What is a global citizen? We asked, you answered. Here’s what you said:

Image: your responses, processed by Wordle

Firstly, a big thanks to everyone who took the time to answer the survey and to help with spreading the word. We had some fantastic results and it’s been really interesting reading your opinions!

The results in numbers:

We heard from 11 nationalities and 18 different countries

62% of respondents don’t live in their home country

78% of you said you want to be a global citizen

So what exactly is a global citizen?

The answers you gave could be divided into 4 broad ‘themes’.

The two themes which came up most often were to do with mobility and global awareness.

On the topic of mobility you said that global citizens are more likely to travel often and live in different places. They may also speak more than one language.

On global awareness you wrote about thinking beyond national boundaries and understanding what’s going on in the rest of the world. This is linked to a growing feeling of caring about what happens in other places and feeling responsible towards other people, wherever they are.

Global Culture blog wrote about the idea back in 2007, defining a global citizen as “a modern day phileas fogg”: or in other words someone who feels comfortable moving between cultures. And many of you agree – this was the third theme which came up in your answers.

The fourth theme you talked about is respecting other cultures.

For me, one of the most important points of being a global citizen is realising that differences are ok. Not just differences in appearance or family background, but also differences in behaviour and points of view. But that’s probably for another post…

Global Citizens live all over the world

When I first planned the survey, one of the objectives was to find out whether the concept of ‘global citizen’ has meaning throughout the world. In fact the responses were not dominated by any one nationality, which shows that the idea has indeed spread around the world.

You’ll see from the numbers above that more than half of the respondents are currently living abroad; others said they would like to. Since I assume there’s an element of self-selection (ie you were more likely to answer the survey if you already feel like a global citizen) then I think that indicates that people who identify with global citizens are more likely to have experienced living in more than one country.

But you don’t need to be an international jet setter to be a global citizen. As the results show, being a global citizen is mostly a state of mind.

If the future is an increasingly interconnected world, then as one of you wrote, global citizens are ‘ambassadors to the future’.

What you expected? Surprising? Tell me what you think

Read more:
Global migration and Europe’s population collapse
The most difficult languages in the world for English speakers
People of the World: interviews with global citizens

About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.