Six people you will meet in every expat bar

BraveNewTraveler describes the six characters you’ll meet at every expat bar.

It’s never hard to find your way there – all you need to do is follow the American music which is old enough to feel stale without being old enough to feel hip and look for a chalkboard sign advertising a European football match.

It is pretty funny (take no notice the censorious commenters who say that it is too cynical). I find it all too easy to recognise (and laugh at) myself:

1. The Overpaid Aid Worker

You can easily pick out this character by the imported beer on his table and the way he litters his speech with acronyms: USAID, NGO, MFI, MPP.

If it’s a weekday night, he might nurse his beer while tapping away on his MacBook, shooting off emails to his friends in D.C., or maybe to the alumni listserve of a bastion of East Coast higher education.

This year he’s empowering women in Latin America, but two years ago he was working on democracy promotion in Bangladesh, and next year it’s off to Thailand to oversee microfinance development.

Is there any world problem this whiz can’t solve on a two-year contract, armed only with his cushy salary, company car, and housing stipend?

Before you get a chance to answer that, though, he will: there’s “real progress” being made at the “grass roots level” with his current initiative. Another European microbrew, please!

Hat tip: @bloodandmilk on Twitter

One comment on “Six people you will meet in every expat bar”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Published by

Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and