Anyone who has read E.M.Forster’s A passage through India will be familiar with the concept of an expat club. In years gone by such clubs were at the centre of the expat community, providing a safe haven to meet fellow expats, sample food and drink from back home and catch up with news from outside one’s host country. More recently, however, these clubs have been faced with declining numbers as Eric Johnston at the Japan Times points out.
Johnston makes the case that nowadays many expats actually want to fully integrate into their local community. This integration can take many forms from sampling the local cuisine to celebrating local festivals and embracing cultural traditions. As we’ve previously discussed on this blog the issue of expat isolation and integration is one of that remains fairly contentious and therefore perhaps expats clubs do still have a role albeit in a slightly different format.
Social media may well have transformed the face of expat clubs forever, providing the opportunity for more professional and specialist interest groups to exist. It may be that traditional expat organisations simply can’t compete in an era where many communities exist in a purely digital space and the need for a central hub or facility is completely negated.
Maybe in this sense the present can embrace the past in complete harmony.