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.

  • 05 Mar 2019 12:36 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Sarah Black, our current social media lead, wrote this piece on her return from FIGT2017, and it beautifully sums up how many of us feel about our first-ever Families in Global Transition conference. 

    One of the greatest challenge in the run up to any FIGT conference is explaining it's unique appeal to those who might not have been to one. Those of us who have had the joy of attending any of the conferences over the last two decades use phrases like "a roomful of friends we have yet to meet" "finding my tribe" and "an  overwhelming sense that I belonged".

    The difficulty is that those phrases might imply strong preexisting networks and community, when in reality, every single one of us felt nervous, awkward and often intimidated before we arrived.

    And each of us can retell the moment when those feelings were replaced by warmth, belonging and joy at being somewhere where we were understood, inspired and supported, no matter our background or experience.

    By Sarah Black

    Sometime around two weeks before I was due to fly out of Houston to attend the 2017 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference in The Hague, I began to wonder if I had made a terrible mistake.

    I had just started a new job, my first full time position in seven years, and there were deadlines looming on either side of my trip to The Hague. I hadn’t managed to post anything on my blog in weeks as I struggled to adjust to my new routine. And I couldn’t remember the last time I had spoken to another expat, other than my husband.

    The timing felt all wrong. I felt that I didn’t have anything to contribute to a group of globally savvy, experienced travelers. I was intimidated by the conference program. I wasn’t sure that I would fit in.

    I packed my bags with more apprehension than anticipation. I focused on the thought of spending two days in Amsterdam with an old friend rather than the conference just after it.

    To say that I need not have worried is an understatement. While the conference program boasts some of the most qualified, expert and erudite academics, entrepreneurs, writers and leaders in the expatriate and global nomadic world, it is much more importantly what we Irish would call ‘great craic’ (pronounced ‘crack’).

    Let me explain to you what the ‘craic’ is. It is notoriously hard to define but the essence of it that 'good craic’ is good conversation, light-hearted exchanges, occasional high spiritedness and in fairness, perhaps a wee glass of something alcoholic, though it is not an essential ingredient. To be able to have a bit of ‘craic’ with someone, there must be trust, a meeting of the minds and a recognition of another as a kindred spirit. It is the exchange of ideas; it is a bonding experience.

    It is something to look back upon fondly.

    The ‘craic’ is also personal – its whatever is going on with you; it is your story, it is your experience.

    And there is plenty of ‘craic’ to be had at FIGT. This is a place where everyone’s story is valid and accepted; where strangers become friends over the course of a single Kitchen Table session; where ideas are exchanged with enthusiasm, passion, and empathy. This is a place where big ideas are debated alongside the celebration of individual’s highly personal stories.

    It is a place where all of us who face the challenges of living in ‘global transition’ can talk freely about the anxieties, the fears as well as the opportunities and be not just heard but supported, emotionally and psychologically.

    As an expat and as a writer, FIGT is probably one of the safest spaces I’ve ever been in. I look back and realize that I missed opportunities because I didn’t fully anticipate the scale of the opportunity presented to me as an attendee.

    If you are reading this as a potential future attendee, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity and become part of the whole FIGT experience.

    I promise you, the craic is great.

    This article was originally published in Insights and Interviews from the 2017 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Conference – Building on the Basics: Creating Your Tribe on The Move (available through the FIGT bookstore).

  • 26 Feb 2019 9:25 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Some of the enduring themes that capture the cross-cultural experiences of FIGT members and our broader global community are transition, change, identity, stability, and growth. When these same topics are at the core of a long-time sponsor’s newest endeavor, and she chooses to share that news by not only renewing but increasing her sponsorship of FIGT, it is particularly exciting. We are thrilled to announce our newest Gold Sponsor: CrossBorder Living Institute, led by Jennifer Patterson.

    “As many of you know, for several years our advisory firm, Patterson Partners had the honor of sponsoring FIGT,” Jennifer said, sharing how discussions at several of FIGT’s annual conferences helped identify specific financial needs among the globally mobile. “During those years we were privileged to have plenty of robust conversations, many of which really helped highlight the gap that exists in the market between consumers who need access to solid information and resources, and the ability of regulated financial services firms to adequately serve in that gap.”

    “The models for today just don’t exist, particularly when it comes to roles, money, identity, and frankly, personal financial matters while living across borders,” she explained. “The stresses on families and relationships are increasing. The stresses that accompany making informed financial decisions among the dizzying array of advisor types, advisory compensation models, changing economies, changing tax rules, and rules that conflict with one another across borders are staggering. It’s no wonder that family units are breaking under it all.”

    “My solution to begin closing this gap was publication of my second book, Financial Planning for Global Living, which in many ways exposes the gap, and the creation of The Cross Border Living Institute. We want to make a difference to more people than we can in Patterson Partners.

    We created the Institute to start a conversation, provide access to the information that is otherwise hard to find, and help synthesize the information through a capstone program as well as resources including how to communicate about money and improve financial intimacy as a cross-border couple.”

    Jennifer knows firsthand the complexities of globally mobile life, having lived overseas more than half her life, and raised two tri-national kids with her dual-national husband.

    “We have learned so much, both living the life and working with clients one on one over the last few years. We’ve honed the model in the trenches and know that there is such a need for resources that help cross-border individuals, and couples in particular, navigate everyday issues, make an impact, and thrive today and sustain that into the future. ”

    FIGT appreciates the continued commitment of Jennifer Patterson to recognize the challenges and help make life easier for the globally mobile, and welcomes CrossBorder Living Institute as a Gold Sponsor.

    Take the International Finance Survey

  • 19 Feb 2019 8:39 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    “Attend, connect, hang out with a ‘community of strangers’-there really is

    nothing else quite like it.”

    (FIGT 2018 attendee)

    Are you a counselor or coach looking to attend FIGT this year?

    If you have not yet decided or are looking to find out more from a counselor’s perspective, here is Shellee Burroughs' personal FIGT story:

    In 2017 I finished working as an international school counselor and went from being the family ‘bread-winner’ in Malaysia to the ‘stay at home’ mum back in the UK. As a result, I then decided to attend FIGT 2018 in The Hague in order to connect and re-evaluate the next steps in my journey after a very difficult repatriation.

    Connecting with others could not have come at a better time for me. After spending time with counselors, coaches, other TCK parents and a huge variety of like-mind individuals, I realized that I had finally ‘found my people’. This resulted in my recognizing the importance and value of the changes I was experiencing and how I could utilize my unique skills as counselor and Art Psychotherapist within this incredible community and move forward from the paralysis of re-patriating without employment to self -employment within the globally mobile field.

    Are you a coach or counselor?

    2019 is an exciting new stage for FIGT as we will be meeting in South East Asia for the first time! This is a fantastic first for many coaches and counselors from the area who I know have been looking forward to this event and who are looking to connect with other like-minded people in Bangkok in April.

    So, what can I gain from attending?

    There are so many reasons, here are just a few:

    • Meet other professionals from the coaching and counseling profession and related fields.
    • Contribute your skills, experience and knowledge to the coaching & counseling field
    • Learn more about current developments and research in the globally mobile arena
    • Attend our first affiliate meeting and connect with other members.
    • Come and join the FIGT family.

    What are the specific benefits for counselors and coaches?

    Again, there is a long list, but professionally you will benefit from:

    • Connecting with other counselors and coaches
    • Learning about new approaches and developments relevant to the field
    • Developing exciting collaboration opportunities
    • Discovering and sharing exciting resources and ideas
    • Being on the cutting edge of new developments
    • Having access to an extensive knowledge base
    • Joining the Counseling and Coaching Affiliate and attending our first meeting
    • Professional networking opportunities
    • Continuing Professional Development

    On a personal level, you will also benefit from:

    • Counseling and coaching can be isolating at times, connecting and sharing with
    • others is extremely beneficial.
    • Be energized and reinvigorated by the conference itself.
    • Are you in transition? FIGT promotes connection which can really help
    • Making friends and professional connections for FIGT 20 and beyond
    • Returning home with a fresh outlook and great memories

    What sessions might be of interest specifically to counselors and coaches at #FIGT2019 this year? If you are interested in hearing more about developments in the field of identity from established pioneers in the field here are some sessions of particular interest:

    Day 1:

    Early Bird Forum:

    Meeting of the FIGT Counseling & Coaching Affiliate’ Daniela Tomer & Shellee Burroughs

    (This early bird forum is to gather as a group and connect as an affiliate for the first time. As a result, there is no presentation during this session).

    Panel Discussion:

    ‘FIGT: Reframing Traditional Approaches to Identity & Belonging’ Ruth Van Reken and Daniela Tomer

    Day 2:

    Early Bird Forum:

    ‘Counseling & Early Bird Forum on Emotional Support of Children in Global Transition’ Emilie Frijs Due & Pascale Paradis

    This session will consist of two presentations followed by an open discussion on best practices counseling children in a cross-cultural environment.

    Concurrent Sessions:

    If you are interested in learning more about a therapeutic art-based tool I have used for many years with the globally mobile, I will be presenting the following hands-on session:

    ‘Create an Island: A Hands-On Workshop Using This Art-Based Tool for Working with Globally Mobile Children, Adults & Professionals’ Shellee Burroughs

    Other concurrent sessions of potential interest for counselors and coaches include:

    ‘Surveying the Landscape: Common Practices, Challenges and Opportunities in International School Transition Support’ Ellen Mahoney

    ‘How to Prevent Your Relationship from Being Put to The Test When Your Life Is In Transition’ Sundae Schneider Bean

    Kitchen Table Conversation:

    Is Online the Future of Therapy for the Globally Mobile?’ Sonia Jaeger & Vivian Chiona

    Day 3

    As an Art Psychotherapist and supporter of the arts in therapy, I personally can’t wait to find out more about:

    ‘The Universal Language of Music and Role in Fostering Identity, Understanding & Connection’ Melissa Indot

    Take a look at the rest of the program -there are many other wonderful presentations, panels and discussions taking place over the three days of the conference.

    Why am I excited about attending FIGT in April?

    If it wasn’t for FIGT last year I would not have had the pleasure to have met Kelli, Tami and Jacqueline with whom I was approached by Daniela Tomer to help set up the first Counseling & Coaching Affiliate. Our first early bird meeting takes place this year and 2019 is already an exciting start for us as a new affiliate group because we started our ‘virtual coffee’ monthly zoom meetings in January. ‘Virtual Coffee’ has generated a great deal of interest and a growing affiliate group as a result which just illustrates the hard work and dedication of all involved.

    I am also looking forward to meeting people I met at FIGT in 2018 and also seeing old friends from South East Asia who I haven’t seen since leaving Kuala Lumpur. Hearing new speakers, meeting people with exciting ideas, random conversations in lifts, laughter over coffee with strangers-the list goes on and on. Come and connect with your global family. It is worth it on a multitude of levels and for a multitude of reasons and I really cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Shellee Burroughs is a Registered Art Psychotherapist and trauma specialist who repatriated to the UK from Malaysia in 2017 with her husband and two TCK children. She now runs 'Therapeutic Art Approach' courses and presentations to a wide variety of related groups (therapists, coaches, parents, staff etc) and is looking forward to presenting at FIGT in April.

  • 14 Feb 2019 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    We are very pleased to announce our second keynote speaker for the #FIGT2019 conference – Anita Kapoor. Anita’s keynote will focus on the concept of LEAD.

    TV presenter, writer, travel show host, emcee and international media celebrity, Anita knows what it means to live a global life. Born in India, Anita has spent most of her life in Singapore (the place she calls ‘home’) but both her professional and personal life continue to take her around the world and satiate her appetite for travel.

    Renowned for her ability to seek what lies beyond the obvious and discuss global yet personal issues such as feminism and death, Anita’s reflections are always exciting.

    A fierce advocate of individuality and a spokesperson for equality, Anita has learned to use her Third Culture Kid (TCK) status to her advantage. ‘It’s often when we feel that we’re on the periphery of things, of places, that we are granted a clearer sight in’ she explains.

    With that insight, and with the opportunities that travel and global living can bring, comes a sense of responsibility. ‘Being grateful is so important to me’, she says modestly. ‘Yes, I’ve had a charmed TCK life. I’ve also lived through challenges. But I believe that it’s through being grateful that we gain empathy’. One senses what Anita really means - without empathy, the global life lacks depth and meaning.

    Anita’s keynote will focus on recognising and accepting our individuality, and learning to become ‘enlightened stakeholders’ of wisdom and understanding. ‘I am not interested in applying labels and living in bubbles’ she explains, but instead will focus on the great opportunity that a global life can bring.

    Anita’s work continues to take her around the globe; between mid-February and #FIGT2019 in April, Anita will have spent time in India and Nepal. ‘Who knows how the next two months will change me and what more I will be able to bring to you’ she explains.

    One thing is certain, the keynote will be energising, inspiring and most probably challenging.

    For those who do not know Anita’s work, please see the links below.

    Further links

  • 13 Feb 2019 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Almost a year on since the launching of the new FIGT membership strategy, our membership has increased by 37%. We take this moment to reflect on our growth and invite you to share your thoughts.

    Since launching the new membership strategy at #FIGT18NL, we are pleased to share that we have witnessed at 37% increase in our members. Thank YOU to all the #FIGTMembers who continue to support the work we do by investing in us, and benefiting from the privileges we offer.

    More small businesses/non-profits members

    As you can see in the chart below, the new level we introduced in March in The Hague, that of ‘small businesses/non-profits’ has proven to be very popular. Welcome to all those who took the step to take advantage of this, and join our Public Directory - thus sharing with the globally mobile community the services, expertise and support you offer!

    A reminder though, to ensure you are ‘found’ we encourage you to login to your profile, ensure it is complete -- social media tags, key words -- and of course an image. For the latter, please contact admin@figt.org for support in adding an image.

    Active affiliates

    We also see an increasing number of events being organized by our affiliates in the last year -- FIGT is clearly hitting a mark, and making an impact.

    Did you know we have 10 affiliates across the world, and two thematic/virtual ones? Or, that FIGT membership is NOT required to participate in them? Check them out here. This is just one of the ways you can discover FIGT and the people who, like you, are drawn to it.

    Share your thoughts!

    With 261 members and counting, and more affiliate events being planned, what advice would you give to encouraging more individuals to join FIGT and be a part of our community?

    Share your thoughts with us by emailing them to membership@figt.org, or bring them to #FIGT2019 where we can discuss them further.

    Alternatively, share your thoughts within the FIGTMembers Group on Facebook where we can start a conversation among #FIGTMembers.

    Stay tuned for added #FIGTMember privileges leading up to #FIGT2019.

  • 12 Feb 2019 11:47 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We are delighted to feature submissions from our Member community, and today we are excited to share one by Carolyn Parse Rizzo, a longtime FIGT supporter, conference attendee and 2018 Conference Presenter.

    Many thanks to health psychologist Vivian Chiona, founder and director of Expat Nest, for her important contributions to this article.

    By Carolyn Parse Rizzo

    It can be extremely stressful when we or someone we love becomes ill abroad. As well as the (very normal) physical and mental turmoil of illness, we also find ourselves dealing with additional challenges that are unique to international life.

    At the 2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference in March, psychologist Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest) and I got together for a “Kitchen Table Conversation” on exactly this topic.

    Participants included missionaries, financial planners, educators, executives, researchers, writers, coaches, artists, and others within the international community. They were also parents of children with serious medical conditions, spouses to partners with a serious illness, or medical patients themselves. 

    Swiss, Canadian, Italian, Austrian, Australian, English, Israeli, American, African, Belgian, Taiwanese, and Dutch passport holders have all contributed to this ongoing discussion. 

    8 Common Concerns of Expats

    Below are eight common concerns that emerged from this fascinating discussion with expert expats and expat experts alike! In Part II of this article, we offer four overarching strategies that are packed with opportunities to get you through, or altogether avoid, these potential roadblocks.

    Participant Michael Watkins, an expat who experienced a life-threatening medical crisis while traveling in Switzerland, named the first three major challenges faced by expats and travelers who experience health issues. 

    1. Ignorance

    In the true sense of the word, many expats and travelers, have little, if any, knowledge or information about the local healthcare system until they are faced with a crisis. The process, coverage, and payment protocols differ greatly from country-to-country, but we often make assumptions that our healthcare experiences will be similar to those in our native country (or our last country of residence).

    Regardless of the outcome, assumption and lack of knowledge add undue stress to an already stressful situation.

    One mother described a scenario where she made daily trips to the ATM machine in the hospital where her preschooler was admitted. Every day, she'd withdraw the maximum, thinking she would have to pay thousands for her child's five day hospital stay. Her husband was out of town. She'd been studying the language, but it wasn't enough to understand the process.

    In the end, she was charged only 60 euros, the price of her meals while accompanying her child.

    Though this was a welcome and pleasant surprise, her own assumption and lack of knowledge caused needless anxiety.

    2. Insurance, Financial Burden

    The wrong insurance (or no insurance) can lead to a personal financial crisis. Those who have been through a medical crisis abroad, stress the importance of understanding the host country's local medical coverage and how it interacts with private insurance carriers, including medevac coverage and pre-existing conditions. 

    An American couple traveled all over Europe believing they were covered by Medicare. After one sustained a serious bicycle accident, broken bones, head injury, and week-long hospitalization in Italy, they learned that Medicare did not cover them outside the United States.

    While they were not denied care, the stress of trying to navigate how they would pay these international bills while also figuring out how to transport her seriously injured husband home for surgery (where it was surely covered) was overwhelmingly stressful.

    Another traveler described the financial barrier he and his wife faced in Spain when "the hospital demanded upfront payment for most of the cost" of a surgery and hospitalization after he sustained a fall.

    In this case, they were covered by insurance, but were forced to use credit cards at admission and would not be reimbursed for some time, causing a period of financial hardship. Additional room and board costs were not covered.

    Sometimes you get lucky like Watkins who explained how he learned, after the fact, that his private insurance covered not only his private room, but higher quality medical equipment, medicines, and food during his lengthy hospitalization in Switzerland. This detail varies from country-to-country as well.

    3. Isolation

    Almost everyone described the sense of isolation and lack of support they felt being far from a personal and professional support system. Whether alone for weeks in a stark hospital room, recuperating at home as a single, without the support of close friends or family, or posted in a remote area, far from quality facilities, isolation can be a major obstacle to recovery. 

    Lack of emotional and logistical support (e.g. like someone to collect kids from school, run household errands, or cook) contributes to this sense of isolation. Without a close support network, individuals and families dealing with a medical crisis abroad can feel unmanageable stress and fatigue, decreasing their ability to cope, make decisions, or maintain a positive outlook.

    In addition to the challenges born out of Ignorance, Insurance, and Isolation, issues related to Trust, Communication, Overwhelm, Parenting, and Pain also came up in our Kitchen Table Conversation. While several of these may be true for anyone facing a health crisis, we agree that it is the interplay between them amplifies the overall challenge, creating a unique experience for expats in this arena.

    4. Communication

    Or rather, miscommunication, or misunderstandings with healthcare providers due to a language barrier or cultural differences in communication styles and expectations is a real roadblock. Even routine check-ups and screenings can be put off or missed altogether.

    For some, these misunderstandings lead to a general mistrust of the medical system, itself. Once this has happened, it can be hard to reconcile, to return to the same system when a need arises again.

    5. Mistrust

    Trust can be difficult to cultivate when communication is a struggle, but when a patient's symptoms are not believed or validated, or where a misdiagnosis occurs, a patient is left to suffer both physically and psychologically, as described by more than one participant.

    When a patient is empowered and knows themselves well, not being believed, heard or helped when they are suffering is even more maddening.

    There could be a cultural or individual bias at play and the solution may be as easy as switching primary care physicians or specialists, but overcoming mistrust of an entire medical culture is a heavy burden for those who must continue to engage with the system.

    6. Overwhelm and Indecision

    Some described a sense of paralyzing overwhelm when they received news of a new diagnosis; a long list of tasks to complete within a limited time-frame, under stress, not knowing how or where to begin.

    This feeling can lead to indecision or the "freeze" stress response in which no action is taken whatsoever. 

    Another version of overwhelm is "analysis paralysis" where the person who must make the medical decision becomes overwhelmed by all the information and possible pathways, becoming stuck and unable to move forward.

    7. Complex Parenting 

    There are a myriad of scenarios that make parenting more challenging when there is a health crisis in a family. If one parent must split time between hospital visits and home routines, but they are lacking social-emotional support themselves, stress levels rise even higher. Finding time to recharge seems nearly impossible.

    If it is a parent who is injured or ill, children may also need extra emotional support at a time when the parents’ emotional reserves are low. It may be overwhelming to think about how to talk to the children about what's happening or to know how much to share.

    If the child is the patient, there are often social-emotional and scholastic implications that arise, in addition to the physical issues. Depending upon where the family is based, there may not be access to necessary medical care or support services. A career may be cut short, siblings lives suddenly up-heaved.

    A couple of parents described hasty departures and medevac rides, uprooting in search of a posting that could support their family's well-being.

    8. Pain and Discomfort 

    Anyone who has experienced acute or chronic pain, understands how it can dominate everything else listed here. Aside from learning how to survive and thrive physically, patients and their loved ones reported feelings of guilt, self-blame, doubt, sense of loss, grief, anxiety/depression, hopelessness, helplessness, and fear.

    How human pain (both physical and psychological) is interpreted and treated varies widely between cultures. Some cultures medicate for every ache, while others hold off on pharmaceuticals. Some systems provide substantial patient support services, while others provide only essential medical care. Non-pharmaceutical pain management options may be suggested, but no coaching provided on how to implement them.

    Finally, mental health is not always covered by the local system and if it is, it may be difficult to find a local therapist in one's native language. Culturally, the role of a psychiatrist may be primarily to prescribe medications without therapy and monitoring, so those seeking both may feel like they're falling through the cracks.

    If you are considering seeking professional support, working with a professional coach or psychologist online or via telephone is another option. There are virtual "offices" where you are invited to express and explore your thoughts and feelings about your health journey, develop coping strategies and ultimately experience more satisfaction, peace, joy, and vitality in your life. 

    A Certified Child Life Specialist can support you, your children, and teens through a medical event or illness by helping you design an effective coping plan and providing age-appropriate explanations of diagnoses and medical procedures. 

    What would you add to this list of challenges? What insights do you have for crossing cultures with a medical condition? 

    Continue on to Part II, where we explore strategies and solutions to some of these challenges, as well as unexpected opportunities.

    Carolyn Parse Rizzo is a Certified Child Life Specialist and life coach for global families facing health challenges and change. She hosts a quarterly Vibrant Women's Circle for expat women in Northern Italy where she lives with her cross-cultural family. www.intervallifecoach.com

  • 09 Feb 2019 5:21 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It’s been a busy time for #FIGTMembers with news hitting various newsfeeds.

    #FIGTScholar, Jessica Sanfilippo-Schulz, featured on the Leeds University news site. The article described the Pollock Scholarship and FIGT and congratulated Jessica on being awarded the Scholarship. We add our congratulations and look forward to meeting you in Bangkok Jessica, and thank you for sharing the FIGT story with Leeds University.

    Congratulations too to #FIGTMember Chris O’Shaughnessy and his bride Joy who were married in January – and invited everyone to join them in a FB Live event. That’s the way TCKs can include all their global friends in such a special event.

    Another heart-warming event that we heard about via FB was from #FIGTMember, and previous Social Media Lead for FIGT, Lillian Small, who had a baby girl. She looks so lovely, Lillian – congratulations.

    Back to romantic relationships, #FIGTMember, Mariam Ottimofiore and her husband Martino, were recently video interviewed by Fuschia Magazine about their 12-year marriage. Titled How A German Fell For A Pakistani Girl... they discuss cross cultural relationships.

    There was much interest on FB as #FIGTMember Vivian Chiona announced the launch of the Greek website of Expat Nest. It’s great to see such valuable resources available in another language.

    Jo Parfitt, #FIGTMember and recently announced Keynote Speaker for #FIGT2019, announced the publication of the 2018 FIGT Conference book. Many #FIGTMembers contributed to this book and news of its publication was welcomed by many as a permanent record of the presentations from the conference in The Hague.

    If you are an #FIGTMember and have news you’d like to share with us please let us know.

  • 08 Feb 2019 11:28 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transitions is pleased to announce that our longtime senior-level supporter, the International Family Law Group, is once again returning this year as a Gold Sponsor.

    For the past several years, IFLG Partners David Hodson and Lucy Greenwood have been active members and participants in FIGT: sponsoring our annual conferences where they stay abreast of the topics, trends, and research affecting people living across cultures; getting to know fellow attendees and what is happening in their expatriate/cross-cultural communities; presenting on international family legal issues; and, when travel opportunities allow, speaking at FIGT Affiliate events.

    IFLG’s mission is to inform, educate and advise families about complex international family law matters so that they can be aware of and better prepare for the potential legal implications of international moves should relationships run into difficulties. Their work covers all legal aspects of complicated personal relationships and family breakdown from marital agreements, including jurisdiction, divorce, finances and post-divorce financial claims, recognition of marriages and divorces granted in different countries, enforcement of orders abroad, child arrangements, court orders for moving abroad when one parent does not provide consent, paternity declarations, child abduction, adoption, surrogacy, and more.

    With their stature in the international family law arena, IFLG can build tailored packages of professional advice for their clients wherever and whenever needed. “We have a considerable international contact base in this regard,” David explains. “We travel to conferences abroad and are frequently invited to lecture on international family law topics. This also enables us to keep abreast of family law developments and trends around the world.”

    So why does IFLG continue to sponsor the FIGT organization? David and Lucy offer three compelling reasons, the first of which is that FIGT’s families and those whom they know in the international community are their target audience and primary clients.

    Secondly, Lucy believes sponsoring “shows our client base and beyond that we are mindful of tailoring our work to international families' needs. The number of clients and other professionals with international lifestyles, whom I mention FIGT to, is growing and they are all receptive and thankful to hearing about the organisation and to know that there is a resource where they can learn about the experiences of others who have lived through similar scenarios.”

    Finally, for IFLG it comes back to the vision and belief which caused them to set up their practice. As David notes, “We are a major player in the international family community, and being such a major player carries responsibilities, which means encouraging those working and supporting that community.”

    Welcome back David, Lucy and the entire team at IFLG!

  • 27 Jan 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    We’re excited to announce our first keynote speaker for the #FIGT2019 conference – Jo Parfitt. 

    Jo has been a friend and stalwart supporter of FIGT for many years. She is the operational half of the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency Program, which has nurtured writers at Families in Global Transition Conferences from 2014 to 2018.

    Jo knows and understands global transitions from many years of personal experience.  Over 31 years she has lived in seven different countries. She has spent much of that time writing and helping others to write their global stories. Personally, Jo has written 32 books and as a mentor and publisher she has worked with over 200 authors to help them write and publish their own stories.

    We asked Jo about her upcoming keynote in Bangkok and she shared that it was the theme this year that spoke to her.

    “The moment I learned of the conference theme – Connect. Lead. Change. - I just knew I had to attend. My three decades abroad in seven countries, during which I have been determined to create, maintain and grow my portable career as a writer, publisher and author's mentor, have been characterized by all elements of Connect, Lead, Change.” 

    Jo told us she was delighted to be offered the chance to present a keynote focusing on Connect. 

    “Connecting is about so much more than the obvious – networking; building a tribe. To me it is about 'joining the dots', finding links between the disparate parts of our lives, personalities and stories and not only making sense of who we were, are and will become but how best to communicate that.

    As a writer, of course my chosen medium for expression is the written word and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with the FIGT community in a plenary session."

    We are thrilled that Jo will be presenting and are very much looking forward to this keynote.

    For those who may not be familiar with Jo’s work here are some of her books and websites you might like to explore further.





  • 17 Jan 2019 10:07 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    The Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) has collaborated with Families in Global Transition over the last few years in various ways, and this year we are delighted to introduce them as a new Silver Sponsor for the FIGT2019 annual conference in Bangkok.

    The EAC appeared first in the form of Shell’s Outpost Family Archive in 2003 to continue the work started by the Shell Ladies Project in the 1990s. The Archive became independent in 2008, and was renamed as the Expatriate Archive Centre, with the mission to capture, chronicle and protect the life stories of expats and their families from all backgrounds and from anywhere in the world.

    We spoke to Kristine Racina, EAC Director - and immediate past president of FIGT - to learn more about the Centre’s journey with FIGT. The Centre was introduced to FIGT by Jo Parfitt, formerly a co-Director of the EAC and a longtime champion of FIGT. Members of the Centre’s staff have attended FIGT conferences in 2014, and 2016-2018.

    Kristine experienced her first FIGT conference in 2014, presenting a lightning session about the EAC. The connections made at that conference led to Kristine collaborating with Vivian Chiona and Kate Berger - both currently serving on the FIGT Board of Directors - to form the the FIGT Netherlands Affiliate. All three were instrumental in supporting the FIGT conference moving to The Netherlands in 2016, and also being held there the next two years.

    “There is a natural connection between the EAC and FIGT,” Kristine said, explaining the synergy between the two organizations. “We both believe in a need to provide better understanding of challenges faced by global families.”

    When asked how FIGT conference attendees and members can contribute to the EAC’s valuable work, Kristine offered a few ideas.

    “We would love to see more researchers using our 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.”

    Just as FIGT warmly welcomes the Expatriate Archive Centre as a Silver Sponsor, we invite readers to share their stories with both the EAC and FIGT, because all our stories are important.

Site Search:

Mailing address:
Families in Global Transition

C/o Campbell Rappold & Yurasits LLP
1033 S Cedar Crest Blvd
Allentown, PA 18103


+1 (703) 634-7400
Skype: figt.administrator

© Families in Global Transition, Inc.