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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  • 19 Jan 2020 1:37 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is pleased to announce that SENIA International joins us as a first-time Silver Sponsor. 


    SENIA International is the Special Education Network & Inclusion Association, a global organization of educators, professionals, and parents whose mission is to advocate for and provide resources and support for differently abled individuals. 

    “Our vision,” according to Lori Boll, Conference and Associations Coordinator for SENIA, “is to live in an inclusive world where every individual is supported, resources are accessible, potential is maximized, and action is inspired.”

    Lori also runs International School Bangkok’s new Intensive Needs Program. She is particularly pleased that FIGT2020 will be held March 13–15th at the ISB campus, and welcomes the conference theme of Embracing and Bridging Differences

    “SENIA has known about FIGT for years. We are interested in sponsoring as we would like to bridge together families who are moving overseas to inclusive schools in their countries. Moving countries is difficult, and moving countries with a child with special learning needs is incredibly hard. SENIA can help support these families.”

    Like FIGT, SENIA holds an annual conference — this year, early December in Korea — and would like to spread the word to interested parties.  

    “I have not attended an FIGT conference yet,” Lori said, “and I’m excited about it. I’m excited to network with experts in this field. I hope people will reach out to SENIA for support and resources.” 

    FIGT shares that excitement as well. We appreciate that SENIA International is partnering with us, and look forward to seeing them in March at FIGT2020!


    FIGT is grateful to have incredible sponsors who understand the experiences and needs of the globally mobile community. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit our sponsorship page.

  • 17 Jan 2020 3:58 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Creating an inclusive and safe space for all is at the heart of FIGT’s work. But we also recognize that we can all carry unconscious bias and that there are underrepresented voices within our community. This month, we explore “diversity and inclusion.”


    One of FIGT’s goals is to make our community as inclusive and welcoming as possible, creating a safe space for all those who are globally mobile to share their experiences and stories. 

    We are a diverse community, spanning the globe, but we also recognize that there are voices we are not hearing or representing enough in our work. We also appreciate that we can all carry unconscious bias. That’s one of the reasons that we will be focusing on diversity and inclusion over the next few weeks. 

    In addition, our commitment to recognizing and exploring differences is at the heart of our 2020 Annual Conference.

    Global mobility offers a realm of differences. Some we may expect — people, place, language, culture, religion. Some we may not — differences in education, work styles, employment, relationship, health and economic status, leisure opportunities, and life stages. 

    How we embrace and bridge those differences not only impacts our personal and professional lives and well-being, but also those who surround us. 

    We cannot possibly include every voice in just a few short weeks of videos and blogs but we can try.

    And we would like ask for what FIGT2019’s Lightning Speaker Jerry Jones calls a mercy umbrella as we try to explore our community’s wonderful diversity.


    To access the content: Please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Video content will be available for the month and then archived to the members’ only section of this website.

     

    Further resources

    (* Requires FIGT member log-in.)

    From the FIGT archives

     

    From the FIGT Bookstore

    FIGT Bookstore features publications written or recommended by FIGT members. Purchasing through the affiliate links below supports the David C. Pollock Scholarship at no extra cost to you. (Descriptions are from Amazon.)

     

    FIGT2020 sessions

    Here are some diverse voices that will be at the upcoming FIGT2020.


    If you would like to add your voice to this conversation, please contact Sarah at social-lead@figt.org. Small business and corporate members can also submit up to three blog posts a year — submit your article here or get in touch with blogeditor@figt.org.

  • 13 Jan 2020 9:11 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Interested in learning more about multilingualism for yourself and your family? As part of our month focusing on multilingualism, FIGT Member and family language coach Rita Rosenback shares with us a list of resources to get you started.

    (Edited on 15 January 2020)

    What does “multilingualism” mean for you? Perhaps you grew up with multiple languages and incorporated (or are incorporating) those into your identity, or you are raising children multilingually and wondering how to do it or what it will mean for them. Or maybe you are learning new language(s) as globally mobile adults and appreciating the difference it makes to life in a new country or wondering whether you’ll ever “get it.” 

    Within such a diverse group as serviced by FIGT, the answers are bound to be myriad. But we know that language is entwined with questions of culture and identity.

    Online and off, a smorgasbord of resources are available on the many facets of “multilingualism,”—which can be somewhat bewildering. FIGT Member and former Vice President, family language coach, author, and founder of Multilingual Parenting Rita Rosenback shares with us some resources to get you started.

    Benefits of multilingualism

    Research has suggested that speaking more than one language delays dementia and enhances a child’s working memory. It makes you smarter, better at multitasking, open-minded, and less easily distracted, among other things. Here are two collections of some of the best studies and articles out there.


    Learning a language as an adult

    We know that learning a language is a great way to adapt to and get to know other cultures. But it can be challenging. Can adults still attain fluency? 


    Language, culture, and identity


    Raising multilingual children

    Each family needs to find the approach that works for them, but if you’re trying to raise your children to be multilingual, here are some places to start you off.

    Approaches to raising a multilingual child

    Here are some of the most popular approaches that many families use and adapt: 

    The language environment

    The right language environment can make it easier for children to learn more than one language.

    Common myths

    There are an incredible number of debunked myths still making their rounds. Don’t get caught up in them; know what the latest research shows and know when to say “yes, yes” to (usually) well-meaning but misguided advice and continue to do your own thing.

    Resources and support for parenting multilingual kids

    Books and other reading

    FIGT member websites

    Facebook groups

    If you are on Facebook, there are several groups that parents of multilingual children can join to get support and advice.


    Thank you, Rita, for sharing these resources!

    If you find any of these useful or want to suggest others, please leave a comment. Rita and Ute also look at some of the challenges, opportunities, and concerns of being a multilingual family on the move; you can watch the video from the links below.

    To access this month’s content: Please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Video content will be available for the month and then archived to the members’ only section of this website.



  • 09 Jan 2020 9:46 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Anthropologist, author & TCK, Danau Tanu, PhD will be one of the keynote speakers at FIGT’s 2020 Annual Conference in Bangkok this March.


    Danau is the author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School, which is based on her doctoral research. Currently, she is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and an editor of Inside Indonesia.

    Danau has published in-depth, ethnographic studies on Third Culture Kids (TCKs), international schools and mixed-race identities among other topics. Her research is driven by a desire to uncover the hidden voices among TCKs while trying to understand her own experiences of being born in Canada with Chinese Indonesian and Japanese heritage and growing up in several countries. 

    In 2019, out of her passion for making research on TCKs accessible to the public and exploring the diversity of the TCK experience, she joined Isabelle Min and several others whom she met at FIGT 2019 to start an online forum called, ‘TCKs of Asia’. 


    Look out for more details of Danau’s keynote and an interview with her coming soon. FIGT2020 Embracing & Bridging Differences will take place in Bangkok, March 13-15. For more information and to register, visit the Conference page.
  • 07 Jan 2020 9:27 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is thrilled to announce that its longtime sponsor, CrossBorder Living Institute, has renewed again at the Gold level. 


    “It is hard to imagine us as being anything other than a sponsor of FIGT,” says Jennifer Patterson, co-founder of CrossBorder Living Institute. “We are deeply committed to the globally mobile community, and while we believe that sponsorship helps demonstrate this, more importantly, our renewal is truly about helping to increase FIGT’s impact.”

    “We know that working together, specifically through providing funding via a renewal of the CrossBorder Living Institute’s commitment at the gold level, FIGT is in a better position to continue providing leadership, bringing forth various voices and important issues and ideas, and reaching as many families, individuals and organizations as possible.”

    Jennifer, who has lived abroad more than half her life, and her dual-national husband Jeff, have raised two tri-national children while working for their own advisory firm for international clients, Patterson Partners

    They know firsthand the stresses and challenges that can accompany the globally mobile life, and have dedicated their lives to helping those living and working across cultures to gain the financial information and services they require and to find regulated financial firms able to provide that.

    To do the latter, they created CrossBorder Living Institute, which teaches cross-border technical and practice-related topics to financial practitioners. The Institute also provides events and training for the globally mobile to create, grow and manage their financial assets — regardless of how much or how little they might be — in a way that best supports how they want to live.

    We love the FIGT2020 theme, Embracing and Bridging Differences, and are truly excited, on so many levels, that it was chosen to kick off the decade we’re entering,” explains Jennifer.

    “Philosophically, we believe the most effective strategy for moving through the complications that come with different cultural and familial imprints — some of which have a far-reaching impact on how we make key life and financial decisions — is when each of us is well served by considering our individual differences, seeking to find where we might already have alignment, and identifying a way to bridge areas where we don’t immediately align.”

    Many thanks to Jennifer, Jeff, and CrossBorder Living Institute for their continued Gold Sponsorship of FIGT!


    FIGT is grateful to have incredible sponsors who understand the experiences and needs of the globally mobile community. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit our sponsorship page.

  • 03 Jan 2020 1:20 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We kick off the new year by talking to the 2020 Pollock Scholars. First up is international educator Jacob Daniel Huff, who realized he was a TCK long after he became one. He tells us how it fed his passion to support children growing up in an international environment.


    2020 Pollock Scholar Jacob Daniel Huff is an international educator who as a child grew up across three different US states and then moved to Vietnam. As an adult, he has lived in four different countries with his Korean-born American wife and their daughter. Jacob is fascinated by how students develop a sense of identity in an international context.

    Now Elementary Principal at Oasis International School, Kuala Lumpur, he is working on his doctorate in curriculum and instruction and plans to focus his dissertation on multigenerational TCKs.

    How did you hear about FIGT and what inspired you to apply for the Scholarship?

    I first heard about Families and Global Transition when I was researching Third Culture Kids for my doctoral studies—I believe it was when I was reading Dr. Anastasia Lijadi’s work on place identity construction, just before the 2019 conference. Looking at the sessions, I decided that I would try to attend the 2020 conference. When I found out about the David C. Pollock scholarship, I put it on my calendar to apply.

    What are your areas of interest/expertise related to global mobility?

    I am the principal of an international elementary school, so I am serving the needs of TCKs every day. I am also doing my doctoral work on international teacher understanding and practices in regard to identity development in TCKs. I am about to begin work on case studies of multigenerational TCK families. Each story will be different, but they will all focus on the development of identity in these families.

    How did you get into this field? Why are you passionate about it/why is it important to you?

    When I was a teenager, I moved with my family to Vietnam and though at the time I did not know what a TCK was, I became one. After I became an international educator and learned the term, I not only saw that this group existed and recognized the importance of meeting these students’ needs, but I realized I had had many of the struggles often associated with TCKs.

    The field of TCK research is important to me personally because I am an ATCK; as an international educator, because TCKs are the population I serve; and as a father, because I am raising a TCK.

    What do you look forward to at FIGT2020 in Bangkok?

    I am looking forward to the sessions, particularly those by Dr. Lijadi and Ruth E. Van Reken. I am also looking forward to meeting old friends and new people who care deeply about TCK issues, sharing stories, and learning people’s backgrounds.

    Finally: Can you share a random piece of info about yourself, please?

    Whenever I am traveling or whenever I move to a new country, one of my favorite things is to explore the street food. I can pretty much guarantee that I will enjoy any country with a vibrant, delicious street-food culture. When I spend an extended period of time in the US, street food is the thing that I miss the most. What I love about street food are the smells, the simplicity, the bold flavors, the communal nature of it, and the way that it is soaked in the culture of the place.


    ALSO: Read Jacob's full bio and learn about all the 2020 Scholars

    Every year, the David C. Pollock Scholarship brings new voices to the FIGT conference and it's kept alive with your support. If you will be at FIGT2020, we hope many of you will participate in the 2020 Lucky Draw!

    We are also happily accepting donations such as books, coaching sessions, and workshops. The Lucky Draw provides a great platform for people to hear about your services and raises funds to continue the Pollock Scholar Legacy. Please contact Matilda Criel-Ewoldt, Scholarship Chair, for further information at scholarship@figt.org.

  • 27 Dec 2019 4:17 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Last but not least among the new 2019-2020 Board members we've interviewed is Tanya Crossman, who has a big job ahead preparing for FIGT 2020 as Logistics Director. 


    Can you please describe your FIGT role?

    I am FIGT’s Logistics Director. I am responsible for coordinating logistics for the annual FIGT conference — venue, catering, registration, and all the other bits and pieces involved in event planning and coordination. I coordinate with an event manager at the venue and lead a committee of FIGT members who volunteer their time and talents to the smooth running of the conference. 

    What inspired you to stand for this particular office?

    I had a somewhat unconventional path to the board. I served as co-director for much of 2019 while the previous director, Kate Berger, was on maternity leave. Although I had only been to one FIGT conference (in 2017), I was very excited that FIGT was coming to Asia, where I live. I have a lot of experience with event logistics, so I volunteered to join the new Logistics Committee. A couple of months later I was unexpectedly "promoted" when I was asked to coordinate the event logistics in Kate’s place. 

    The experience of collaborating and contributing was really special, and I decided to apply to join the board in my own right. 

    Logistics is a skill I can offer, but for me, joining the board is about having a voice in how FIGT grows and develops as an organization. I believe in what FIGT is and does, so much so that I not only want to give my time and talents to it, but I want a seat at the table.

    I was also inspired by the board members themselves. In my interim role, I joined their meetings and was blown away by their passion, commitment, and support for one another. 

    Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year? What do you look forward to?

    I will be continuing the work Kate began, growing the Logistics Committee and strengthening long-term strategic planning. I hope to oversee moving the conference again, and setting up a system to facilitate rotating the FIGT conference around the world. 

    Your favorite thing about FIGT / being a part of FIGT?

    Walking into a room full of people who GET IT because they’ve experienced some of the same things — there’s so much you don’t have to explain! And being part of a global community that is committed to being relational and supporting one another, through resources and advice and encouragement.

    Can you share a random piece of info about yourself, please?

    I’m fairly fluent in Mandarin Chinese (both written and spoken). After my first 10 years in China, I spent a few years living in my native Australia, and I discovered that the Chinese side of my brain would get bored if not exercised regularly. If I went a couple of weeks without a conversation in Chinese, I would start unconsciously inserting Mandarin sentences into my English conversations, utterly confusing my Australian friends!

    A few of them started to play along — guessing at what I said and making a joke of it. I loved it! They couldn’t share the Chinese language with me, but their acknowledgment of my bilingual self meant the world to me.

    Please share some words of wisdom for globally mobile people.

    One of the hardest experiences in life is isolation — to feel alone in a group of people, to feel no one understands your experience. FIGT is a great space for alleviating the isolation around international life and transition.

    You are not the first or only person to experience what you’re going through. There are people with advice and resources to share — and people who need the advice and resources you can offer them! When we connect and communicate in the relational community that FIGT provides, we all make each other stronger.


    Come talk with Tanya at FIGT2020, where she’ll be presenting a Morning Forum “Support During University Transition” with Aleka Bilan, Jason Coates, and Karla Fraser! You can learn more about Tanya in the board member bios section and members can also listen to her talk, “Third Culture Kids 101.”

  • 20 Dec 2019 1:48 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Language is a gift. There are myriad benefits in learning to communicate across different languages. FIGT kicks off this month’s theme “multilingualism.”


    Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

    There are myriad benefits in learning to communicate across different languages. Language is not only a means for communication but a link to culture and identity, especially for those growing up in a cross-cultural environment or raising multilingual children.

    Whatever your motivation for living multilingually, the rewards can be vast; yet, it’s not always easy.

    Here are some ways to approach the broad subject of multilingualism:

    Benefits of multilingualism

    Apart from the usefulness of being able to bargain at a local market, what other benefits does being bi-/multilingual bring? (An interesting read: “The amazing benefits of being bilingual,” BBC.com, 13 August 2016.)

    Learning a language as an adult

    We know that learning a language is a great way to adapt to and get to know other cultures. But it can be challenging. Can adults still attain fluency? What are some tips to help adult learners? What are the differences between learning a language as an adult vs as a child? (A hopeful read: “MIT Scientists prove adults learn language to fluency nearly as well as children,” Medium.com, 4 May 2018.)

    Language, culture, and identity

    How does language interact with culture and identity? When children reach adolescence and start to form their identities, the languages they speak may form a part of their answer to the question “Who am I?” What about those who learn new languages as adults? What do we know about the language-identity link, and what does it mean for globally mobile families, TCKs, and CCKs, and their cultural heritage and connections with extended family? What should family members, teachers, and other adults know? (Language apparently matters most when people define national identity: “What It Takes to Truly Be ‘One of Us,’” Pew Research, 1 February 2017.) 

    Raising multilingual children

    Each family needs to find the strategy that works for them, but what are some common approaches to raising multilingual children? Is it true that multilingualism can cause speech delays? Can it ever be too late for a child to learn a language?

    There are so many questions, and there are also many resources and support out there, but here are two places you might start:


    ALSO: We asked FIGT Member and family language coach Rita Rosenback to share some resources on multilingualism to help us make sense of the plethora of information online.

    To access this month’s content: Please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Video content will be available for the month and then archived to the members’ only section of this website.

    We would love to hear about your experiences! If you’re an FIGT member and would like to contribute to this theme, please contact social-lead@figt.org. Small business and corporate members can also submit up to three blog posts a year — submit your article here or get in touch with blogeditor@figt.org.

  • 16 Dec 2019 2:46 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Relocation manager LaShell (Shelly) Tinder stepped up as FIGT Treasurer for 2019-2020 when she saw the organization’s need. She values “our ability to relate with one another and ensure our humanity is always at the forefront of what we do and how we treat others.” (And she’s bringing her TCK daughter to FIGT2020!)


    Can you please describe your FIGT role?

    As Treasurer, my job is to ensure transparency around the budget, to elevate the FIGT Board members’ knowledge of our financial solvency, and to guide team members in fiduciary decisions to ensure the organization can support the community with scholarships, information through our website, and events.

    What inspired you to stand for this particular office?

    I didn't initially seek out the role of Treasurer; however, when I learned they didn't have applicants and I knew I had the background needed to fulfill the duties, I adjusted my vision of how I could contribute to the organization.

    Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year? What do you look forward to?

    My plans are to: 

    • Meet with the accountants to see if we can change the way in which information is presented to make it easier to review.

    • Look at our banking relationship to see what options exist and ensure we have a sustainable supplier solution given the distance / locations of our board members and the need for digitized banking solutions.

    • Meet with Scholarship, Sponsorship, and Membership team members to see how I can support them in their work.

    • Contribute as a thought leader to the Executive Committee where I have experience from my own expatriate experiences and a seat at the corporate table to drive mobility practices for families. 

    What I’m looking forward to is attending the conference! It has been a number of years—I haven't been to a conference since it has been held outside of the US. It will be great to connect with everyone again! 

    I am also bringing my daughter, Kate Pellegrino: TCK, born in Belgium, grew up in Venezuela and Ecuador, repatriated to the US when she was nearly 11. She’s on a professional journey and I think connecting with other TCKs and CCKs will give her lots of inspiration. She spoke at the 2016 Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium in Boston and left the crowd enamored with her...proud Mama moment! 

    Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?

    When I first attended in 2004, I found “home” in the community and realized I wasn't alone. After living abroad for 11 years, repatriation was quite challenging. FIGT gave me a great base to get reacquainted with my homeland and feel OK about not liking everything. 

    A few years later when my children began to struggle with their “TCKness,” I brought home Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds to them. Steve and Kate both said, “This is our bible.” They found pieces of themselves in the writings and it helped normalize what they were experiencing. 

    I am so thankful for the support and community with FIGT!

    Can you share a random piece of info about yourself please?

    I was becoming more adept with Spanish and was standing at the window to get my cedula in Venezuela. The woman asked me, “Su altura” (your height). I very confidently responded, “Cinco pie y tres pulgas.” I proceeded to scratch my head as it was quite hot and I felt a bit itchy. The woman stepped back a bit.

    It was then my husband turned to me smiling and said, “You just told her you are 5 feet 3 fleas.” We have had a good laugh over that one a few times.

    Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and other globally mobile people.

    In this world of globalization, digitized conversations, and hurried communication, we risk losing our greatest trait—our ability to relate with one another and ensure our humanity is always at the forefront of what we do and how we treat others. 

    Being a part of FIGT is a constant and easy reminder to bring your humanity forward to all conversations. By doing this, we become more tolerant, at ease with others, and hone our cultural agility.


    Look for Shelly and her daughter at FIGT2020! (And read about another FIGT mom who brought her daughter to the FIGT conference). You can learn more about Shelly in the board member bios section. 

  • 10 Dec 2019 2:08 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is deeply honored to announce that our generous Anonymous Donor has chosen to sponsor again this year at the Platinum level.

    In keeping with their desire to maintain the focus on FIGT and its mission as a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them across cultures, they are once more electing to remain nameless.

    Who is this generous FIGT supporter, and why the secrecy? 

    Our Anonymous Donor wouldn’t tell you any of this, but I will. 

    They are a longtime member of FIGT and a highly respected, staunch advocate of the globally mobile community. They know firsthand what it’s like to find oneself in a new culture, experience culture shock, transition from old to new—over and over again—and understand that it’s only by embracing the different pieces that we create the fullest meaning of such a life. 

    They know the seasons and stages of life: raising TCK children, maintaining a strong partnership, developing a robust career, modeling how to exit that with grace and excitement when new opportunities and interests come calling—creating an equally impressive second career, all the while giving of their time, talent, or treasure whenever possible. 

    They recognize the value of using their voice on behalf of others. They know the importance of social impact. Always building, networking, connecting, bridging.

    So it isn’t all that surprising that our Anonymous Donor chooses not to identify themselves. In a world where voices are often clamoring for attention, sometimes it is the silence that speaks loudest.


    Be a part of this community and join us at the FIGT 2020 Conference!


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