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Issue: 37
May 4, 2015
Families in Global Transition is a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them. We promote cross-sector connections for sharing research and developing best practices that support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world. 
In our ongoing "FIGT in Action" series, FIGT members share their own story -- personal or professional -- of learning or experiencing something from FIGT interactions. To submit an entry, email Janssenla@gmail.com.

What probably set the tone for me at this year's FIGT Conference was the writing workshop on the first day run by Nina Sichel and Patricia Linderman.

During the workshop, Nina and Patricia guided us through a number of writing prompts, my favorite of which was to write down three to five significant turning points in our mobile lives and the shifting sense of "home" that that brought about. As I jotted down my notes, one of those turning points that came up was moving from Panama City, Panama, where my family had lived for four years - the longest time I would ever spend in one place before college - to Westport, Connecticut.

That move to the United States was jarring, in that for so many TCKs the worst moves are not to a new culture but back to one's "home" country (and in my case, I had two of them: Guatemala via my father and the USA via my mother). I had spent second through sixth grades in Panama, so within the first few months of starting the seventh grade in a new country, I was dealing with physical changes as well as "place" changes. My voice lowered an octave and I grew body hair in places I quite frankly did not expect to grow hair in. Combine the raging hormones with a new school in my supposed "home" country, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Another turning point in my mobile life was moving to Cairo three years later after having spent 18 months in Westport and another 18 months in Casablanca, Morocco. In Cairo, many of my classmates were also used to moving frequently and actually reached out to help the new kids out in a myriad of ways. The school also had two full-time counselors who helped students deal with their transitions.

With all those moves, "home" for me - then and now - has been wherever my parents happen to be, and that applies even as an adult. In the past 15 years they have exchanged homes with people from all over Europe and the USA. The exchange houses where I visited my parents may not have been their actual home, but it was still my parents, who haven't changed.

Sharing those memories with the other FIGT Conference writing workshop participants brought knowing and sympathetic chuckles or nods, and was a great way to ease into the full conference itself. The buzz from that workshop definitely carried over and increased with each passing day, culminating in Doug Ota's highly emotional "Goodbye" keynote.

John Liang is an FIGT Board member and serves on the communications committee. John has an essay published in "Writing Out Of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids," and organizes a monthly happy hour for Washington, DC-area Adult TCKs. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

Founded in 1967 to serve the needs of global and local families, ACS International Schools educate over 3,700 students, aged 2 to 18, day and boarding, from more than 70 countries. The schools - three in Greater London and one in Doha, Qatar - are all non-sectarian and co-educational. The world-renowned curriculum includes all International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs, and top US programs including Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the new AP Capstone and International Diplomas.

Andrew Kittell serves as the Director of Corporate Relations for ACS International Schools. For over 20 years, Andrew has progressed as an enrollment management and corporate relations professional representing American and international schools in Europe and now Doha, Qatar. An active writer about whole-family transitions and K-12 international education, Andrew's articles have appeared in Mobility, Perspectives, Global HR News, Expat Exchange, and Expat Adviser. Andrew frequently presents at leading industry conferences, following trends and offering insights on international education, global transitions and other intercultural issues of great interest to FIGT. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

"Through learning, inspire all to make a difference."

ACS's purpose statement aligns directly with FIGT's' efforts to support those in cross-cultural transition, and both Andrew and ACS have been long-time supporters of our organization. Specifically, Andrew's global mobility industry honors and leadership roles serving on the Families in Global Transition Board of Directors 2004-2008, and its 2013-2015 Conference Program Committees, model the concept of making a difference through sharing relevant experience and learning.

At FIGT, we appreciate ACS's commitment to supporting those in global transition, as evidenced most recently by their sponsorship of the 2015 FIGT Conference, and look forward to continuing a great partnership!


Our Parfitt Pascoe Writers in Residence, Beth Hoban, Lauren Owen, Lauren Power, and Taylor Murray share a passion for chronicling expat families through writing.

In this issue of FIGT Connections, we feature the reflections of Beth Hoban:

If I had to sum up my experience with this year's FIGT conference in one word, I would say gratitude. I came across a quote that truly embodies the FIGT experience: "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." (Melody Beattie)

Throughout the energizing weekend, I intently watched participants share their amazing and powerful past experiences from their diverse global lives. Our FIGT community has a shared past that connects and intertwines us and helps each participant make sense of their experiences.


There was also a sense of peace, calm, and acceptance in the group that created a safe environment. The level of authenticity and full engagement was demonstrated as people listened deeply and shared with their hearts. In a world full of noise, busyness and distractions, having a peaceful, caring environment was refreshing.

Creating the vision for tomorrow is one of the most exciting ideas behind FIGT. Participants in FIGT are catalysts for change and action. The ideas and conversations are the sparks that will continue to create impact in our expat environment.

Gratitude is the spark plug. It's what ignites our passion about our community, connects us.


A senior manager in talent management at Vencore Inc., Beth Hoban has extensive experience in international business, organizational development and training, and executive coaching and consulting. She has also served as a global employment advisor to the US Department of State for the Middle East, Korea, and the Philippines, and contributed to The Foreign Service Companion: Moving Your Household Without Losing Your Mind.

The PPWR Writers in Residence help record the content from the conference into a Yearbook. To purchase the 2014 Yearbook, a valuable compilation of the expertise shared at last year's conference, click here

For other books available on the FIGT Bookstore, click here


Summertime Publishing, Jo Parfitt's expanding expat-centric publishing house, has grown to include two more team members: Jack Scott and Jane Dean, as well as creating a brand new imprint - Springtime Books. While Summertime will now focus on publishing expatriate family titles, Springtime will handle other genres. 
Find out more here



FIGT Boston Affiliate


The FIGT Boston Affiliate meets every 6-8 weeks in a member's home on a weekend afternoon for wine, cheese, networking, and a lively discussion around cross-cultural issues that impact our lives or work. If you are in the Boston area and would like to know when our next meeting is, you can email Tina Quick at  tinaquick@comcast.net or Anne Copeland at copeland@interchangeinstitute.org.

Also, the FIGT Boston Affiliate has now created a LinkedIn group and welcomes you to join. The FIGT Boston Affiliate LinkedIn Group is a place to share innovations, discuss ideas and develop collaborations amongst professionals in the Greater Boston area and beyond interested in the cross-cultural aspects of global transitions. 


FIGT Korea Affiliate

Throughout the year, the FIGT Korea Affiliate organizes monthly meetings to support TCKs and expat families in Korea. For more information on the upcoming meeting, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/tcknetworkkorea/.

For more information about the FIGT Korea Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact Isabelle Min at minisabelle@tck.or.kr


FIGT Netherlands Affiliate

The FIGT NL Affiliate was excited to learn that next year's conference will take place in The Netherlands. They are thrilled #FIGT16NL is heading their way! The next Affiliate meeting is scheduled for June 5th, 2015, featuring Anne Parker and Diane Lemieux discussing their book, The Mobile Life.  


For more information about the FIGT Netherlands Affiliate, read the article above and check out their page on the FIGT website or contact Co-Creators Kate Berger, Kristine Racina or Vivian Chiona at netherlands@figt.org.

FIGT Switzerland Affiliate

For information about the FIGT Switzerland Affiliate, check out their page on the FIGT website or contact them at switzerland@figt.org.


Be sure to check out FIGT Member Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly's article, Caring for Your Aging Loved-Ones From a Distance

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