At expat fairs we often hear from people with very different approaches to managing all that paperwork and assorted ephemera that accumulates while living abroad. There are those who say, "I've thrown everything away. I can't hang on to it when I move" and then there are others who tell us, "I haven't got time to sort through it all – there's boxes and boxes!".
Whether you're a thrower or a hoarder, perhaps we can help. At the Expatriate Archive Centre, we collect life stories of expatriates, their families, accompanying partners, and repatriates. This includes life writings and diaries, photographs and scrapbooks, letters and emails, and supporting documentation – packing lists, rental contracts, school reports, tickets, invitations etc. We preserve them, in the language they are written in, for research and for the future.
So why should you donate your expat story to us? Here are a few good reasons:
And if you think your collection is far too big to sort through – we can do it for you! In an ideal world, every photo would be labeled and every document annotated before it came to us, but we know how busy the expat life can be. The most important thing is to get your material to us and let us sort, catalogue and scan it.
Privacy is important to us, and we will obtain your written consent before the collection can be used for research. All our staff and volunteers sign confidentiality agreements, and researchers are required to sign a research declaration.