Saturday, 6 January 2018

Happy New Year and there is still time to register for early bird rate for Families in Global Transition Conference 2018

I want to wish you all a happy new year! I have some dreams that I hope will come true in 2018 and I hope you have dreams too for this year. Today is Epiphany, Three Kings' Day. I was in Gent, Belgium this week and discovered Three Kings' cake in a bakery. I had never seen it before. Apparently there are quite a few countries where they have the tradition of Three Kings' Cake. In French it is called galette des rois. If you want to know more, then here are 5 facts about Kings' Cake. I really like discovering new things! See the image for the cake I discovered.

This year the Families in Global Transition Conference will take place in the Hague, the Netherlands again from 8-10 March 2018. It is still possible to register for the early bird rate, you have until the 15th of January 2018! The theme of the conference is: Diverse Voices, celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives. An adult third culture kid recently asked me if the conference was suitable for adult third culture kids living in their passport cultures, well I would say it is. What I noticed is that everyone at the conference has a unique story, just like I have and you have, and there is room for each story to be told. There are many expats, third culture kids, organizations involved with expats and their children at the conference. At this moment in time there are registrations from more than 31 countries, so it is a truly international conference. If you live in the Netherlands then it is your chance to join the conference. The venue of the next conference will probably be is Asia. Will we see you at the conference?

No idea what to expect? Lucille, an expat mum and storyteller shares her experience of attending the FIGT conference in 2017.

Amy Clare Tasker shares her experiences of giving a workshop at FIGT 2017. The funny thing is that those are my words "Home is where the radishes grow" and I am the blond person on the floor depicting "Home is where the radishes grow".

More news:
New edition of Third Culture Kids Growing up Among Worlds available (Third Edition 2017)

By the way have you ever eaten a Three Kings' cake? Is it a tradition you celebrate? Can you tell us more about the tradition?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Where are the male expat or third culture kid voices?

Recently I heard that the Families in Global Transition conference in 2018 will be held in the Netherlands again. This is good news because if it is so near to home there is more chance that I will be able to attend. At the 2017 conference we heard that the next conference would be in Asia, which meant attending would be more of a challenge for me. The FIGT conference will be held in the Hague, the Netherlands from the 8th to the 10th of March 2018, mark your calenders and maybe we can meet up there. It will be the 20th anniversary next year so it promises to be a great conference. The theme of the conference is Diverse voices celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives. If you want to submit a proposal it is due before 15th september 2017. First time conference attendees can apply for a Pollock Scholarship, check this link for more information.

On the FIGT website I saw this: The guiding question when considering the applications is, "Who is missing at the FIGT table?"  They are looking for a diverse field of applicants from each of our traditional sectors, (including corporate, diplomatic, academic, military, mission, arts and entrepreneurial) plus voices not well represented, such as those involved in immigration and refugee work, an increase in male voices, and participants from all parts of the globe.

I noticed that the FIGT organizers want an increase voices not well represented including an increase in male voices. While searching the internet this week I noticed two stories both by (adult) third culture kid males so I do want to share these stories. The first story is by Chris Aslan. Chris was born in Turkey, lived in Lebanon and returned to the UK for schooling. He later lived in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. His whole story "Both and Neither: Exploring my Third Culture Kid Identity" can be read here. He writes about feeling in between cultures and not really belonging to either. I like his conclusion. 

"There have been times when I’ve felt a stranger in both cultures, but gradually I’ve learnt to feel at home in both. I’ve discovered that I’m a pretty good bridge that others can use to walk along to have their horizons broadened and to meet people they might not otherwise have met. I’m letting my character and values to be shaped by the best of both cultures. It’s not always as comfortable as being one thing or another, but embracing the concept of ‘both’ is really good, and that’s better than being comfortable."

Marilyn Gardner writes the same in her Thoughts on Entry, Reentry and Third Culture Kids. She says that as third culture kids we should accept that we are a combination of worlds. 

Joshua tells us his own story. He now lives in Suriname but he grew up in many different countries: Egypt, Singapore, and China. He tells about the culture shock he had when he moved to China. He shares what he learnt by growing up abroad. Please listen to his story,  it will take you less than 6 minutes.

Thank you Chris and Joshua for sharing your stories. Will you consider joining us at the Families in Global Transition Conference this March here in the Netherlands? We want to hear more male third culture kid stories. Please let us hear your voices. Come and join us. Do you know male third culture kids or are you one? Let's hear your voice.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Families in Global Transition Conference starting 23rd March 2017 in Den Haag

The Families in Global Transition Conference is starting tomorrow in Den Haag, the Netherlands. For years the conference took place in America. This is the second year in a row that the conference will be in the Netherlands. What a priviledge that the conference is close to home for me.

Conference Theme is: Building on the Basics: Creating Your Tribe on the Move.

I will be giving an Ignite presentation on Friday afternoon, you can see the other presenters and their topics here. An Ignite presentation is a short presentation of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. You have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide, the slides are forwarded automatically. I have never given an Ignite presentation before. I have been told that you need to practice a presentation like this many times so that's what I am doing at the moment. I hope the saying is true that "practice makes perfect".

Here's the list of the topics of the Ignite presentations:
  • Exploring the ‘Why’, the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ of Muslim Expatriates
  • The Power of Team Sport to Create a Diverse Tribe       
  • How a TCK English Teacher in a Hungarian Village Created a Globally Local Network 
  • Childhood Losses, TCKs, and Identity Development  
  • Finding Joy and Abundance as an Expat - Planning For Your Fulfilled Life Abroad
  • Finding Your Voice, Your Tribe and Hearing Other Voices Through Blogging
I will be speaking about how I found my voice through this blog and how I heard your voices.
If you are not coming to the conference but you are interested in what is going on at the conference you can follow the hashtag #FIGT17NL 

Want to know how to give an Ignite presentation? Emma McCathy gives advice here.
Her Ignite talk last year at the FIGT conference was on Building a Global Village.

I am a little nervous for my first Ignite presentation ever, but I am also looking forward to what the conference will bring us this year. I would love to know what the Families in Global transition Conference means to you. What does the conference mean to you?

Update April 2017: Terry Ann Wilson wrote a lovely post all about the Ignite presentations.

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Book Review: B at Home, Emma Moves Again by Valérie Besanceney

To start with I would like to wish you all happy new year. I hope it will be a year that you and your children will thrive and be resilient. I hope to write more about resilience in another post. In case you are moving with children this year than the book B at Home, Emma Moves Again might be just the book you need.

Emma is 10 years old and has already moved twice. At the start of the book she lives in the Netherlands. In the book her parents tell her that the family is moving again. She has mixed emotions and turns to B, her faithful teddy bear. Together they make the move.
Children can identify with the girl in the story. It can help them to feel that they are not alone, that there are other children who have gone through the same things. It can help children give words to the emotions they are feeling.

There are discussion questions at the end of the book. Parents could use the questions to chat with their children about the upcoming move. An example of a question is: Emma and her friends talk about how certain smells bring back memories. What are some smells that bring back strong memories for you?

The author Valérie Besanceney was born in the Netherlands, grew up as a third culture kid, making several international moves as a child, she is an experienced international school teacher and is raising two TCK daughters. She definitely knows what she is talking about. In addition to the book B at Home Besanceney has created a workbook My Moving Booklet. This is a great tool for parents and schools to ease a transition for a child. The children can share their emotions and there is also lots of room for creativity.

I had the privilege of meeting Valérie at the Families in Global transition Conference in Amsterdam in 2016.

Have you or one of your children read the book B at Home, Emma Moves Again? Are there other books that you would recommend for kids making international moves? Please share them with us.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Q & A with Tanya Crossman author of the book "Misunderstood" The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century

As you probably know I love books and especially on the topic of growing up abroad. I am pleased to announce that a new book on the topic is about to be released and the author Tanya Crossman has agreed to answer some questions specially for you. Thank you Tanya! By the way if you want to know what children or young people say about growing up abroad then you have to read this book. Now over to Tanya.
  1. Please tell us about your book “Misunderstood”. Tell us about how you were inspired to write the book?                                                                                                                                   I spent a decade mentoring TCKs (third culture kids), listening to them and learning how they
    felt about life. Parents began to ask my advice, and I saw lightbulb moments as they saw their children's situation in a new light. When asked for resources I pointed to lots of great books, but couldn't find anything that did what I did – stand in the gap, and explain the TCK perspective. That is what Misunderstood does: explain how international life affects a child, often in their own words (I interviewed nearly 300 TCKs for the book, plus conducted a survey of 750 TCKs). Misunderstood shows TCKs they are not alone, and helps those who care about them provide more support and understanding.
  2. What is the most important message you have for parents of TCKs? What would you like to say to every TCK?
    Being a TCK isn't a bad thing!! Over 80% of the TCKs I surveyed for Misunderstood were glad for their experience, and only 2% would take it back if they could. But TCKs do have a different experience of the world to their parents, and understanding that experience is essential for supporting TCKs well. 
  3. Many people want to write a book someday, but you did it! What was the key to success?
    The key to my success has been other people! Wise people I listened to, leading me in directions I would not have gone alone. A mentor read my first attempt and told me I could do much better – that I needed to put my passion in it. A close friend approached me about having my book published professionally, and did the work to make that happen. Then the team at Summertime Publishing helped make Misunderstood better.  
  4. What's your advice for other TCKs or anyone wanting to write a book?
    Know why you want to write – what do you care about, and why does it matter? What gap exists that you want to fill? Find anything similar out there, read it well and work out if you have something new and different to say. Secondly, benefit from the experience of others. Cultivate relationships with people who challenge you with wise advice – then listen to them, even when it's hard. 
  5. In which countries did you live as a child and what age were you at the time?
    I grew up in my passport country (Australia) but also lived in the US from age 13-15, with my parents and my two younger sisters. As an adult I lived in China for over ten years and also spent a lot of time in Cambodia.
  6. What was the reason that you were living abroad? If it was work, what kind of work did your parents do?
    My father worked for a multinational technology company. When he was assigned to work in the US for two years, our whole family went along. We lived immersed in the local life (local schools, etc.) but we all found a cross-cultural friend or two. 
  7. What did you most like about living abroad as a young person?
    I enjoyed engaging with a new physical environment. The houses, food, trees, birds, animals, and seasons were all different. I hoarded new sensory experiences – the crunch under my feet walking across our frozen yard in winter, the soft twilight in summer, the bouncing tails of squirrels – and filled myself up with them. 
  8. What was most difficult?
    Learning new cultural norms (especially when people didn't think of me as coming from a different culture) was really hard. Simply existing outside my house was tiring! I didn't have words to express the difficulties I experienced, so I had an unhelpful tendency to blame my frustrations on the entire country. It took me years to unravel my feelings. Now I'm very thankful for my time in the US, even though it was hard.
  9. How did living abroad influence your choice of career or study?
    I think it showed me there's a whole world of opportunity out there, and not to limit myself to what is “normal” in Australia. 
  10. Which languages do you speak? Do you have advice on learning languages for families living abroad  now?
    English is my native language, and I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese. I've forgotten most of the other 10 languages I've studied, but I have basic survival skills in Khmer, Thai, and Indonesian. My biggest piece of advice is to embrace your ignorance – give it a go knowing it won't be perfect, and be humble about your lack of perfection. Another thing that helped me was watching and listening to native speakers doing life – by copying them I picked up the language as it's actually used, rather than stiffly repeating what I'd read in textbooks.
  11. When and where did you first hear of the term “Third Culture Kid” (TCK)? How did you hear of it and in which way did it help you?
    When I first started working with TCKs I didn't know that there was such a thing as a TCK! I quickly realised there was something different about these kids due to their unique situations, but it was still two or three years before I started reading literature on the topic. David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken's classic “Growing up among worlds” was eye-opening. What really struck me was the section on repatriation – I kept thinking “that's me!” For the first time I realised my time in the US was a TCK experience. It helped me understand why it had been so hard to “go home”. 
  12. How was it to return to your “home country” (passport country)?
    HARD. Both times. When I left the US at age 15 I was excited to “go home and be normal”. I was stunned to discover that although in the US I stood out as Australian, to Australians I sounded American. It was quite a letdown. It took less than a year to re-acclimatise but it was still a significant experience. When I moved to Australia 18 months ago after 11 years in Asia as an adult, I was more prepared for what repatriation might be like, and blogging about the process was really helpful for me. The funny thing is that this time I found it comforting when people thought my accent didn't quite sound Australian! 
  13. With which countries do you feel a bond? Where's home?
    Ah, always a tricky question! I am definitely Australian – it 's an important part of my identity – but Australia doesn't really feel like “home” anymore. Beijing feels like home – but I have no family there and no legal right to be there, so I don't feel like I'm “allowed” to call it home. I guess neither one is completely home – so the Third Culture is very important to me! 
Thank you once again Tanya for answering these questions but in the first place for writing the book. You can visit Tanya's website for more information. Tanya is on twitter @TanyaTCK and on Facebook at MisunderstoodTCK. You can preorder the book Misunderstood on Amazon, for more preorder options click here. We will be doing a giveaway of the book soon, so come back and check the blog for more information. What questions would you like to ask Tanya?

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