What is FIGT?
FIGT is an inclusive, globally- focused, multi-sector, multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization serving the worldwide mobile/previously mobile cross-cultural community and those who support them, while also hosting an annual conference in which the latest issues, developments, trends, and research are shared . Together, the annual conference, membership, and sponsorship form the triad that ensures our financial viability and growth.
Who is FIGT for?
FIGT stands for Families in Global Transition – a name which grew from its origin 21 years ago, when globally moving families were discovering and exploring the impact this had on children in particular. Times have changed, more and more people are living, working, and studying around the world – as singles, couples, families – but the lessons and experience of the last twenty+ years have relevance to all who cross borders, cultures and languages. So, while the name may suggest it is only for ‘traditional, nuclear’ families, FIGT is in fact for anyone who is/has experienced a globally mobile life, or interested in those subjects through research, service, or professional practice.
In our use of the term family, we not only include individuals and couples, we also include extended family members: family members left 'at home, behind, or elsewhere' - grandparents, children in boarding school or university, short-term assignments where only one partner expatriates/repatriates, etc. Discussions about changing the name come up from time to time; however, in honor of its heritage, as well as in recognition of its enduring, growing brand, FIGT remains its name.
What does transition mean?
In the context of our work, mission and community, it refers to the fact that when people move – relocate from one place to another – there is far more involved than simply a physical move. During a move, many transitions – changes taking a person from one state of being to another – take place which are both challenging and a growth opportunity. No two people experience them in the same manner, and not everyone is prepared for these changes, but with each one new chapter’s in life are written. The collective knowledge, experience, research and resources of our community build upon one another so that we may assist those facing these challenges: we help provide the resources we have as well as offer our expertise online and in many locations through our members, conference attendees, affiliates, and our broader global reach. Furthermore as a community we contribute to and share the ongoing research about how moving globally impacts us as professionals, individuals, accompanying partners, parents, children, and students, and what we can learn from it.
What does FIGT really do?
It connects. People to people; research to practice; people to resources; businesses to people; authors to an audience and communities to one another.
Where are you?
We are a truly global organisation – accessible from where-ever in the world you may be. Our Board members span many nationalities, continents, and time-zones. We also have Affiliates in many cities and host an Annual Conference in different locations around the world. As a non-profit, we are registered in the United States where the organisation was first established.
What do you get for membership?
Becoming a member of FIGT is first and foremost, an investment in the organisation – without our members we would not have the resources to provide the platforms we have or do the work we do. So, your first return is knowing you are contributing to something bigger. Having done so, you then have access to the community, the resources it has, the connections it can provide you with and the opportunities it offers. The specific privileges will depend on your membership level, and can be found here.
Sponsorship reflects an even deeper financial commitment to FIGT and its mission, members, and broader global community.
What is the difference between a benefit and a privilege?
FIGT is not only about what we, as an organisation, can do for its members. It is also about what we, as members of FIGT, can do for one another. Furthermore, we want to encourage our members to actively invest in FIGT (by being members as well as contributing their time/skills, etc). In exchange, the reward is not simply a benefit, but becomes a privilege.
How does membership help me in my problems?
First and foremost, if the problem or challenge you are facing is in any way (large or small) related to crossing borders, cultures or languages and the impact this transition is having on you personally or professionally, then FIGT is more than likely the place where you will find a solution. If you are interested in the subject of global mobility, FIGT has the knowledge and experience to help you explore it further. If you know you will be moving from time to time in the foreseeable future, then FIGT is a place to build up a community of support and resources wherever you may land. As is highlighted regularly at our Annual Conferences – we all seek a tribe we can call upon when needed, and having access to one which has similar experiences to ours can be the lifeline we need in moments of perpetual change.
Do I need to be studying to qualify for the Student rate?
The ‘student’ rate is also a young adult rate. IF you are a ‘mature’ student - older than 30 years of age - then the Student rate would apply. We ask that you inform us where you are currently studying.
Is there value to me at FIGT if I’ve stopped moving?
Yes. Regardless of whether someone is moving or not, having ever been part of a global lifestyle means it has impacted you. You will have something to share, or contribute and you will find community with FIGT. Many of our members are no longer relocating from one place to another – but the fact they have done so means they are part of the experience, and when being more ‘sedentary’ find they miss engaging with people who have a shared experience. Especially when repatriating, knowing there is a place to go where your experiences will be understood has been a welcome part of that transition as well.
How does FIGT differ from FEM, SIETAR, etc?
The former (FEM) is for professionals working in the field and industry of Global Mobility, while the latter (SIETAR) is a professional organization for international education, training, and research. Their members are welcome at and indeed are often members/supporters of FIGT. Our members and community include the people in cross-cultural transition themselves, as well as those working with them who do research, educate, counsel, train, coach, write about, express through other media, or otherwise support relocation-related topics and how they affect the people involved personally and professionally.
Can I volunteer for the conference?
FIGT welcomes and encourages anyone -whether year round or while attending the conference - to pitch in and help. Experience tells us it makes the conference even more rewarding and the connections within the organization even more meaningful. While we greatly appreciate the efforts of our volunteers, at this time we are not in a position to offer any reduction in membership or conference registration prices to those who volunteer.
Why should I join if I’m not attending the conference?
The conference is only ONE part of FIGT. Beyond it, during the other 362 days of the year, FIGT has a wealth of resources available online; a growing number of Affiliates – based in different countries as well as on themes; opportunities to engage, participate and learn from discussions taking place in the members section; and provides a platform through which to share your own work – be it research, a service, publication. And as mentioned previously, your membership is vital to FIGT’s existence and continued growth.
Can I come to conference if I don’t move around?
Absolutely! If the subject matter of the conference and mission of FIGT resonates with you, you are more than welcome and encouraged to attend our Annual Conference.
Is there a community for single expats?
Regardless of your relationship status you are welcome at FIGT if our mission resonates with you. To find local communities of single expats we would recommend reaching out to an Affiliate, or asking within our membership about such communities where they are located.
How is FIGT funded?
Through membership fees, sponsorship and conference revenue.