Is there a significant object that you always take with you? If you feel like attaching a photo for our website, we would be very grateful.
  2. What will you be leaving behind, literally and / or metaphorically, when you leave Aberdeen? You could browse the forum linked below to decide if the ideas expressed there are relevant to your own experience. http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2015/02/21/what-did-you-leave-behind-a-post-for-the-tck/

Your child / children

  1. How old is / are your child / children?
  2. So far, has discontinuity been an obstacle or an opportunity for his / her / their education?
  3. What about for their friendships, their social life, their bonds with relatives ‘at home’?
  4. Children’s resilience, their ability to adapt to new situations, is well known. Do you have an example drawn from your experience?
  5. Do you think that resilience depends partly on your child’s / teenager’s age group?
  6. What are the conditions for optimal resilience, in your view?
  7. What are the factors that can limit resilience?
  8. What will your children leave behind as they leave Aberdeen?
  9. What will they take with them? (These last two questions could be answered with the help of your child, if you wish to involve them in your answers.)

The expat community

  1. What has been the importance of the international expat community for you, whether here on site or online? Are you part of one or more groups on the social media? How much do you rely on groups, forums etc. to gather the informations necessary to daily family life as an expat?
  2. In your social life here, what has been the role of expat community or communities? Which one(s) matter the most to you?

Current North Sea context

  1. What effects, if any, has the current context of restructurings had on your experience as an expat in Aberdeen?

Any further comments? And finally…

  1. On principle, would you be happy for an extract from your questionnaire above to be used as part of the exhibition described on the summary attached, or on the exhibition website, in anonymous form? Your permission will be requested again for each specific extract that we might wish to include.

YES / NO Because we wish to collect as many data as possible, we would be extremely grateful if you could pass on this questionnaire to your partner and / or other expats.


You are very warmly invited alongside your family to the exhibition ‘Home Truths’ (29 May-26 June, Events Area, Ground Floor, Sir Duncan Rice Library, King’s College campus, University of Aberdeen) and to its launch, on May 28th, 2015 at 5pm.

Will attend.       Will attend with family.             Will not attend.               Do not yet know.

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Questionnaire on being an expat

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