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A showcase of FIGT Members' written work, focusing on the issues we study, the best practices we share, and the strategies we provide to support expatriates and cross cultural individuals and their families. Contributions are a privilege for Small Business and Corporate membership levels only and you can submit up to 3 posts per year. Please use our online form below to submit a blog for consideration or contact blogeditor@figt.org.

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  • 06 Mar 2024 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    Fewer sessions, but powerful topics

    The #FIGT2024 program, Momentum: Moving forward together, is finally ready to be shared, and Early Bird Registration is now open!

    As we enter the final weeks of preparation, enthusiasm is growing. This year’s FIGT Forum, on 20 - 21 April, 2024, will be shorter than our previous conferences, but we are offering a variety of powerful topics and speakers, as well as opportunities for our community to gather. We are hopeful that many of you will join, contribute to our collective knowledge, share experiences and learn from those who will be speaking and attending. Besides the speaker sessions, we will also have a virtual space where you can make plans to meet up and carry on the conversations — obviously, what would an FIGT gathering be without that?


    Our keynote speaker is Dr Hossein Hassani, a highly accomplished and skilled data scientist, academic, and researcher with over 15 years of extensive experience working with national, international, and multicultural organizations, research institutes, and academia. Dr Hassani will take us on a journey to explore the fascinating — and sometimes unsettling — world of Artificial Intelligence. This fast developing field may not seem to be directly relevant to our ‘globally mobile’ community per se, but it is and it will continue to impact our lives.

    As well as Dr Hassani, the #FIGT2024 Forum will feature:

    • a speaker talking about unplanned transitions — preparing for and living through mobility changes without the preparation that so many of us make when moving from one place to another;
    • a speaker who will share tips for handling trauma in our lives and in the lives of those around us, helping us reach feelings of safety;
    • a panel discussing challenges for people who move without their families and how we can best support them;
    • a presentation on the value of advocating for neurodivergent children and children with special needs at international schools;
    • a session about the challenges faced by migrating families — proving an increased need for improved understanding of different cultures and countries, and;
    • a session that focuses on the strengths and skills associated with a globally mobile life.


    They say that variety is the spice of life. And our community knows that variety is the one constant in our lives. So we encourage you to join us — come explore the variety of topics in #FIGT2024 and the varied population of our community. You can find details of the program here. And don’t forget, Early Bird Registration is now open! Take advantage of the discount and sign up before the Early Bird Registration closes on 20 March 2024.

  • 19 Jan 2024 6:55 AM | Anonymous

    banner advertising FIGT Virtual Form with graphic of globe and arrow indicating Moving Forward Together.

    The KISS principle - Keep It Simple - may sound straightforward, but as many of us know, keeping things simple often involves several steps, some quite complex. Our current 2024-2026 Board is continuing to work on the strategy set by the 2022-2024 Board — to simplify things at FIGT. We’ve reflected on what we do, how we do it, and for whom. And, just as importantly, we have considered the time we ask of our volunteers, many of whom make our very presence possible. This group of volunteers dedicate their time to the management and direction of FIGT, and their time should be respected.

    New Times

    After reviewing how we got “here” in our last blog post, this is an update on where we are now and how we plan to move forward. 

    Although we received fewer RFP (Request for Proposal) submissions for our simplified virtual forum, the proposals were certainly not limited in terms of topics or approaches. At first glance, fewer entries automatically made the simplification process easier, but we still needed to discuss and review each proposal critically, which we did en comité

    Having received confirmation from the approved speakers, we are now finalizing the program of events. Given the many time zones in our community, finding the ideal “times” for our forum for everyone is difficult, but we hope to come up with a solution.

    While details are still to be confirmed, a draft of the program can be seen here. We will update the website with our speakers and panelists in the coming weeks, as well as open the registration process. To stay informed, be sure to look for updates in our FIGT Newsletters. You can sign up here to receive them directly to your inbox.

    More to Come!

    While #FIGT2024 will be online, it will be a live event, one that we encourage people to attend so they can share their questions with the speakers and connect with one another. In an effort to keep things simple — for ourselves as well as for those attending our events — speakers and panelists will record their sessions ahead of time, BUT they will be present and live for the Q&A sessions and discussions. The recorded sessions help guard against potential technical issues, such as poor connections.

    Another new suggestion was for different ways attendees can enjoy the experience of #FIGT2024, through WatchParties, for instance. Details will be shared in the upcoming months.

  • 21 Dec 2023 5:24 AM | Anonymous

    A new year, a new format. For 2024, FIGT has decided to plan an online Forum. Here is a brief summary of the reasons for this change, how it has come about, and what is planned in terms of our theme.
    Changes impact
    There have been many changes in our world over the past few years. There were, as we know, many tragic stories, experiences, and lessons during this period. But, for FIGT it has also encouraged our community to meet more often and share experiences. The online events which take place throughout the year are an encouragement – and challenge for those volunteering their time to manage FIGT.
    FIGT itself has been through some changes as well. Besides managing more events, the Board has also been reflecting on and reviewing different elements of the organization. Central among these has been a redefinition of our Vision and Mission. Our vision is “(being) the community hub for the globally mobile” and our Mission is to be “a caring community for the globally mobile where curiosity, connection, and collaboration happen.”
    The process of change within FIGT is also one of the reasons the event in 2023 was postponed. We needed time to reflect, discuss and deliberate. Long discussions took place on our Annual Conference. The Board considered all other new online events and gatherings, and considered the balance of output with volunteer workloads. The decision was that in 2024 things needed to be ‘simpler’, and the idea of a Forum was born.
    A gathering of people, ideas and the community
    These changes are reflected in the theme for 2024 “Momentum: Moving forward together”. Preparations for the Forum are in full swing. RFPs (requests for proposals) for #FIGT2024, have been received, reviewed, commented on and selected. Speakers are confirming their presence, and we look forward to sharing the program for #FIGT2024 in our next Newsletter, so others can prepare to join us, at our first Forum on 20 and 21 April 2024.
    Details of #FIGT2024 will be updated as they are announced on our Forum pages on the website. Subscribe to our Newsletter to keep up with announcements. Upcoming over the next  few months:

    • Detailed program and schedule for #FIGT2024
    • Registration (including Early Bird registration dates)
    • Ideas for making it a community event for your location
    • Registration options for organizations supporting their employees.

    There will be challenges but change and challenge tend to follow one another. And from challenges we can learn and grow. Looking forward to learning and growing with you, our community.

  • 19 Jul 2023 12:38 AM | Anonymous

    Mission and values

    FIGT Book Club will provide community service and resources, where curiosity, connection, and collaboration happen through books and writers.

    Book club facilitators

    Sarah Kobrus and Doreen Cumberford

    What to expect

    A bi-monthly international gathering on Zoom, focusing on globally mobile writers who have published books. Gatherings will include meeting the author, Q & A by book club host, then questions will be open to the audience. We are aiming for a regular date for the live meeting, proposed for the third Monday of the month. The time will be flexible (due to time zones) and so will vary.

    The Book Club launch

    Monday, September 18 at 8:00 pm London BST

    Meet Author Tanya Crossman 

    Book: Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century

    A blue paper with white text Description automatically generated

    Tanya Crossman is a leading expert in the field of modern Third Culture Kids and issues facing cross-cultural families, with 18 years' experience in the field, including 10 years' research experience. She is the author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century (2016), a book that opens a window on the experience of an international childhood in the internet age. Tanya is the Director of Research and International Education at TCK Training, where she was lead author on two white papers on TCKs and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), released in 2022.

    A person with long brown hair wearing glasses Description automatically generated

    You can buy the book via either of these links:



  • 18 Jul 2023 11:51 PM | Anonymous

    After the successful meetup that took place in Barcelona last year, plans are being made for another gathering in The Hague, Netherlands, from August 20-22. The meetup is open to both FIGT members and nonmembers. 

    The program will have diverse elements, and we encourage participants to join all of the events/sessions to maximize the opportunity to connect with other attendees. However, there is a maximum we can accommodate. Please complete the registration form by August 14. Please note, if we reach the maximum before then, we will have to close the list. So, first come, first served! 

    When we heard that one of the members who attended the meetup event in Barcelona was attending an event in August near Rotterdam - the thought wheels started spinning. FIGT NL, together with two FIGT members, have put together a draft program, the goal being to meet, share, and connect. Details are still being finalized but will be similar to the following:

    Sunday, August 20

    16:00 – 21:00 Buffet of snacks & drinks and greetings

    Monday, August 21

    10:00 – 12:00 Morning Session

    Voices of young TCKs sharing what has worked, what have they missed, and what would have been welcome during their global lives to help ease the transition into young adulthood. A panel discussion moderated by Kate Berger, a Child and Adolescent Psychologist with 15 years of experience supporting TCKs.

    12:00 – 13:30 Lunch 

    13:30 – 15:30  Afternoon Session

    Round Table: All participants will have the opportunity to exchange information, ask for advice, or seek cooperation possibilities 

    16:00 – 17:30 Boat ride with snacks 

    18:30 Dinner (at own cost)

    Tuesday, August 22 

    9:00 – 11:00   Breakfast Morning Session

    Research focus 

    Are you interested in attending? The Expatriate Archive Centre and ACCESS are generously sponsoring a portion of the expenses. We are finalizing details for additional shared costs, and our aim is to keep participant’s contribution at or below 50 Euros/pp. As mentioned, space is limited, so please click here to register as soon as possible. 

    Please send any questions to Kate Berger, Kristine Racine, or Deborah Valentine at netherlands@figt.org.
  • 21 Apr 2023 6:34 AM | Anonymous

    The Gift of Time

    As shared in the February Newsletter, after careful consideration by the Board, the 2023 Conference has been postponed to 2024. The generous acceptance of this decision, by many of our members (as well as non-members) has been received with great appreciation. Postponing the conference to next year gives us much-needed time. YOU have granted us the great gift of that time—thank you!

    This gift has allowed Deborah Valentine (appointed in October 2022 as Program Chair) and Tanya Crossman (Logistics Chair, who will be stepping down in October after 4+ years) a tremendous opportunity to plan and prepare for what lies ahead, and to respond to the changes that have taken place over the last few years. I (Deborah) will admit there was a faint sweat on my brow about preparing a conference without the voice of the community and the RFPs (Request for Proposals) we have used for years to determine content, so I am tremendously grateful. I (Tanya) am so thankful for the time to truly prepare in advance rather than to play a continual game of catch up.

    Space in Between 

    In addition to time, we have also been given clarity through the process of big-picture thought work that the FIGT Board has been involved in for some time now, to refine our values, mission, and vision as an organization. This new clarity is helping us define the steps to prepare for and the vision we have for FIGT in 2023 and beyond. Guiding our discussions is the question: What we can do online that we cannot in-person? What does a “conference” look like with all the changes that have taken place around us and within FIGT? How can a logistics team support FIGT throughout the year, as opposed to in a “moment”? 

    In the past, conferences were a time when the community gathered, shared, and celebrated. COVID encouraged us to look for other ways of connecting. Gatherings are taking place regionally (i.e. the group that gathered to attend the virtual FIGT 2022 conference; the informal FIGT European Meetup in September 2022, and the planning of another gathering in Central Asia in 2023), and many moments of connection are taking place online throughout the organization. Change is in our DNA, and it is time to adjust once more. And this is what you have granted us: the time to reflect on the past and to prepare for a future that is still in development.

    Do You Have Ideas?

    If you have an idea or a thought to share – what the conference could/should look like or what could/should be involved – please do not hesitate to contact Deborah! She would be happy to hear thoughts from our community members, newsletter readers, and supporters. Also, if you enjoy planning and helping others to cross barriers of understanding, including crossing the technical divide, Tanya is also on the lookout for people to form a team for the future.

    With sincere thanks,

    Deborah Valentine and Tanya Crossman, on behalf of the FIGT Board

  • 06 Feb 2023 12:34 AM | Anonymous

    Dear FIGT Community Members,

    Families in Global Transition (FIGT) exists to provide a community platform to share our learning, experiences, overwhelm, and ideas. By its very nature, the FIGT community and FIGT organization are constantly facing a shifting world of transitions. 

    This year the FIGT Board is taking stock of our rapidly changing world, the shifts in media used for communication, and the avenues in which we operate. We need to do this to ensure clarity around our mission and vision and to align our structures and strategies. 

    Such restructuring and rethinking requires time, effort, thought, and due diligence. 

    FIGT conferences are a beloved annual ritual that allow our community to meet, connect, share, and renew our energies. This year, however, due to the volume and complexity of the work required to assess the next steps in FIGT’s future, the Board recognized that it needed to make adjustments to this year’s planned schedule. 

    Therefore, after careful deliberation and discussion, the Board has decided to postpone the FIGT Conference until 2024. 

    We know how much our community looks forward to the annual conference. We trust you will understand our need to spend time improving our structures and systems so that we can continue to serve our community in the long term. 

    We hope that, instead, you can join us at one of the many other events on offer throughout the year, such as the Member Connect meetings, Affiliate events, and our new Let’s Talk Series, etc. Please keep an eye on the monthly FIGT newsletter for dates and times.

    If you have questions, please feel free to email the Board President, Hannele Secchia, at president@figt.org.

    With appreciation, 
    The FIGT Board 

  • 25 Nov 2022 12:38 PM | Anonymous

    Robin Pascoe has been a long-time champion of FIGT and we are incredibly grateful for her contributions as a thought leader, supporter, and financial contributor. It’s because of generous individuals like Robin that we are able to continue to strengthen and diversify our community - members who contribute their gifts, time and talents in order to propel FIGT forward to “Build community and foster connection to help the globally mobile thrive”. 

    Offering Foundational Support for Families in Global Transition

    By Robin Pascoe


    FIGT has undergone a huge sea change since as the Expat Expert  (www.expatexpert.com) I attended my first conference back in 2000. At that time, my books focusing on the challenges of the expat spouse in the relocation experience were considered almost revolutionary—and as it happened, very controversial. Of course, anyone who is acquainted with me personally, knows I got a tremendous kick out of stirring the pot, to say stuff no one had said out loud before (and have women cheekily ask me: are you a fly on the wall of my marriage?). FIGT allowed me to meet up in person in Indianapolis with fellow travelers. It was truly like coming home, to a place where I finally felt like I belonged, where I didn’t have to explain myself. These are all sentiments which I know still hold true to this day.

    But flash forward to 2022. The world has changed dramatically. The relocation and expat experience has changed. FIGT as an organization also needed to change. Like many other global groups, it had to move its activities to virtual spaces and must continue to seek out new ways to pivot to the current realities, both logistical and in the experience members want and need to share. 

    As it happened, I stopped attending conferences in 2010 after being honoured, with Jo Parfitt, as a trailblazer. I made a personal pivot away from all things expat and went to work with my husband building a brand for our international education company, Maple Bear Global Schools (www.maplebear.ca). But I was drawn back into the FIGT world in 2018 when I was honoured once again to open the 20th anniversary conference in The Hague. And my pal and colleague Jo encouraged me to become engaged with the Parfitt-Pascoe Writing Residency Program which she had created (and done all of the heavy lifting I might add!).

    I began to be interested once again in FIGT but in a different way. For one thing, I was much older and suddenly, I filled the role of ‘wise elder’, a role I admit I have enjoyed! But the success of Maple Bear provided another opportunity for me. I have been able to offer substantial foundational support for FIGT. At first, I did it quietly and anonymously but have since become more transparent in the hopes of encouraging others. I have learned that in the world of fundraising, this is called leverage.


    Today, I write this with that exact goal in mind: to encourage all current members to find new ways of supporting FIGT as an organization. Foundational support is not just about writing a check (not that there is anything wrong with that!). Consider volunteering, getting the word out to expand our membership, sharing experiences in online meet-ups. Perhaps you’d like to donate a small sum as a way to ‘give back’ to the organization that allowed so many of us to build successful careers. FIGT—and founder Ruth Van Reken in particular—have given us so much. Now is the time to show that gratitude in order to support the sustainability of this wonderful organisation. 


    Personally, I am beyond grateful that the overwhelming success of Maple Bear has allowed my husband Rodney Briggs and I to support many causes important to us, most especially the environmental education NGO in Costa Rica Finca Cantaros Environmental Association (www.fincacantaros.org) created by our TCK daughter Lilly Briggs. We have pledged to continue to substantially support FIGT for at least the next three years to give the leadership of new president Hannele Secchia a chance to reconfigure the organization so it reflects the realities of the post-pandemic world. I hope you will join us in whatever way suits your time and resources!

    Robin Pascoe

  • 05 Aug 2022 6:19 PM | Anonymous

    Lauren Wells, FIGT member and Founder & CEO of Silver Sponsor, TCK Training, shares important new research highlighting the unique relationship TCKs have with both adversities and positive experiences. 

    By Lauren Wells, Founder & CEO, TCK Training

    In 2021, TCK Training conducted a survey investigating ACE Scores and experiences of developmental trauma among Adult Third Culture Kids. Their  primary objective was to get data on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in TCKs; the secondary objective was to gain insights into other forms of developmental trauma experienced and witnessed by TCKs. In this article Lauren Wells shares more about their experiences and findings. 

    Cultivating Thriving TCKs: Risks and Hope 

    I planted a vegetable garden this year. In the past, my gardens have been limited to a small, above-ground rectangle that I filled with a couple of bags of store-bought soil. This year, however, I decided to go bigger. I planned out a 2x2 meter plot and began to do my research on preparing to plant. I naively thought it would be as simple as removing the grass and weeds from the area, making little holes for my seeds, and vois là - vegetables would abound! But, I discovered this plan was not likely going to be successful. There may be some hearty seeds that sprout, but it was clear that without some serious preparation, this garden would not do well. So, I invested in a hand tiller, vegetable garden food, compost, and topsoil. 

    Raising TCKs is a similar endeavor. Entering the TCK life without intentional understanding of the risks and prevention strategies make it challenging for TCKs to grow up resilient, reap the benefits of the TCK life, and ultimately be healthy in adulthood. 

    Working in TCK care for over a decade and being an adult TCK myself, I knew anecdotally many of the challenges that seemed to be prevalent in the lives of TCKs. I had noticed a correlation between those challenges in the developmental years and health in adulthood. As we started our research in 2021, we decided to use the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) framework to research those developmental challenges, not only because it is well researched around the world, but because there is also research on it's associated preventive factors called Positive Childhood Experiences (PCES). Our research sought to investigate the risk of high ACE scores among TCK populations so that prevention strategies can be implemented. 

    There are 10 factors that make up the ACE score and they fall in the categories of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. High ACE scores (considered to be a score of 4 or more) have been associated with higher risk of disease, depression, addiction, behavioral challenges, divorce, obesity, and even premature death. We hypothesized that TCKs would have higher ACE scores than monocultural individuals but were surprised by how significant that variance was. Our study (which can be read about in depth here: https://www.tcktraining.com/research/caution-and-hope-white-paper) showed that 20.9% of TCKs in our data set of 1,904 have an ACE score of 4 or more compared to the largest ACE study done on the American population that revealed that 12.5% had an ACE score of 4 or more. When we looked at TCKs who experienced high mobility (moving house 15+ times), the percentage jumped to 33.2%.

    While researching gardening, I learned about factors that would inhibit plants from thriving, and I realized that my garden plot had many of them. In the same way, this research identifies that TCKs are at greater risk for higher ACE scores. But there is hope and it lies in this: there is already excellent research on how to promote thriving despite high ACE scores. We have access to PCEs research that provides specific protective buffers that can be put in place to mitigate the negative outcomes of high ACE scores.  

    These PCEs are: 

    1. Feeling that their feelings are heard and validated by their parents

    2. Feeling physically safe in the home

    3. Feeling their parents stand by them during difficult times and would choose them over their job/ministry/population of service, etc 

    4. Feeling supported by a peer group 

    5. Feeling a sense of belonging within a larger, multigenerational group 

    6. Having routines and traditions to look forward to 

    7. Feeling a sense of belonging in high school/secondary school 

    8. Having two non-parent adult relationships who take a genuine interest in them

    Because of the unique nature of the TCK life, these PCEs often need to be creatively implemented and certainly need to be intentionally maintained. When they are, the outcomes for TCKs improve exponentially! It was found that when those who had an ACE score of 4 or more consistently had more than 6 PCEs, their rate of mental illness in adulthood dropped by 72%. Many other studies show drastic improvement of outcomes when PCEs are maintained. 

    Knowing the risk factors of planting TCKs in the soil of the globally mobile life doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. If we didn’t, we would miss out on the amazing opportunities and benefits of a globally mobile upbringing! But, because we know the risks, we should take care to cultivate the soil so that the outcomes are more likely to be healthy and favorable for the TCKs we love. By nourishing them with PCEs, they are more likely to thrive and build resilience in the environment of the Third Culture Kid life. 


    TCK Training teaches parents, organizations, companies, and schools about caring for TCKs in simple and practical ways, as well as providing all the tools needed. If that's something you'd like to know more about,  they’d love to hear from you. Please follow them on social media (@tcktraining) or visit their website at www.tcktraining.com.  

    Thank you, TCK Training, for becoming an FIGT Silver Sponsor. 

  • 14 Jun 2022 11:46 PM | Anonymous

    Addressing this month's FIGT Focus, member Natasha Winnard shares the benefits children gain when the adults in their lives give back through volunteerism. 

    By Natasha Winnard

    As a child, I was surrounded by adults who volunteered their time to their communities. Family members volunteered in a number of ways, including playing the piano for community theatre productions, shopping for our elderly neighbour, helping to staff a holiday camp for children whose siblings were living with leukaemia and working the night shift at a shelter for women who were experiencing domestic abuse.  I wonder whether my commitment to volunteering as an adult is connected to the positive role modelling I had from adults when I was growing up. But what is it that our children learn when they see us, as the adults in their lives, commiting to volunteer service? 

    1. Community Building

    If we volunteer across socio-economic, cultural and intergenerational groups, our children learn that being part of a community involves all members of society. 

    2. Work Opportunities

    We actively show our children that we value work in its different forms whether paid, voluntary, full time, part time or temporary. And that at different stages in our lives and circumstances we are open to exploring a range of working opportunities. 

    3. Support Network

    We model to our children that we all need people to support and care for us. Sometimes that support may be receiving a winter clothes donation or taking a new parent in our community on a tour of our local shops, but more often than not it is the need for a meaningful human connection that provides each of us with care and support. 

    4. New Learning

    When we commit to new volunteer opportunities we demonstrate that, like our children, we are open to taking risks and new learning with members of our wider communities. This may involve a volunteer opportunity where we need to speak a new language or develop new skills e.g. learning more about how to sensitively communicate across cultures and income groups. 

    Our older children can sometimes equate the value of volunteering to building their CVs for university or college applications and for entering the job market. Whilst this is understandable, it is our job as adults to model behaviours to our children that are longer lasting, and that they will hopefully pass on to the next generation.

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