Migration is widely controversial. Travelling is widely popular. Yet both are means to cross borders...
In 2015, there were 232 million migrants worldwide (including 21,3 million asylum seekers and refugees). That’s 3% of the world population. In the same year, 1,1 billion people, or 15% of the world population, were international travellers, such as international business people and tourists. Both are means of crossing borders in the pursuit to enrich life. However, it is the 3% of migrants who create fear.

But who is a migrant and who is traveller?
Labels are useful to describe the reason/motivation for crossing borders. However, we tend to talk about migration and international travelling as two separate global phenomena where travellers are seen as 'resourceful' and migrants tend to be seen as 'people draining the economy'. Is it that easy? Labels have a profound effect on how we are perceived and ultimately treated as individuals. We see migration and travelling on a spectrum. If you are a refugee or an expat then you are a migrant and if you are a tourist then you are a traveller. But what if you are an international student, work and holiday traveller, life style migrant, or an au pair. Are you then a migrant or a traveller? Or maybe both?
Labels should always be used with care - everyone are much more than their migration label.

Learn more by listening to our stories.



TRAILER: Imagine a world where we are all seen as individuals with complex stories, rather than simple labels. Pocket Stories invites you to challenge your perception of migration by meeting the faces and hearing the stories behind the labels.
Stories & Labels are produced in partnership with Alberto Martin from KilofilmetreClaudio Cattero from Manifatture Musicali, and Edoardo Pacchiotti who has created the beautiful music.
We explore the double standards in this four minute animation of the way we stereotype migrants as 'something negative' and travellers as 'something positive', and proposes an idea on how to overcome this prejudice.
Migration vs Travelling is designed by Marit S. Haarr and written by Ingi Mehus. This video was awarded the the Prix de l'EYP 2015, the European Youth Press's award, for the best journalism on media freedom (category video), during the European Youth Media Days 2015 at the European Parliament in Brussels. It was also invited to be continuously screened to EU officials during the Dutch EU Presidency in the Netherlands in 2016.


Children adopted cross-borders are very rarely mentioned during migration talks. By receiving a new name, raised in their new culture with local families – being treated as a migrant can be weird and alienating. It often results in international adoptees experiencing mixed identities.

This is true for Ingi Mehus, our founder, as she was adopted from South Korea to Norway when she was three months old.

Listen to her story.


Refugees and asylum seekers represent a mere 9% out of all international migrants, or 0.3% of the global population. Yet people fleeing persecution are at the center of the migration debates and often vilified as a threat to our society. To flee your home from persecution is a traumatising event that is not taken lightly – leaving behind childhood memories, families, neighbourhoods and careers. People leave with the uncertainty of not knowing when, or if, they will ever see their home again. The dream of a new country brings hope of a new home, safety and a future, not free welfare. This is true for Zeeneb Bar, our project officer, who fled with her family from Iraq to the Netherlands when she was just two years old.

Listen to her story.
#Refugees #AsylumSeekers

People working abroad are often divided between ‘labour migrants’ vs ‘expats’, with labels depending on your nationality and education. The two labels are nearly seen as two opposites, where 'expats' are usually perceived as people with desirable nationality and skills, while 'labour migrants' are often viewed as 'job-takers'. However, the main motivation to move to another country for anyone is the prospect of new opportunities, be it as an engineer or as a cleaner.
This is true for Adrien Perello-y-Bestard, our social designer, who was born in France and worked both as an engineer and in hospitality in countries like England, New-Zealand and the Netherlands.

International students are a growing migration demographic as young people are increasingly choosing to study abroad in order to expand their personal and professional outlook of the world. The motivation to study abroad ranges from more prestigious university programmes, better climate, new culture, and/or better economic opportunities. Once the university degree is obtained, many choose to stay behind in their new home. This is true for Ting Zhang who left China to pursue a dual degree in Linguistics and Education in Australia and has worked as an English language teacher with migrants and refugees from more than 50 countries.



A person moving from one place to another in order to find work or better living conditions.


A person travelling or who often travels (to travel is to make a journey, typically of some length.)
Asylum Seeker
A person requesting legal refuge outside their country of origin, but whose claim has not yet been determined (see refugee definition).
Deployed Soldier
International Aid Worker
Seasonal Migrant Worker
Au Pair
A person living with a family in a foreign country to help with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.
Environmental Migrant
Frontier/Cross border Worker
International Business Person
Labour Migrant
Work and Holliday Traveller
A person officially representing their government (e.g. Norway or Nigeria) or inter-governmental organisation (e.g. United Nations) abroad.
Exchange Student
Guest Worker
International Adoptee
International Student
Lifestyle Migrant
Residential Tourist



Edoardo Pacchiotti
Marit S. Harr


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