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.

  • 23 Nov 2019 4:54 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Jodi Harris joined the FIGT board for the 2019-2020 term. She talks with us about her role and aspirations for FIGT, and shares a beautiful story about her family’s “space box”.

    Can you please briefly describe your FIGT role?

    As Vice President, I'm a member of the Executive Committee. I support the President and serve as her backup when needed. I am FIGTs go-to person for organizational bylaws. I help keep an eye on our finances and support the Board in adopting and maintaining best practices. 

    I oversee the Research & Education Director and Affiliate Director Board roles and support those directors in meeting their goals. I also work closely with the Membership and Sponsorship Directors to help them in broadening and diversifying our global community and outreach.

    What inspired you to stand for this particular office?

    The short answer is that I believe passionately in the role that FIGT plays in supporting and advocating for the globally mobile community and I wanted to play a more active role in that mission.

    When it comes to the role of Vice President, I looked at what I thought I could bring to the table. I love connecting people and creating community. I enjoy being a cheerleader for the globally mobile and I have a lot of energy and passion for getting the word out about what FIGT offers. The VP role felt like the perfect fit.

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

    I am super excited about the FIGT Conference 2020! This will be our second year in Bangkok and I'm really looking forward to seeing the ways in which we're able to build on the energy of last year's first conference in Asia. 

    In my role as VP, I have a mantra that I'm keeping in the forefront of my mind: no globally mobile person should NOT know about FIGT. 

    My goal is to outreach, talk, share and connect as much as I can so that we bring even more people under our umbrella.

    Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?

    Community. I love the FIGT community! There is nothing quite like that feeling of being in a room with people who instantly get your experience. 

    And, because technology connects us so well with people all over the world, the FIGT community is stronger than ever!

    Even if you can't make it to the conference every year, you can still join an affiliate, connect personally and professionally with people, and contribute to the conversation online. 

    FIGT is a place with open arms and you feel that no matter how you get involved.

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

    My husband and I first met in the summer of 1998. I was just starting my senior year of university after a year abroad in Spain. He had graduated a couple years earlier and had been traveling in Europe and doing some work in Austin (where we're from). By the time I graduated in May 1999, we were headed together to Japan to teach English. It was a time of great transition and the beginning of our life around the world, together.

    I remember one night we were having this conversation about feeling homeless — excited for our future and all of the adventures we were having, but also feeling a sense of not having a space to call our own, a place that really felt like home.

    At one point in the conversation, he said something like, "I just don't feel like I have a space. I have nowhere to collect my things or unpack what I've acquired." 

    A few days later I was out shopping and I saw this beautiful little box. In my head I started imagining what it would be like to visualize all the places we'd been — the memories, the sights, the sounds, the smells — in one place. 

    I bought the box and presented it to him as his "space box" — a way to ritualize the coming and going, to collect what you're leaving and carry it forward to the next home. Soon after, he bought one for me.

    All these years later (twenty years!) we still have the same space boxes. It's a ritual that we honor with each move — the boxes stay open the entire time we live somewhere, collecting the memories. 

    When it's time to move, in a moment of silence and reflection, we mentally collect our memories and then close the box. When we arrive in our new home, we do the ritual in reverse — releasing the memories of the old home into the new one.

    Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and globally mobile people in general!

    The world is complex. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to look around and see so much that needs attention, nurturing and perspective. As globally mobile people, we're in a unique position to speak from a broad and diverse perspective. 

    And yet, it's too much for any one person to take on individually. We are all better when we seek to connect and create community across borders and when we work together to make the world a better place for everyone

    I think our international perspective is a gift we share with the world; FIGT provides a way for you to do that with others, in the spirit of understanding and solidarity.

    So step up and step in — together!

    You can learn more about Jodi in the Board Member bios section. FIGT members can also see her presentation on "Cultivating Stillness in a Fast Moving World" (FIGT2019). Stay tuned for more from our new 2019-2020 board members!
  • 19 Nov 2019 10:52 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Every year, the David C. Pollock Scholarship brings new voices to the FIGT conference. Please welcome the six FIGT2020 Scholars who will be carrying on David Pollock’s legacy to support and develop global-minded, intercultural souls. 

    FIGT is excited to announce the FIGT2020 David C. Pollock Scholars.! First-time conference attendees Karla A. Fraser, Jacob Daniel Huff, Asako Noda, Tracy Oyekanmi, Jessi Vance, and Maddie White will be joining us at FIGT2020 to bring their unique expertise and points of view to the discussion.

    Each year, the David C Pollock Scholarship provides highly motivated individuals working or studying in the intercultural and transnational mobility fields the opportunity to attend the FIGT conference.

    The Scholars “represent a missing voice at FIGT,” explains Scholarship Director Matilda Criel-Ewoldt. “The scholarship is an outright recognition that all voices must be heard.”

    Inspired by David Pollock’s tireless support, vision, and dedication to families in global transition, the scholarship epitomizes FIGT’s aim to attract, involve, and educate emerging, global-minded, intercultural souls—all within a safe space for all.

    Learn more about the David C. Pollock Scholarship.

    The 2020 Pollock Scholars

    True to its mission and in line with the FIGT2020 theme “Embracing and Bridging Differences,” the 2020 Scholars come from different realms of the globally mobile community.

    Karla A. Fraser is an adult TCK, expat, global educator, educational consultant, expat career coach, and entrepreneur. Karla has lived in six countries (USA, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Commonwealth of Dominica, and Singapore) and has travelled to 45+ others.

    In 2019, she founded Roseapple Global, LLC, which provides expat coaching and student administration consulting services. Inspired by her life experiences as a TCK, global work experiences and travels, Karla wants to help others achieve their goals of expat living.

    SEE: More from Karla about her commitment to promote awareness of the global diaspora of black and brown people.

    Jacob Daniel Huff is an international educator. Growing up, he moved across three different US states and then went from a farm in Arkansas to Vietnam. As an adult, Jacob has lived in four different countries with his Korean-born American wife and their daughter.

    Now Elementary Principal at Oasis International School, Kuala Lumpur, he is working on his doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Jacob is fascinated how students develop a sense of identity in an international context and is passionate about helping them develop the skills to thrive in their internationally mobile and multicultural lives.

    SEE: More from Jacob about his project on multigenerational TCKs.

    Asako Noda is involved in starting up a new international school in Tokyo and implementing children’s creative writing programs in educational institutions. Asako was born in Singapore and grew up in the UK. She did not fully identify as a “returnee” when she moved to Japan and only discovered many years later that she may have been a TCK.

    Asako is passionate about creating an environment of better understanding towards a more diverse Japanese society. She is currently a trainer at an international NGO which organizes children’s cross-cultural camps.

    Tracy Oyekanmi is a marketing communications professional with over a decade of experience working with multicultural teams across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. She hosts the “Visible At Work” podcast, where she shares practical insights and brings guests to discuss their experiences of working abroad. Her goal is to help professionals develop communication skills to navigate their workplace in a new country.

    Tracy is rounding up her master’s degree in strategic communication at La Salle University, Philadelphia, while living with her family in Vancouver.

    SEE: More from Tracy about her passion to support professionals working abroad and to spread awareness about globally mobile professionals from Africa.

    Jessi Vance grew up in Central Asia, graduated from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA 2013) with a specialized degree in Third Culture Kid Care and is uniquely equipped to connect with and advocate for a growing, culturally confused population.

    In 2013, Jessi founded Kaleidoscope, a non-profit committed to seeing third culture kids not just survive but thrive. She's currently based in New York and survives on a steady diet of airplane food and coffee.

    SEE: More from Jessi about her upbringing and how faith is an important part of the TCK conversation.

    Maddie White is an adult TCK who was born in the US and grew up in Fiji, Australia, Thailand, and South Africa, before returning to the US as a teen. She currently works at Smith College Special Collections as their Processing Archivist.

    Maddie is particularly interested in documenting and preserving the histories of TCKs who are non-white, disabled, LGBTQIA+, and/or non-Western. She believes community archiving could help foster belonging in the TCK community, through storytelling and a connection to our history. 

    SEE: More from Maddie about her aspiration to document and preserve the histories of underrepresented TCKs.

    Congratulations and welcome to all! We look forward to meeting and learning more from you.

    For the Scholars’ full bios, please see Introducing the David C Pollock Scholars 2020.

    Support the Scholarship!

    Each year at conference, we hold a Lucky Draw to raise funds for future Scholars. We hope many of you will support our Pollock Scholarship Fund and take part! The Scholars will be selling tickets during FIGT2020—so do say hello to the Scholars and get your tickets from them.

    We are also happily accepting donations for the Lucky Draw, such as books, coaching sessions, and workshops. The Lucky Draw provides a great platform for people to hear about your services and raises funds for a good cause—continuing the Pollock Scholar legacy! 

    Please contact Matilda Criel-Ewoldt, Scholarship Chair, for further information at scholarship@figt.org.

  • 15 Nov 2019 6:43 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)
    When the mobile life puts your life in turmoil, traditions and rituals take on a new significance. For November 2019, FIGT focuses on the theme “Traditions and things that preserve our identity.”

    Moving in general, and moving abroad in specific, brings our lives into turmoil. Things that have been taken for granted such as access to familiar foods, stores, or locations. Time difference to friends and family might challenge communications with loved ones and language issues might impact the ease of building up a new social network. 

    In these difficult times, traditions and artifacts from our home culture allow us to find comfort and to settle in more easily. Over time, some of these traditions (and collection of local artifacts) might change and be enriched by new experiences which make the global life so colourful and satisfying. 

    A move is often perceived as a chance to 'Marie Kondo' our lives, but we need to be careful to preserve, and to cherish, traditions, artifacts, and experiences as they are a piece of ourselves. We hope you enjoy our content this month and find some inspiration.

    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.

    (Items with * require FIGT member log-in.)

    From this month's social media

    Related articles

    Expat Living: What Does It Take To Make You Feel At “Home”?

    As part of adapting and adjusting, most expats find some combination of strange and different alongside the familiar and comforting, even with the fundamental of our traditions: food. Jonelle Hilleary reminisces about the quest for home foods among expats living in a country with few options.

    From FIGT resources

    New School Year, New Self-Care Routines 
    Health and wellness coach Stacey Arsenault explains the 5 dimensions of self-care:  physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social. She reminds us to ritualize self-care, to make it part of our routine. Although targeting students, this article is relevant for anyone entering into a new phase of life.

    VIDEO: What is 'family' culture shock?
    Family members go through culture shock at different paces. “Expert expat” Robin Pascoe suggests that the ritual of family meals is a powerful way to help family members get back on the same page.

    Proactive Steps for the Holiday Blues
    It’s common to get acute homesickness as the holidays roll around. Barbara Berthiaume, MSW, explains why that is and gives practical tips to navigate the special holidays, especially in a new country, to avoid the brunt of the holiday blues.

  • 12 Nov 2019 10:30 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Stepping up as our 2019-2020 Scholarship Chair is Matilda Criel-Ewoldt, herself a former Pollock Scholar. While researching TCKs’ coping mechanisms, Matilda was losing her own sense of her culture. She shares how overwhelming it was to finally feel understood.

    Can you please briefly describe your FIGT role?

    My role is to select the Pollock Scholars for the FIGT2020 conference — those who represent a missing voice at FIGT, who would be unable to attend without a scholarship. The scholarship is an outright recognition that all voices must be heard, regardless of financial situation.

    As Scholarship Chair, it will be my privilege to be a supportive presence for the Scholars throughout the conference. I want to be their point of reference throughout an overwhelming time, when they are meeting new people yet feeling a sense of belonging. I believe this will be my most important role.

    I’ll also oversee the lucky draw to raise funds for next year’s Scholars! I am excited about this, as it will encourage me to learn more about FIGT members and their contributions to the global nomad field.

    What inspired you to stand for this particular office?

    The first reason was my own experience as an FIGT2019 Scholar. I felt accepted and inspired. I bonded with my fellow Scholars and learned so much about supporting the global community, especially through exchanging ideas with experienced and knowledgeable people. It made me realize the amazing support and resource that FIGT can be. 

    I presented my doctoral research on TCKs and was grateful that, for the first time in my life, I did not have to explain what a TCK was, how they might think differently or have a different identity due to their upbringing — it was already understood.

    I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to experience it through the scholarship.

    Another inspiration was Jody Tangredi. She was the last FIGT Scholarship Chair and my main reference throughout the FIGT2019. Jody was such a helpful presence and a great emotional support, providing me encouragement and guidance and introducing me to so many different people in our community. She made me feel valued and that I belonged. 

    Finally, what inspired me to be Scholarship Chair was my own research background. I am currently working on my doctorate in psychology and my main focus has been on how cultural factors might affect the therapeutic alliance. 

    I want to provide a safe, helpful space for Scholars to discuss their own experiences with culture and their ability to cope with difficult transitions. I believe that such a space for self-exploration is necessary, especially within the socio-emotional focus of FIGT. 

    And I firmly believe that this platform can help us gain greater knowledge of ourselves and how to move forward. 

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

    I look forward to meeting the 2020 Pollock Scholars in person! I hope that I can provide a space for sharing and be a helpful guide for their FIGT experience. And I look forward to sharing ideas and experiences with the Scholars and FIGT members in general.

    This year, I also hope to integrate with the FIGT community. As a newer member, I want to learn more about the members of this community. 

    Finally, I’ve been discussing with fellow board members many ideas for the Scholars and am excited for what is ahead! 

    Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?

    The best part about FIGT is the sense of belonging. After living for quite a while in southern California, I felt lost in my sense of what my culture was and where exactly I fit in within the American culture.

    FIGT gave me the courage to not feel I had to “pick” between my cultures, but rather live within the ambiguity of it all.

    The presence of other people who understand the feeling of not truly fitting in anywhere was an amazing experience. For the first time, I felt heard and understood. I have never had a place to just be; the FIGT2019 was a great place to do so.

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

    I will be vulnerable and share this... At FIGT2019, the last day when it was all over, I cried! I felt so overwhelmed. FIGT made me feel understood and gave me such a sense of belonging that I was really sad to leave. For the first time, I felt like I had a space to talk about all of the emotions of growing up as a TCK. It just all came out that last day! 

    My favorite place in the world would probably be my grandparent’s apartment in Rome... When traveling all over the world, their home was a constant. It made me feel at peace — no matter how hectic our lives became, their home would stay the same. It gave me some sense of constancy when I felt like my life was turned upside down. 

    Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and globally mobile people in general!

    Be okay with being yourself. For a long time I tried so hard to mold myself to new places so I could feel like I belonged. Now, I am working on letting go and just letting myself be. It’s a lot easier said than done and I still have a long way to go! But one step at a time.

    You can learn more about Matilda in the board member bios section. FIGT members can also check out her FIGT2019 poster presentation on TCK coping mechanisms. Don’t miss more from our new 2019-2020 board members! 

  • 09 Nov 2019 9:49 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It's been a great month to see #FIGTMembers shining all around the world. We round up the news for November 2019.

    Huge congratulations to #FIGTMember Amanda McCue who has been elected as the next President of the ACT Division of the Career Development Association of Australia. You can read more about Amanda’s work in supporting military spouses and advocacy in partner employment here.

    It was great to see that the social media account for The Expatriate Archive Centre on Twitter @WeAreXpats featured two #FIGTMembers as its guest curators. Well done to both #FIGTMembers Cath Brew and Alaine Handa for talking about FIGT during their takeovers.

    We were also really excited to see #FIGTMember Sundae Schneider Bean introduce her Expat Coach Coalition program aimed as a professional development opportunity for coaches, counselors and psychologists who want to add to their toolset to serve those in global mobility.

    Congratulations to #FIGTMember Lisa Ferland for launching the second book in her children series! First came, When The Clock Strikes on Halloween, followed by When The Clock Strikes on Christmas Eve. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

    It is also lovely to see when #FIGTMembers join forces to work together! We are excited to hear that #FIGTMember Melissa Parks and Dr. Sonia Jaeger are working together to create an online community for location independent therapists and mental health coaches. For more information, sign up here.

    Last but not least, we are very proud that alongside FIGT who has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management's EMEA EMMA Awards, so have a few of our members too! Congratulations to #FIGTMember Deborah Valentine from ACCESS Netherlands, #FIGTMember and Board Member Dr. Anne Lesle for her research on expatriate spouses and #FIGTMember Alan L. King from King & Mayr for making the shortlist.

    If you have some news to share, please let us know! You can submit your news via the online form or contact membership.
  • 07 Nov 2019 11:03 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)
    Starting off our series of new 2019-2020 board member profiles is Mariam Ottimofiore, Membership Chair. An avid believer in the rich resource that is FIGT’s member community, she encourages everyone to get involved...because “the more you give, the more you'll receive.”

    Can you please briefly describe your FIGT role?

    I am thrilled to be the new Membership Chair for FIGT. My role is to enhance, expand, and shape FIGT’s membership offering and to proactively engage with our membership network.

    I report to the FIGT Treasurer and also work closely with other Board members such as Communications, Sponsorship, and Research & Education to ensure clarity, cohesion, and support towards our overall FIGT mission of serving globally mobile individuals and families.

    What inspired you to stand for this particular office?

    I strongly believe that FIGT’s members are its greatest resource. There is an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise amongst the FIGT community and I believe becoming part of the FIGT members group is a huge opportunity to learn, grow, share, and connect.

    Our members are essential and critical to FIGT’s mission of serving cross-cultural and globally mobile individuals and families, and I look forward to promoting the idea of membership being a two-way street: the more you give, the more you'll receive.

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

    I am looking forward to interacting closely with FIGT members to understand their needs and develop new privileges that would be of benefit to them. I am also interested in reaching out to potential members to promote our current offerings.

    I am particularly excited about reaching out to individual members such as your average expat parents looking for resources, community, and support that I believe FIGT can provide.

    I am also looking forward to revamping the FIGT bookstore directory to promote books written by FIGT members.

    Lastly, I am looking to expand FIGT and its mission to diversify its reach to include refugee families, immigrant families raising cross-cultural kids, migrant workers who often move while leaving their families behind, and to all others who are part of families in global transition. Transition affects us all, regardless of our status or privilege.

    Your favorite thing about being a part of FIGT?

    I have been a part of the FIGT community for the past three years and without a doubt my favorite thing about FIGT is the connections I have formed both online and offline with people who care passionately about living a global life and living it well.

    I love that, thanks to FIGT, if I have a question on managing dual careers or am looking for resources on how to support my kids through yet another move or how to raise a multilingual kid, I know who to reach out to for answers, help, guidance, and support.

    I personally love the support I have received from FIGT members in my work and the feeling of belonging to the “FIGT Family”.

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

    Even though I’ve lived in nine countries and moved countless of times, I haven’t developed the global skills of packing a suitcase expertly, reading a map, or remembering which country has which voltage! As a result, I always leave the packing to the professionals, get lost in every new city and country I call my home and always pack a million international adaptors when I move.

    One of my most embarrassing moments happened when I had newly arrived in Copenhagen and did not know my way around the city at all. When my husband left for his first day at work, I went out to explore the city and got terribly lost.

    In the end, desperate, I hailed a cab (obviously I had no clue how expensive cab rides were in Copenhagen) and gave the cabbie the name of the temporary housing we were staying in. I pronounced it all wrong, so the cabbie looked at me confused.

    Then I remembered the street name that I had memorized and written down just in case (this was before the advent of an iPhone). When I showed it to him, he burst out laughing!

    Turns out “ensrettet vej” in Danish means “one-way street.” So, we had deduced that where I needed to go was on a one-way street somewhere in Copenhagen!

    I have never been more embarrassed in my life, but it did provide me with the incentive to start learning Danish immediately.

    Please share some words of wisdom for FIGT members and globally mobile people in general!

    Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and benefit from the knowledge, experience, and resources within the FIGT members group. Always keep space at the table for others.

    You don’t need to figure out this international life all by yourselves. There is a welcoming community out there, the FIGT community, who can make you feel less alone and be your anchor as you navigate the foreign seas.

    Cover photo courtesy of Mariam Ottimofiore.

    You can learn more about Mariam in the Board Member bios section. She's keen to hear from members! Not a member yet but curious to find out what it entails? Learn more about membership.

  • 05 Nov 2019 12:03 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    American Psychologist, Expatriate Archive Centre, and Solebury School — all three sustain the globally mobile, cross-cultural community in their distinct ways. FIGT is lucky to have them as Silver Sponsors this year. 

    We are fortunate to have supportive sponsors and that has been particularly true when it comes to our Silver Sponsors this year. All three sustain the globally mobile, cross-cultural community, each in their own distinctly different ways.

    American Psychologist / Burdick Psychological and Placement Services, led by founder and adult Third Culture Kid Dr. Mark Burdick, is a family-based, concierge psychological services provider, consultancy, and education & program placement agency. Located in Amsterdam, and with four other offices registered in the EU, UK, and US, they serve families worldwide.

    The challenges faced by expat families are varied and sometimes daunting. Many of American Psychologist’s clients have youngsters with learning or emotional issues. Others are exceptionally bright and need a challenge or better educational fit. Still others grapple with addiction.

    Mark arranges for expert placement at treatment centers, while providing continuing support to these at-risk expat families during and after placement.

    The mission of the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) is to capture, chronicle and protect the life stories of expats and their families, from all backgrounds and from anywhere in the world.

    Located in The Hague, The Netherlands and independent since 2008, the EAC originally grew out of archival efforts by the Shell Corporation reaching back to the 1990s.

    EAC Director Kristine Racine – a previous president of FIGT – knows firsthand the natural connection between the two organizations.

    “We both believe in a need to provide better understanding of challenges faced by global families.”

    She indicated that the EAC would love to see more researchers using their archives.

    “We are also looking for ways to expand our collection, and are eager to get in touch with people who have documented their expatriate experiences and are willing to share them with us.”

    Solebury School, an American college-preparatory boarding and day school for grades 8-12 located north of Philadelphia, is committed to educating global citizens including students from other countries.

    In addition to attending to earn a full diploma, international students may choose from other options including programs for half-year, one-year, exchange, summer, English as a Second Language, university prep, and post-graduate study. The school also has an exciting initiative – The Solebury School Scholarship for Global Citizens.

    Solebury School came to FIGT by way of Jennifer Morrissey, Solebury’s Director of International Recruitment. Another adult Third Culture Kid, she used her cross-cultural child- and young adulthood to forge a varied career in secondary and higher education international recruitment, admissions, programming, and teaching.

    We sincerely appreciate the partnership each of our distinctive Silver Sponsors shares with FIGT and express our gratitude for their support!

    For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit our sponsorship page.

  • 01 Nov 2019 3:45 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    This month, we’re looking at “difficult times” in the many stages of a mobile life and “resilience” to get us through. We’ve dug through our archives and found some gems from our members.

    5 Things to Remember When Circumstances Overwhelm You

    By Norman Viss

    We’re all influenced by circumstances. And global citizens are often more aware of circumstances than those who remain in the routines of home. Contemplating Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl’s words in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Norman Viss offers five thoughts to help us cope with times when circumstances overwhelm us.

    Expat Life, Expat Death

    By Apple Gidley

    Losing our loved ones is never easy but when distance intervenes, too often the heartbreak is tainted with a sense of guilt. Apply Gidley’s tale of losing her father reflects a painful reality of expat life and expat death.

    The Real Stages of Moving Abroad

    By Naomi Hattaway

    The so-called four stages of post-move adjustment is fairly well known — but reality isn’t quite so tidy. One global nomad, Naomi Hattaway, tells us about the real stages of moving abroad!

    ¿Perdido en la incertidumbre? Ever Felt Lost in Uncertainty?

    By Paula Vexlir

    A Spanish-English bilingual post. Especially if you are moving for your spouse’s job, you may have the feeling that you cannot make decisions about your own life. But psychologist Paula Vexlir reminds us that — despite the uncertainties of expat life — each one of us has the ability to determine our own life directions and values.

    Expat Communication with Friends and Family...What We Really Mean by “Fine”

    By Rachel Yates

    One of the hardest things about relocating abroad is leaving dear friends and family behind. If you're finding it difficult to explain how conflicted life is as an expat, Rachel Yates has put together some pointers that you can share with those 'left behind.'

    SOS: Homesickness at Boarding School

    By Rebecca Grappo

    Your child at boarding school calls you to say they are unhappy. What should you do? Educational consultant Rebecca Grappo reassures parents not to panic. The first thing is to assess whether it’s a true crisis call or a reaching out for support, and then act accordingly.

    Reverse Culture Shock. Repatriation. Re-entry. Returning Home.

    By Lindy Chapman

    Moving back “home” is actually not unlike moving to a foreign country. So why is repatriation so hard?! Lindy explains how expectations have a lot to do with it and then provides eight practical tips to help you successfully anticipate and navigate the return “home.”

    The Dilemma of Belonging Everywhere, and Nowhere

    By Jonelle Hilleary

    How do expats grapple with the need to belong when we seem to belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time? Can we ever go “home”? Jonelle Hilleary ponders the question in the years after her repatriation.

    Interested in contributing to the blog for future themes? Small business and corporate members can submit up to three posts a year — submit your article here. Other members: if you have an idea please get in touch with blogeditor@figt.org to discuss.

  • 16 Oct 2019 6:53 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Whether it's your first time or your tenth, moving abroad can be challenging. What can help us get through those tough times? For October 2019, FIGT focuses on the theme of "Dealing with difficult times / resilience."

    Moving abroad can be daunting, challenging, enriching, and intimidating at the same time. This is true not only for first-timers but also applies for seasoned expats who have lived through the good and the bad before.

    There is ample evidence that difficult times can hit us all regardless of how often we have moved abroad. Previous expatriation experience might help in coping with difficult times only in so far as we learned to expect some rough patches (Lessle, 2019).

    While some researchers emphasize that moving abroad is a main stressor itself, difficult times can be triggered in various domains (McNulty et al., 2019). Our own mixed feelings about the move, health or family issues, organizational misunderstandings as well as environmental, cultural, or safety problems--any of these can trigger a crisis and test our limits.

    This month’s topic for FIGT’s content examines the difficult times in global mobility and how to develop resilience in order to master the challenges.

    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.


    • Lessle, A.D. (2019). The cognitive, affective, and behavioral adjustment of expatriate Spouses. A case study. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.
    • McNulty, Yvonne, Lauring, Jakob, Jonasson, Charlotte and Selmer, Jan, (2019), Highway to Hell? Managing expatriates in crisis, Journal of Global Mobility, 7, Issue 2, p. 157-180.

    (Items with * require FIGT member log-in.)

    From this month's social media

    • Difficult Times and Resilience: From the Archives
    • Interview videos*
      • Mindfulness 101 (Jodi Harris)

      • Emotional Resilience as a Cornerstone of Wellbeing (Linda Janssen)

      • How to Use Self-Compassion to Create a Sense of Home Inside Yourself (Dr Melissa Parks)

      • Managing a Health Condition Abroad (Carolyn Parse Rizzo)

      • What to Do and Helpful Steps to Take if Your Relationship Breaks Down (Katia Vlachos and Lucy Greenwood)

      • Supporting Global Teens: Insights from Two Practitioners (Dr Anisha Abraham and Kate Berger)

    Photo via Pixabay

  • 10 Oct 2019 11:15 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT welcomes our newest sponsor, Cross Border Financial Planning (CBFP)!

    Families in Global Transition knows the power of both word-of-mouth and our annual conference. Combined, they have brought us our newest Sponsor, Cross Border Financial Planning (CBFP).

    “I was first introduced to FIGT by The International Family Law Group,” explains Edward Cole of CBFP. “Having worked with David and Lucy for several years, they invited me to speak with them at FIGT 2019. That was the start of what led to be a very positive experience. ”

    Cross Border Financial Planning specializes in providing financial advice to globally mobile individuals. Their financial planning solutions provided take into account the tax, currency and legal implications of clients’ current country of residence, as well as past and future plans. They also have a trusted network of professionals across the world that they work with in areas such as tax advice, legal services, immigration advice and property finance.

    “CBFP started as a result of two factors, our skills specialising in this field and an interest from all partners to live and work abroad. Our focus has and always will be to provide financial advice to a large but often underserved group – globally mobile people. Our focus has been advising those moving to or from the UK, US and Australia. However, we’re excited to be working on a new investment service that will allow people across the world to invest tax efficiently in multiple currencies.”

    Edward participated in a Morning Forum panel on financial, legal and tax planning for the globally mobile. He also immersed himself in the conference experience, meeting fellow attendees and learning about the topics, trends and research findings affecting those living and working across cultures.

    “I always relish the opportunity to try something new, but that feeling is often balanced with the apprehension of not knowing what to expect and this was no different. It didn’t take long though to realise that this was a friendly and supportive group that engages with interesting topics not discussed elsewhere.”

    “Having started the weekend thinking, ‘I’m an imposter, I’ve haven’t lived in at least three different continents,’ I ended it believing that this was an exciting, informative and unique group made up of welcoming people from around the world.”

    What does Edward look forward to most at FIGT 2020 in Bangkok?

    “Reconnecting with members and likewise meeting new ones, participating in topic discussions that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to, listening and learning from different stories and viewpoints, and finally, starting the journey of CBFP being a part of FIGT. And the Thai food, of course.”

    “We are thrilled to be joining FIGT 2020 as a Silver sponsor.”

    We’re thrilled, too. We welcome Cross Border Financial Planning, thank them for their partnership, and look forward to seeing them in March at FIGT 2020!

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