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Part One: The People who Make Up our Tribe or Why I go to the Families in Global Transition Conference

08 Mar 2017 1:14 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

The #FIGTN17NL Annual Conference is quickly approaching. Do you have your tickets? Are you ready to go? We are counting down the days when FIGT members and supporters journey from around the world to come together for our annual gathering. Over three days we celebrate, network, and educate one another on ways to continue to support our multicultural community. 

Get inspired by six new and existing FIGT members as they share, “Why I go to the FIGT Conference” and “2-3 Tips/Suggestions on what to do while at the FIGT conference." Read about the first three members in our Part One series and stay tuned next week for Part Two!  


Name: Katia Vlachos 

Conferences attended: 4 FIGT Conferences 

1.    Why I go to the FIGT conference? 

Because it feeds my soul. FIGT is not a regular conference. It’s a meeting of like minds, hearts, and souls. It’s the one time a year that I find myself surrounded by dozens of people who come from vastly different backgrounds yet share a very deep, instinctive connection and understanding of each other. FIGT is my annual meeting with my tribe.

2.    2-3 Tips or suggestions on what to do at the conference?

a. Do not make any other plans besides the conference, not even dinner! FIGT is a very rich and intense — both in terms of the conference program and social connections. You get the most out of it by immersing yourself completely.

b. Come with curiosity and an open mind. Ask questions, listen, share. Some of the stories you will hear will blow your mind. Some will seem incredibly familiar.

c. Become part of it. FIGT is run almost entirely by volunteers, and it is an extremely welcoming organization and community. You can make a difference!


Name: Joy O’Neill

Conferences attended: First conference this March!

1. Why I go to the FIGT conference? 

I've been planning to attend for the last couple of years and circumstances have meant that I haven't made it. This year I wanted to make it a priority.

2. What am I planning to do at the conference? 

I am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible and finding out new ideas to help children in transition.


Name: Lisa Ferland

Conferences attended: 2016 - Amsterdam

1. Why I go to the FIGT conference? 

This year I am the Bookstore Coordinator, Ignite presenter mentor and Early Bird writing session coach. The possibilities for getting involved in the conference are really great.

People who live abroad are very adept at diving right into the heart of personal issues. The hallways of the FIGT conference are lined with people meeting one another for the first time. In other cases, you will finally meet someone you have only known on Facebook in-person for the first time.   

It felt like I had stumbled into this exclusive club where everyone instantly understood my situation and the struggles I've experienced while living abroad without having to explain myself. Starting with that in common allowed for deep connections to be made very quickly. 

I love the FIGT conference for allowing those connections to be made and reinforced throughout the sessions. Learning that you are not alone and expanding your supportive network is worth the cost of registration itself.

2. 2-3 Tips or suggestions on what to do at the conference? 

a. Learn how to exit a conversation properly. I spoke with so many people who were unexpectedly pulled away by other friends, or they didn't know how to finish a conversation. I think all networking interactions should end with the handing over of a business/contact card and the phrase, "It was a pleasure to meet you, and I'd love to continue this conversation another time. Here is my contact information. Talk with you soon."  The conference is so busy and fast-paced that it is easy to walk away from an unfinished conversation.

b. Make hallway connections. Attending the sessions is always valuable, but many of the deep connections that I made were done in the hallways. I learned so much about people in between the sessions over coffee breaks. Those conversations are equally as valuable as the sessions themselves.

c. Prepare for long days. If you want to attend the early bird sessions and the evening dinners or networking sessions after the conference, your day may start at 6 am and end at 9 pm. Coupled with time zone differences and inevitable jet/travel lag, prepare yourself to get some good sleep each night and properly caffeinate yourself throughout the day. The conference is short in length but dense in content. They pack a lot into only a few days. 


As you can see, there are many different reasons on why we go to the FIGT Annual conference but first and foremost, it is to connect with one another! Thanks to Katia, Joy, and Lisa for sharing your stories and preparing us for the conference. We look forward to meeting you and reconnecting with you again in March! 

Stay tuned for Part Two: The People who Make Up our Tribe or Why I go to the Families in Global Transition Conference next week!

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