What We Collect

We collect material representing the multifaceted aspects of expatriate life. Our focus is unique personal writings such as letters and diaries, as well as supplemental material like photos and films. We take material in any language and from any country. For specific examples from our collection and more details, see our Collecting Policy and Our Collection section. Below is an overview of the types of material we typically accept.

Individual and Family Papers

Diaries and Journals: We accept diaries and journals of any kind, whether handwritten or typed, commercially printed or as plain notebooks. They may be detailed or sparsely recorded, have gaps or be continuous.
Letters and Emails: We accept correspondence, whether handwritten or typed on paper, as email, or in other digital forms. This includes personal letters, greeting cards, short notes or any other kind of message. We also collect correspondence sent to you by family and friends.
Articles and Essays: We accept newsletters, newspapers or clippings, articles and essays written by you or about you.
Photos and Scrapbooks: We accept scrap books, photo albums and loose photos. These should preferably have annotations – such as who is in the picture and where it was taken – to provide context. We also collect posters, sketches, drawings, or children’s artwork, reflecting your individual memories and experiences of living abroad.
Blogs and Websites: Are you a blogger who writes about your experiences living abroad? We accept your online material whether it is sparsely recorded or continuous.
Audio and Video Files: We collect audio and video recordings, whether edited or not, digital or analogue. These should preferably come with contextual information. We preserve digital copies only and will return the originals.
Tickets and Invitations: Travel and transport tickets – plane, boat, train, or seasonal passes. Entrance tickets to attractions, museums, galleries. Invitations to parties, work events, formal gatherings or other social occasions. All these can help illustrate a more detailed view of expat life.
Other Documents: Miscellaneous items to give a broader picture about living abroad — books, packing lists, certificates or awards, programmes, school reports, membership cards, inventory lists — anything that documents your expat journey.

Organisational Archives

We also collect material from organisations dealing with expatriate affairs, established by expats for expats. If you are interested in donating your organisation’s archive, please contact us.

Donating Your Collection

If you have any questions regarding whether your material is of value to us, please contact us at welcome@xpatarchive.com. Find out more about donating your collection.

How Organised Does It Have to Be?

If you are thinking of making a contribution to the Expatriate Archive Centre, your material does not necessarily need to be organised. We consider every collection on a case-by-case basis.

Our Library

To supplement our collection of expatriate life stories, we maintain a library of related sources. The library collection is varied including periodicals, country guides, expat memoirs, relocation advice, academic studies, and more. To access the library, you must visit the Expatriate Archive Centre in person as we are unable to lend out our books.
If you have good quality books about expatriate life, or if you are an author or publisher, new donations to the library are always welcome. We particularly welcome expatriate memoirs or scholarly works, including theses, whether published or unpublished. Please get in touch to arrange this or to make an appointment.