Thinking of moving away? When people say they are going to move to another country, they might use the terms “immigrate” and “emigrate.” But what’s the difference between immigrate and emigrate?
People often mistakenly use these terms interchangeably. But there is a big difference between the words “immigrate” and “emigrate.” If you’re an ESL teacher in particular, it’s important to understand that there is a clear distinction between the two.
In the simplest form, immigrate means to move into a country, while emigrate means to move out of a country. Let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail.
The meaning of immigrate
Immigrate means to come to live or settle permanently in a country that is not your own. For example, if you were born in the United States but moved to England at a young age, you could say you immigrated to England.
If you’re teaching ESL (English as a second language) in the United States, it is likely that many of your students will have immigrated there. But they may have emigrated from Mexico!
The meaning of emigrate
Emigrate means to leave your own country, in order to settle in another location. For example, if you live in the United States and decide to leave for Spain, you could say that you are planning on leaving the United States and emigrate to Spain.
Still confused? The difference between immigrating and emigrating
Generally speaking, “immigrate” is used when referring to someone who moves into a new country, while “emigrate” is used when referring to someone who leaves their old country to move somewhere else. In other words immigrate is used when talking about the country moved to. Emigrate is used when talking about the country moved from.
You can remember this simply by the first letter of each term. Immigrate starts with the letter ‘I’ and is used when you move “in” to a different country. Meanwhile emigrate starts with the letter ‘E’, which you can associate with “exiting” or leaving your home country.
“Tales of the Chupacabra are widespread throughout Mexico, so perhaps stories of the creature have traveled north along with the people who immigrate into Texas.”
“Many now emigrate, when occasion offers, to America.”
Taken from: https://sentence.yourdictionary.com/
Why people immigrate and emigrate
People often talk about immigration as if it’s a singular phenomenon. In reality, there are many different reasons for it. Some people move to find work or escape poverty, while others are looking for a better quality of life. Likewise, some people immigrate voluntarily, while others are forced to leave their homes. Other people in a more fortunate position may just move to another country because they are seeking change or an adventure. It’s funny how the terms “immigrate” and “emigrate” can mean such different things to people depending upon the context in which they are used.
To immigrate or emigrate?
It is important that both individuals and teachers understand the difference between immigrate and emigrate. In today’s highly interconnected world they form a common theme and relate to sensitive topics for many. However, from an academic point of view, the key thing to remember is that they both refer to a permanent move to a new place. Just from a different perspective.