Suppose you are from country X, and had to travel to and live in a foreign country Y for a better life, leaving behind your family. I'm looking for a word with the meaning a foreign country you voluntarily [to exclude exile] live in

I've been living in [expatriation] for five years.

My understanding is that in this sentence, expatriation referes to a state rather than a physical place.

I hope my husband will return from [expatriation] soon.

I'm not sure this last sentence is correct with expatriation refering to a foreign country (place). What I'm particulary interested in is the phrase return from Y.

So, does expatriation work? any other word? Other words that I have a confused understanding of are exile, alienation and diaspora.

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    Consider "abroad" - dictionary.com/browse/abroad. E.g.: "Studying abroad", "working abroad", "living abroad", "returning from abroad". – MorganFR Aug 26 '16 at 13:42
  • Conquest and encroachment can be used as nouns (as well as verbs), e.g. "Immigrants flooded the United States over decades with student and work visas, indoctrinating the locals and living in their conquest thereafter." – Hack-R Aug 27 '16 at 6:51
  • expatriot comes from the latin ex patria, which means away from your fatherland. expatriation is used about the process not the state, or the country you live in. – JavaLatte Aug 27 '16 at 10:35
  • Any reason nobody yet has suggested domicile? – Jezen Thomas Aug 27 '16 at 19:24

Abroad is the word you are looking for.

In or to a foreign country; away from your home.

It is widely used in expressions like:

I decided to study abroad for 2 years because it costs less money.

I enjoy living and working abroad because I meet new kinds of people every day!

I can't wait for my husband to return from his military operation abroad.

It also obviously works in both your example sentences, as per my previous examples (if you remove "in").

I've been living abroad for five years.

I hope my husband returns from abroad soon.

Update: Note that "abroad" is mostly used as an adverb, but can also be used as a noun, in expressions like "from abroad" as per my third example sentence and the OP's second example sentence.

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    I'm sorry if this is a stupid question: Isn't abroad an adveb? If so, then how come we say return from abroad? Shouldn't it be return from (a place/a noun), or return from being (or living) abroad? – user40213 Aug 26 '16 at 14:04
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    @William It is not a stupid question. It is true that it is mostly an adverb. But it is sometimes, however rarely, used as a noun (meaning countries or lands abroad), a mass noun (which is the case in your second example - oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/abroad) or even a preposition. "Return from abroad" returns a huge amount of hits on Google. – MorganFR Aug 26 '16 at 14:08
  • There are some examples of "abroad" usage in a news story about how migrant workers send money home to their families As a result, it has asked all Rwandans living abroad to contribute to a new 'solidarity fund' to make up the difference. – ColleenV Aug 26 '16 at 15:54
  • @William: Technically, I think abroad is an intransitive preposition (meaning a single word that functions as a prepositional phrase). From happily takes prepositional phrases as arguments, as in the famous "The call is coming from inside the house!" – ruakh Aug 27 '16 at 5:28

In formal contexts (e.g. immigration forms and other official documents), you can use the noun phrase country of residence.


You can refer to your new country as "adopted home" as the headline in this article suggests:

Refugee youth explore adopted home through photography


As there is always more than one way to express a thought in English (with subtly different connotations), consider also the word sojournment:

•temporary residence, as of a stranger or traveller


  • "I've been living in sojournment for five years."

  • "I hope my husband will return from sojournment soon."

Use of sojournment is more formal than, for instance, abroad, but carries the connotation of being a more business related than tourist related experience.


There is a single verb which can be used instead of return from Y in your example, repatriate:

to return to one's own country

So this would work:

I hope my husband will repatriate soon.

  • But according to Merriam Webster, repatriate can only be used transitively. That is, you repatriate someone, but not someone repatriates. – user40213 Aug 26 '16 at 14:19
  • @William right; I found & cited another dictionary which lists it as both transitive and intransitive. – Glorfindel Aug 26 '16 at 14:39
  • @William, it can be intransitive. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/repatriate – JavaLatte Aug 27 '16 at 10:37

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