Send Your Expat Memories to Us for Free Via Voerman

February 18th 2013

This week were delighted to receive our first ever delivery for the Archive delivered by Voerman International removals.

The collection came from the UK, but was heavy and would have been very expensive to send by courier or the postal service. Our partnership with Voerman gives us the opportunity to offer a free pickup service for your expat material. Wherever you are in the world, Voerman can collect your donation when they are next in that area and deliver it safely to our archive. If you have something smaller to send, we will be happy to refund your postage.


We collect and preserve the life stories of expats and their families, worldwide and in any language. Our emphasis is on unique personal writing and collections in contrast to already published material, preferably unedited material written at the time and not rewritten later.

We collect diaries and memoirs, blogs, letters and emails, postcards, films and recordings, and any other paperwork to do with your life abroad such as invites, tickets, packing lists, school reports, and official documents.

Free pickup with Voerman isn’t the only free service we provide. Once your collection has been scanned and digitalised, we will send you a CD with your collection on it for you to keep. You will also have peace of mind that we will store your material properly and respect any special requirements that you make on your signed donation agreement.

So why should you donate your expat story to us? We will keep your collection together so that it won’t be split up or lost, and we have the facilities to store it in a proper archival environment. You will be supporting expat research and helping us to preserve the social history of expatriate life. Above all, we treasure your memories. We know the true sentimental, historical, and academic value of your memories and experiences. We do not exploit them for gain, but acknowledge the educational and social value your contribution brings to the greater picture.

If you would like to arrange a donation of your expat story, don’t delay – contact us today. Don’t worry about getting it in order, we can do that for you – and you are welcome to add to it at a later date. Find out more about donating your story.

Categories: Articles, Donations

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The Forbidden Kiss: An Expat Love Story

February 14th 2013

Our collection of expat life stories holds tales of love – and indeed heartbreak – from all over the world. Most of our archive has been kindly donated by accompanying partners, who have sometimes given up their own careers and said goodbye to friends and family to set up a new life in another country with their spouse.

Did you meet your partner in another country, or did you relocate to be with them? Perhaps you spent some time apart in different countries, writing letters or emails to each other. Your love story may have been shaped or changed by the place you were living in, or by the cultures that you were both from originally.

For Valentine’s Day, here is a story from our archive recalling a dramatic ending to a romantic moment in Venezuela in the 1950s:

“It was on a lovely morning, more than forty years ago. The Dutch boat had just reached the port of La Guaira and I had had my first glimpse of Venezuela – the beautiful green hills of the coast. I felt happy, the long three weeks’ journey was over and I was soon going to meet my fiancé.

As we had to wait for the customs officers to arrive, my fiancé and I drove out of town to a quiet spot to enjoy a tender ‘tete á tete’. But no sooner had we moved a little closer to one another than out of nowhere, a grim-looking policeman appeared. “Trespassing the law!” he snapped and without further ado, opened the door of the car, sat on the back seat and ordered my fiancé back to town to the ‘jefatura’, the main police station. My fiancé, having lived in the country for twelve years, knew better than to protest.

There the officer in charge, a dignified elderly gentleman, dressed in white, listened with a stern fact to the policeman’s accusation and later to my fiancé’s defense, that in his country, kissing in public was allowed. After reflecting for a few minutes, the ‘Jefe’ finally let us go, but not without the severe warning not to do it again! We didn’t – in the car!”

From “The Source Book: An Expatriate Social History, 1927 – 2007”,
available at the Expatriate Archive Centre

Love stories that cross borders are a wonderful part of expat life, and your memoirs and letters would be treasured by the Expatriate Archive Centre. Find out more about donating your story.

Categories: Donations

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