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.

  • 14 Apr 2021 8:38 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    “Becoming a microcosm of the world, for the world. It’s not a matter of you fitting into FIGT, it’s a matter of you belonging here,” says Nominations Director and intercultural training consultant Megan Norton as she reflects on FIGT2021.

    FIGT 2021 Report, Becoming a Microcosm of the World, for the World: Reflecting on FIGT2021

    Reporting by Megan Norton

     

    It’s not a hyperbole that FIGT is becoming a microcosm of the world. As the organization grows, shifts, multiplies, and welcomes new sectors, languages, demographics, research, and interests, there are increasingly more action steps and initiatives to expand, champion diversity, and commit to inclusion.

    FIGT2021 was my fifth FIGT conference. I distinctly remember Ruth Van Reken’s keynote address at the 2016 conference in the Netherlands (the first conference outside of the United States since inception in the early 1990s). She said the commitment of FIGT’s members has always been — and continues to be — to enlarge the “FIGT tent.” 

    The tent analogy is appropriate as our FIGT membership community has become more diverse, global, and cross-sector than ever before. The tent analogy resonates with so many of us who have had our own “tents” or “communities” or “homes” that we have repeatedly packed up and pitched elsewhere in the world. The FIGT “tent” stakes continue to be moved further and further apart as we offer resources, story-telling, research, and most importantly: community. 

    It’s not a matter of stretching the fabric of the tent; it’s a matter of stitching in more fabric, as the community contributes to the quilted mosaic of stories, research, experiences, perspectives, and patterns — all welcomed and weaved together in a safe place. 

    One FIGT2021 conference participant wrote in the virtual platform chat box about the conference sessions: “There's so much value in sharing and fostering spaces where people can talk about the alternative perspective.” I couldn’t agree more as our FIGT “tent” is about our stories and perspectives being pieced together and seen together. 

    One is not on top of the other. One is not in front of the other. We are a tapestry of cultures with our complex identities, dreams, passions, and commitment to enlarge our community.

    One of the common descriptions of FIGT conferences is “the Reunion of Strangers.” Personally, I have experienced this at each one I’ve attended. I was a little apprehensive about how this would translate virtually this year, but I was not disappointed in the least. 

    From the conference platform features to the various community rooms, and from the presentation formats to the people who reached out through the chat boxes and direct messaging, there were ample opportunities and invitations to (re)connect, (un)learn, listen, and feel a sense of belonging in each virtual space. I think I shorted the exclamation mark on my keyboard as I overused it to communicate how enthusiastic, grateful, and honored I was to be both reunited and introduced to conference participants.

    One of the most impactful takeaways I have from the conference comes from Danau Tanu’s keynote address on Day 3 of the conference. Titled “It’s a Two-Way Street,” the premise of the speech centered on heightening one’s own self-awareness for biases and blindspots when interacting across cultures. 

    Every one of us has the responsibility to take ownership for our actions and our potential to bridge differences by making the effort to meet others “in the middle.” Her personal stories of how she wrestled with the judgments she made about “others” and then reconciled how she championed truth over assumption-making provided a model and compassionate invitation for us to look deeply and authentically at ourselves and how we treat others.

    Because of Danau’s courageous modelling, I was prompted to reach out to a community member with whom I knew I had some unresolved tension with. To be honest, I was not happy that she was in the FIGT virtual tent this year and I had to lean into the discomfort of reaching out to reconcile. I took steps to meet her in the middle. And I am grateful that she took steps to meet me there.

    I’ve wondered if we had had this conference in person this year, what those steps may have looked like or if I would have had the courage to even take them. I’ve wondered if our paths would have even crossed at an in-person conference. This year’s virtual “tent” allowed me to find her, see where she was in it, and gave me access to meet her privately and directly.

    This year, we used the social media hashtag “OURFIGT.” At one point during the live conference I wanted to use the hashtag “MYFIGT” because I identify so much with the values, mission, and vision of FIGT. But “OURFIGT” recognizes and respects that we are a community committed to welcoming, inviting, reconciling, and growing.

    One of my favorite community rooms during the conference was the TCKs of Asia one. Prior to the conference start, a few of the TCKs of Asia leaders reached out to me to ask if I’d like to moderate some of the community room time slots. My initial reaction was, “I’m not a TCK of Asia. I’m not Asian. I can’t be a community room facilitator.” 

    But the leaders said, “Megan you are a TCK of Asia. You don’t have to be Asian or look Asian to be a part of the leadership. In fact, that’s the point of community rooms; to be inclusive of who may not look or sound or be ‘like’ us. You’re a TCK of Asia because you lived in South Korea and in Japan when you were a child.” 

    I loved meeting other TCKs of Asia who looked different from me, shared their different experiences, and celebrated both our likenesses and differences. For them to affirm parts of my identity that I hadn’t acknowledged or respected in so long was a gift of belonging and acceptance. There were several moments of deep joy, pain, celebration, and gratitude shared together in that virtual space. I felt whole and seen. I felt understood.

    I have found that FIGT conference experiences can be both messy and magical. We need more spaces and places like FIGT conferences for us to show up as authentically and vulnerability as we do in this community.

    We are FIGT, a group of individuals who are committed to gently, passionately, and wisely move the world as it is to what it should be. In the words of one of our founding mothers, Ruth Van Reken: “It matters that you are here. And it matters that we are here.” 

    I invite you to come into “our tent” where our cords stretch and the walls aren’t rigid. Come with an open heart and an open mind. It’s not a matter of fitting into FIGT, it’s a matter of you belonging here.


    Megan Norton is an intercultural training consultant, facilitator, and researcher focused on supporting cross-cultural families. Her expertise as an intercultural trainer combined with her experience in international education enables her to design socio-emotional and educational programming tailored to globally mobile families and youth. Growing up as a US diplomat dependent, she lived in six countries and has lived in four more as an Adult Third Culture Kid, in addition to five US States. Megan is host and producer of “A Culture Story” — a podcast which focuses on cultural identity, belonging, and purpose. Her website is www.adultthirdculturekid.com.


  • 11 Apr 2021 9:15 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families choose to raise their children bi- or multilingually, but the paths they take are unique to each. Blog Editor Ema Naito-Bhakdi reflects on the FIGT2021 session by Diana Limongi and Elizabeth Greninger on “How Languages Help Communities Embrace Differences.”

    [FIGT2021 Report] Language, Family and Identity: Parents Share Their Bilingual Education Journeys

    Reporting by Ema Naito-Bhakdi


    I’m an adult third culture kid (ATCK) raising three cross-cultural kids (CCK) who speak four languages to varying degrees. So you can imagine the topic of raising multilingual kids is close to my heart and with what great interest I tuned in to the session with Diana Limongi and Elizabeth Greninger, who shared how their families set about to ensure their children grow up speaking multiple languages.


    Diana: Bilingual parents passing down their language and cultures

    Diana grew up bilingually with English at school, Spanish at home. Her situation was one that I could identify with. She lives in New York with her French spouse, and they are raising their children in three languages. Their hope is that their children would have the languages to build a strong connection with their Spanish- and French-speaking grandparents. 

    Diana and her husband mostly use the popular “one person, one language” approach, where Diana speaks only in Spanish with their children, and her husband, only French. Diana’s Spanish-speaking parents live in the same building as the family, which gives the children daily exposure to Ecuadorian language and culture, and the children are attending a Spanish-English bilingual school. It seemed like a great and enviable setup.


    Elizabeth: Monolingual parents raising their children bilingually

    The possibility of exposing children to their heritage languages is a common issue for couples who already bring languages other than English to the mix. But Elizabeth and her spouse grew up monolingually in English.

    When Elizabeth and her husband relocated to Mexico for work, they decided to immerse themselves in the Mexican community and to send their young children to a local Spanish-speaking school. That way, they figured, the children would grow up speaking Spanish natively and learning Mexican culture, while Elizabeth, an educator, would teach the children English at home. 


    The nexus of language, identity, and family

    The piece of Elizabeth’s story that made me wonder was how her children — native Spanish speakers whose parents come from English-speaking American backgrounds — will come to identify themselves as they enter adolescence, especially if they move away from Mexico at the end of the parents’ work assignment.

    Clearly, Elizabeth is thinking about this. “We've tried to foster that American identity in our home so that [the children] recognize and realize that they are bicultural. And that even though they're living here in Mexico and embracing that in so many ways through their school and their community experiences, that they still have the identity of Americans,” she says.

    The nexus of language, identity and family connection was something I’d been pondering since the TCKs of Asia had a forum on the hidden losses of language and intimacy in October 2020. It’s an issue that I’m grappling now with my own children.

    Language isn’t just a skill, I’ve learned; it is a defining element of our relationship with our parents and families and our identities.

    My entire relationship with my children so far has been built on the Japanese language, even though I don’t wholly identify as Japanese. So how do I open up my English-speaking self and world to my Japanese-speaking children? And how will speaking more English with their mom affect their own mixed-race, multinational, multilingual identities?

    Of course, no family knows exactly how their children will come to see themselves when they grow up outside of their parents’ “home” culture, between multiple cultures and languages. 

    I certainly have no clue. It’s a living experiment. And as with any parent, we try our best and hope for the best because we believe that the gift of language is the key to enriching our children’s lives.


    A tough journey

    The part of the session that I appreciated the most was Diana and Elizabeth acknowledging that this journey was tough. 

    “Sometimes, because we grew up speaking the language, we think it'll be a piece of cake and then we realize, Oh, it's actually not. … So one of the challenges is definitely commitment: you have to have a plan and seek people that are in this journey, but also know that there are going to be ups and downs,” says Diana. 

    Pointing out that we may also feel isolated on this journey, especially when living away from our home countries, Elizabeth reminds us: “It's like a marathon, it's not a sprint.”

    I hope that they and many others like them, like us, will keep the exploration going, to unpack the link between languages, family, culture, and identity.

    Because at the root, I join Diana and Elizabeth in the belief that growing multilingual families is a cause worth striving for.

    In Elizabeth’s words:

    We encourage you to be bold and brave in your decision to raise bilingual kids. There are certainly going to be challenges. … But we can attest to the rewards and the gifts that your family will receive by making this decision.



    Adult TCK Ema has found her volunteering “home” on the FIGT Comms team as blog editor. Based in Bangkok, she is an independent scholarly editor who enjoys classical singing and blogging about raising three cross-cultural, multilingual kids.

  • 08 Apr 2021 4:11 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Long-time FIGT volunteer Anna Svedberg was nervous to attend her first FIGT Conference. But much to her relief and delight, she found herself welcomed into the family at FIGT2021.

    [FIGT2021 Report] Welcome to the Family: My First FIGT Annual Conference - mosaics

    Reporting by Anna Svedberg


    I was giddily excited for my first FIGT annual conference and a little bit nervous. I've volunteered for FIGT for the past 8 years and have been involved in annual conference preparations before. So I definitely felt the excitement with the sneak peeks on social media regarding sponsors, presenters and attendees and putting together my own schedule. 

    However, I was a bit nervous because even though I am an international adoptee and third culture kid, I have repatriated back to my passport country for quite a few years now. I was afraid that I wasn't global or international enough for the close-knit FIGT family. Needless to say, my fears were unfounded — as I soon found out.


    Welcome to the family!

    I was happy to find out that FIGT had decided to add events a week before the official start of the conference. I loved listening to the welcome video and different personal stories — such a diverse and welcoming group of people we are! I also loved the virtual conference platform where I could easily read about and connect with fellow attendees before the conference and could tell each other which presentations to listen to and our takeaways from them. 

    It truly felt like a family affair and my nervousness melted away once I attended the Welcome Circle (what an amazing idea to give a warm welcome to new and returning attendees!) with fellow attendees, FIGT volunteers and regulars (Hi Maryam + Jo!:)), as well as the legendary and inspirational Ruth Van Reken. I also watched the wonderful welcome video (Hi Flor, Sarah + Tanya!:)).

    I listened to fellow attendees tell their unique globally mobile stories and was awestruck that they were equally as nervous as I was. “Would they be accepted into the wonderful FIGT family? Would they feel a sense of belonging where they don't usually feel they belong?” I felt the same unease.

    Of course it was unfounded, as everyone of us have our own take on the globally mobile lifestyle, whether in our own passport country, in between worlds shifting country to country for work, love or any other reason, or semi-permanently in one country. Every story and person has a welcome place in the ever expanding FIGT family. 


    My FIGT2021 takeaways

    I am still trying to catch up with Presentations, Keynotes and Forums by our wonderful FIGT family — so many interesting and engaging topics and unique stories to convey! 

    Here are some of the important takeaways for myself that I hope you also will appreciate:


    Exploring the Space Between Breaths with Carolyn Parse Rizzo was an amazing guided breathing and for me meditation session that I had to stop tapping away on my keyboard and really listen to. It was such a welcome break for me that day.

    The world now is more reachable and global nowadays with endless Zoom and Teams meetings and support services open 24/7 — not just if you are in a different time zone but if you are unexpectedly working late or early one day along with the endless activities and commitments outside of work and family obligations everyone has. 

    This much-needed breathing break made me just stop and breathe to come back to, and rest faithfully in, my own inner strength and calmness so I could go about the rest of my day with renewed energy. 


    Day 3 Keynote Presentation: It’s a Two-Way Street by Danau Tanau was a true wake-up call for me as well, as she discussed structural racism and the profound effect it had on one of her friendships. I was struck by the openness and urgency with which Danau so thoughtfully and sincerely spoke about her experiences. 

    Structural racism is a hard topic to discuss but none the less important for us adults to openly speak about. How can we empower individuals to speak out on it? How can we discuss it with children in a constructive way so that we minimize structural racism in the future? 

    I certainly would have benefited from talking about it while growing up. Teachers and other adults were adamant in saying that everyone is welcome and to be kind to one another. But what happens if you as a child encounter structural racism outside of a family or school environment? It's therefore important that even children learn tools to use when encountering structural racism.


    Vertical Development Transformation: Turning the (CCK) Pieces into a Mosaic by Peter Ransom was also an eye-opener for me. Peter discussed how he (please forgive me if I get this wrong from your presentation!) had to go back to his multicultural childhood and embrace his global background to find an inner purpose in his life and therefore in his professional life as well. 

    As a third culture kid, I have read a lot about unresolved grief that can come as a result of a country- or school-hopping childhood without time to reflect on the actual move and embrace the different tapestries or mosaic pieces, as Peter calls them, that make us up as individuals. 

    Unresolved grief is one part of it; another is embracing all our different parts or mosaic pieces from our transient life overseas to build a healthy sense of self. Once we can do that, we can find inner purpose and the compass to steer our life in the direction that we want, for our personal and professional lives.


    Thank you so much!

    I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year's FIGT Annual Conference. It was a life-changing experience for me. I can rest easy on the fact that we can feel accepted as part of the FIGT family, no matter our different mosaic pieces or globally mobile life experiences. 

    The openness and transparency of the conference also opened my eyes to the urgency and need for more and deeper discussions regarding structural racism. And I am forever grateful for the continued conversations that we attendees are already having and will continue to have in post-conference Zoom calls and Lobby chats. 

    I already look forward to next year's conference, whether virtual or in person, and what topics will be discussed . Maybe, just maybe, I will be brave enough to talk about topics close to my heart too, such as international adoptees, repatriation and the globally mobile life. 

    Until then, stay safe, and I hope you have been enticed to participate in FIGT2022!


    Anna Svedberg is a Swedish repatriated adult Third Culture Kid. She is a social media volunteer for FIGT and a staffing consultant for multinational clients. She loves writing children’s stories on themes such as TCKs and international adoption. Anna was adopted from India by Swedish parents and was lucky enough to grow up in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In normal times, she and her family frequently travel back to childhood stomping grounds to visit family friends, as well as for some sun and warmth during the winter months! 

    Anna would love to collaborate with you on projects close to her heart: international adoption, repatriation, and globally mobile families. FIGT members can find her in the Member Directory for Members Only (log-in needed).

  • 01 Apr 2021 9:25 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    This year, FIGT is inviting 2021 conference presenters to display their conference materials in a fun, attractive, easy to understand ePoster on the FIGT website.

    call for e-poster submissions from FIGT2021 presenters

    What is an ePoster?

    An ePoster is a digital poster that captures an audience with its message. Although they began as useful tools in research-heavy fields like medicine, they are becoming a popular medium for displaying information in a variety of subjects. 

    An ePoster speaks for itself; the presence of its author is not necessary. It is therefore possible to reach a broader audience. 

    According to Lauren Power, Research Fellow and Graduate Student at the University of Tokyo, “[e]Posters create a kind of visual platform for dialogue that can cut across specializations, and I believe that kind of conversation is what FIGT can help facilitate”.

     

    Benefits of ePosters

    Ruth van Reken, co-founder of FIGT and co-author of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds, says:

    “Surely one of the great deficiencies for so many wanting to see what has already been published is not having an official point place to see what has already gone on.” 

    The FIGT conference has always strived to provide this “point place.” We hope that by using ePosters, we can better showcase the work of the FIGT presenters and community.

    Presenters who are not researchers or those who have not yet published their work can design and share their ePoster as a precursor to publication. 

    ePoster designs are adaptable and as varied as the topics they cover. 

    FIGT2021 keynote speaker and author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School Danau Tanu sees the sharing of ePosters as a great idea, as the ePosters “would be something that is visually appealing for non-researchers.”

    The ePosters from FIGT 2021 will be available on the FIGT website. We envision this as one step for the FIGT website to develop into a one-stop-hub for anyone who needs reliable, researched, and/or practical information about the wide-range of topics addressed at the conference.


    Which FIGT2021 presenter may submit an ePoster? 

    • Any FIGT 2021 Conference presenter can submit an ePoster

    • Researchers can make an ePoster of their work at any stage of their research (whether it is a literature review, a methodology, a thought-provoking hypothesis, or a summary of their published work). 

    • FIGT affiliates can create an ePoster to show the demographic profile of their specific country/area of focus.

    • Counselors or coaches can contribute their best practices, based on their experience. 

    • Book authors can highlight the content of their books and share reviews. 

    • International schools can show their efforts to support student transitions. Teachers can share methods to ensures a good academic experience for the TCK.

    • Companies can share their HR effort to ensure the well-being of their expat employees. 


    If you are a FIGT 2021 Conference presenter and you are interested in submitting an ePoster, please read the poster criteria, formatting, and submission guidelines.

    The deadline for FIGT2021 submissions is August 31, 2021.


    For questions about submitting an e-poster, you can email researchandeducation@figt.org.

  • 20 Feb 2021 12:08 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    When you grow up in countries outside of your passport country, the difficulties of repatriation can blindside you. Adult TCK Jessi Vance reminds TCKs to dip into your TCK superpowers to get through that transition.


    By Jessi Vance

    I could swear in three other languages before I learned the same words in my “passport” language. While a fun party trick now, in my international middle school this was as normal as eating a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich with chopsticks. Which may sound far from normal if you’ve never met a Third Culture Kid (TCK), but for us it was entirely commonplace. 

    Third Culture Kids are a blend of the countries they have inhabited during their developmental years and for my U.S.-born, Uzbekistan-raised thirteen-year-old self, I had lived more of those in my host countries. 

    I was entering seventh grade the year my parents decided to spend some significant time in what they called our “home” country. American was what I learned from L.L. Bean catalogs and Little House on the Prairie reruns. American was the jars of peanut butter we kept stashed away and the smell of my grandmother’s closet. American was a title I clung to when I felt out of place in the country I called “home” — Uzbekistan — different from the country my parents identified with. 

    A Foreigner at “Home”

    America was more foreign to this cross-cultural kid than jostling with brightly colored shoulders that shunned the need for Western deodorant in a bazaar overflowing with cumin dust, smoked sage, and fresh bread. America was as strange as wearing seat belts and putting ice in drinks. 

    However, no one mentioned this to me. Instead, I joined my seventh-grade peers for the first day of school, oblivious to my foreign self and assuming that my navy and eagle-embossed passport carried the magic of finally fitting in without any questions asked. 

    I walked into my first day of school with a lot of assumptions. I, like most TCKs do, assumed that my outsides, the parts of me that matched the other thirteen-year-olds lining up on either side of me, would mean I matched inside too. I assumed that my freckled nose and the mostly American accent I owned would equal diplomatic immunity in the middle-school pecking order. 

    I assumed that because I called myself American, because I’d been told this was my home and because my parents belonged here, that I also belonged. I assumed that the belonging that had evaded my years of being a grayscale foreigner in a vibrant land would finally fade. 

    As it turned out, the azure of Uzbek mosques and the indigo of sun-drenched grapes had soaked beneath my skin. I was too colorful to fit in here. 

    I didn’t tuck my school uniform the right way, I didn’t drool at the name of popular boy bands (I didn’t even know the difference between them!). I told stories that began, “When I was living in…,” identified more with differences than similarities, and didn’t know the rules of the culture, like how girls who were just friends didn’t hold hands.  

    The day I learned an English swear word I was in the back of a small Speech & Debate class listening to a mediocre rendition of “How I Organize My Closet.” The boy was labeling items on the whiteboard as he spoke, and when he got to “shirt,” he spelled it s - h - i - t. 

    The classroom erupted in laughter. The teacher sent him to the principal’s office. I sat there absolutely terrified to go next considering that I had just learned that in this crazy country you got in trouble for spelling a word wrong! 

    I was so awkward. So innocent. So out of place. So Russian. So deeply “other.” I held an American passport and a very American name, but that was it. 

    It was actually a few years later that I put two and two together and realized the laughter and punishment weren't for a spelling error, but for what he had spelled. It was around the same time that I realized if I were to survive another year in my passport country, I needed to change my approach. 

    Tapping into TCK skills

    The thing is, as a TCK, I hadn’t just inherited a complex identity. I had also gained the skills to adapt to a new culture. I had watched and learned and assimilated into a new school environment many times. I was confident on public transportation, good at communication, and a natural haggler. 

    I had learned more than a second language —  I had learned how to belong anywhere. Why was it that I let my learned experiences and international identity abandon me when faced with a classroom of American peers? 

    The popular 2004 movie, Mean Girls portrays the main character and TCK, Kady, comparing her new classmates to her experience of safari wildlife. She used the skills she had to understand a whole new form of wild beasts. It’s satirical, but a point any TCK anticipating repatriation should take note of.

    • Assume your passport country is as foreign as the next one.

    • Don’t assume that a shared language equals fluency in slang or etiquette.

    • As always, observe before acting.

    • Flex the adaptability muscles you’ve worked so hard to build and take your time learning this “new” culture.

    • Find community with other international or minority students.

    Dear TCK, or those of you raising one, if you’re anticipating repatriation, give yourself patience. Give yourself time for the natural progression of cultural assimilation to take place without the pressure of the things you “should” know or understand. 


    Jessi Vance grew up in Uzbekistan and graduated from Hope International University with a specialized degree in Third Culture Kid Care and a desire to help families just like hers who were spending their most formative years between cultures. In 2013, Jessi founded Kaleidoscope, a non-profit committed to seeing TCKs not just survive but thrive. She channels all of her creative energy into new and exciting ways to engage TCKs, wherever they are in the world. Jessi is a 2020 David C. Pollock Scholar. Read her profile here, or find her on Instagram @jessi_rue or @kldscp.


  • 16 Feb 2021 1:13 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT2021 Games bring a little extra fun to the virtual conference.

     

    While we cannot be physically present together at this year's conference, the FIGT team has been hard at work putting together a lot of ways for everyone to connect throughout the event.

    From our very first welcome session on March 7th to our closing ceremony on March 14th, you'll be able to contribute and interact during conference sessions by live text chat. There will also be Community Rooms during our main conference weekend, where you can join small groups and chat through both text and video. You can catch up with old friends and make new ones by text and also chat privately with each other.

    As well as this, we wanted to add something just for fun and so we are launching the FIGT Games. For taking part in the conference in different ways, you can collect points, earn tags for your online profile, and even win prizes.

    Once you get your unique email login for the conference platform on March 5th, you’ll be automatically entered into the Games.

    To win points in the Games, search and collect game codes by engaging with all parts of the conference experience. For example, by reading this blog you are now learning that the code READTHEFIGTBLOG is a game code that will earn you 50 points! When you log into the conference platform, go to the FIGT Games section and enter that code to have 50 points added to your account. You'll also see the leaderboard, and your position in the Games. 

    When you first log in, you'll notice the tag "Starting line" attached to your profile. As you accumulate more points, you'll be upgraded to new tags. 

    On top of this, there are some fantastic prizes on offer for a people who earn the most points. At three different times, the top few people on the leaderboard will be announced as prize winners. These times will be during the opening session on March 12th, during the closing session on March 14th, and a week after the conference closes. You can keep earning points after the live portion of the conference is over--all content will be accessible for six months after the live conference ends. 

    FIGT Games information, including the rules (and lots of hints and clues to get you started on the hunt for codes and points), will be available in the FIGT Membership booth in the exhibition hall of the virtual platform. So, when you get your login for the conference, remember to go in and add the new code you learned here, then visit our Membership Booth to get the information you need to compete successfully in the FIGT Games.

    Let the fun and games begin!


    For more information about FIGT 2021 Annual Conference and how to register, click here.


  • 15 Feb 2021 8:40 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT2021 is our first virtual conference! So what can you expect from it? Logistics Director Tanya Crossman and Programs Director Stephen answer some questions. 

    what to expect at figt2021 virtual conference

    We are excited to host the annual FIGT conference virtually for the first time (12-14 March 2021) — but we are sure you have many questions about what to expect. We asked Logistics Director Tanya Crossman and Program Director Stephen Toole how the conference is being set up to make sure your experience is the best possible. 

    Who can participate in FIGT2021? 

    The conference is designed for anyone who is globally mobile or works to support those who are. It’s open to everyone, both FIGT members and non-members.

     

    Can I simply show up or is registration required?

    You will need to register for the conference in advance to attend. Closer to the conference date, you will receive the details to access the conference site.

    The closing date for registration is March 10.

    Once you are registered for the conference, you do not have to pre-register for specific sessions; you can just show up. 

     

    So how will the FIGT virtual conference work? 

    Over 12-14 March 2021, there will be three live conference sessions (“days”), each four hours long, with concurrent presentations. We’ve staggered the times of the three sessions so that at least two should fall in your time zone.

    Each four-hour session will have a variety of events, many of which will include a live Q&A text chat you can participate in. There will be ways to connect with other attendees outside the sessions and engage in text and video chats. More on that below!

    In the lead-up to the conference weekend, we will have two welcome sessions on Sunday, March 7, and from Monday, March 8, to Thursday, March 11, two Forum sessions a day (again, more on that below).

    You can check the full conference schedule for specific times.

    After the sessions take place, the recordings will be available on-demand for six months afterwards, so you can go back and explore at your leisure.

     

    Do I have to download an app?

    No, you don’t need to download an app. You can access the content via a web browser (Chrome is recommended). This means it will work better from a desktop or laptop computer, rather than from your phone.

    Some sessions may use Zoom; you will be redirected from the conference platform if that’s the case.

     

    What kind of events can I expect at a virtual conference? Will FIGTs signature Kitchen Table Discussions be available virtually?

    We have tried to honor the FIGT conference format while at the same time creating something new.

    ▶ Lead-up to the Conference: Forums

    As mentioned above, we will kick off the lead-up to the conference with two welcome sessions on Sunday, March 7.

    And from Monday, March 8, to Thursday, March 11, we’ll have two Forums a day. Targeting specific audiences within the FIGT community, Forums will be 60-minute sessions with multiple presenters and plenty of discussion time.

    ▶ During the Conference

    The conference will offer many kinds of presentation and discussion formats. Most will be followed by a moderated live Q&A that you can take part in. 

    • Daily Keynote Presentations. Be inspired by speakers Ezinne Okoro, Ragil Ratnam, and Danau Tanu!

    • Power Panels: 40 minutes of presentation by panelists followed by 10 minutes of moderated Q&A. This year, there are two Power Panels.

    • Power Presentations: 30-minute presentations on a single topic with one or more presenters, followed by a 10-minute moderated Q&A. There will be six sets of Power Presentations (two on each of the three conference “days”).

    • Lightning Presentations: Fun and inspiring talks based on a powerful question or idea. The speakers are accompanied by 20 image-based slides, advancing automatically every 18 seconds. The Lightning Sessions will be held on the third “day” of FIGT2021.

    • Guided Discussions: 15 minutes of presented content (no PowerPoints), followed by a 25-minute discussion on the topic, guided and moderated by the presenter(s). These are the virtual take on FIGT’s popular Kitchen Table Discussions, inspired by the original discussions around Ruth Van Reken’s kitchen table that led to the start of FIGT. There will be three sets of Guided Discussions over the three conference “days.”

    • Poster Presentations: 3.5 minutes of content to display ideas worth spreading. They will run at specific times on all 3 “days.”

    Please explore the full schedule.

     

    One of the wonderful aspects of an FIGT conference is the many opportunities to connect with like-minded people. How will networking work virtually?

    At an in-person conference, we can connect with anyone through the conference app, and that same opportunity exists in the virtual conference. You can look up individuals you are interested in connecting with and send them messages through the conference platform.

    • There will be text chat functions in the public “virtual lobby” of the conference site as well as in every conference session. Every time you are watching a presentation, you will have the opportunity to contribute and interact via text chat. 

    The trickier part is recreating the community feel that is such an integral part of the FIGT conference experience.

    • For this, there will be Coffee & Connect rooms that function as coffee lounges, where text and video chats mirror the experience of meeting up with old friends and new over food and drinks. These Coffee & Connect rooms will be hosted by specific entities working with FIGT.

      These community rooms will open at specific times, both before and after the weekend sessions, to make sure that no matter what time zone you are in, there will be an opportunity for you to connect with others.

    A lot of time, energy, thought and care has gone into crafting opportunities for community building and connection. We hope that you will agree they are more than mere corporate networking but feel like FIGT’s “reunion of strangers” experience, in a virtual context.

    We will also be introducing the FIGT2021 Games, so look out for more information on another way to have fun and connect with others during the conference!

    FIGT is excited to welcome you to our first virtual conference. We look forward to connecting with you!

  • 14 Feb 2021 12:00 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is excited to shine the Sponsor Spotlight on Silver Sponsor Cross Border Financial Planning.


    Cross Border Financial Planning specializes in providing financial advice to the globally mobile. 

    “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,” said Edward Cole, who attended FIGT2019 in Bangkok, and was instrumental in bringing the group on as an FIGT Sponsor. 

    “Our focus has and always will be to provide financial advice to a large but often underserved group – globally mobile people.” 

    CBFP’s 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.


    Check out the Cross Border Financial Planning Sponsor Spotlight video!


    FIGT is honored to welcome back Edward and Cross Border Financial Planning as a returning Silver sponsor, and look forward to seeing them in March at #FIGT2021.


    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.


  • 13 Feb 2021 11:07 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is excited to shine the Sponsor Spotlight on Silver Sponsor American Psychologist.


    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 and treatment placement agency. 

    A dual-credentialed educational and licensed psychologist in the US, Mark also serves in the capacity of EU Agent and Independent Educational Consultant touring and regularly communicating with schools/programs domestically and internationally, and is also a UK Chartered Psychologist. 

    Mark is joined in sponsoring by Steven DeMille, Ph.D. LCMHC, a colleague and Executive Director of RedCliff Ascent. Steven specializes in wilderness-based family therapy and has contributed a chapter on the its practical use in Family Therapy with Adolescents in Residential Treatment.

    “Whether it’s for assessment and expert recommendation for treatment or education, we’ve been providing solutions to expats for over 30 years,” Mark says. “American Psychologist travels the globe to help support expat families at risk, including with one of our unique services of addiction support.” 

    Check out the American Psychologist Sponsor Spotlight video!

    FIGT is honored to welcome back Mark, Steven, and American Psychologist as a returning Silver sponsor, and look forward to seeing them in March at #FIGT2021.


    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.


  • 12 Feb 2021 3:45 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition is thrilled to shine the Sponsor Spotlight on Silver Sponsor Special Education Network & Inclusion Association (SENIA).


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

    “We bridge together families who are moving overseas to inclusive schools in their countries,” said Lori Boll, SENIA’s Executive Director. “Moving countries is difficult, and moving countries with a child with special learning needs is incredibly hard. SENIA can help support these families.”

    “Our vision is to live in an inclusive world where every individual is supported, resources are accessible, potential is maximized, and action is inspired.”


    Check out the SENIA International Sponsor Spotlight video!


    FIGT is honored to welcome back Lori and SENIA International as a returning Silver sponsor, and look forward to seeing them in March at #FIGT2021.


    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.

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