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 the entire expatriate family. Contributions are welcome from current members, please use our online submittal form below.


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  • 28 Jan 2018 12:42 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Fons Trompenaars

    We are so excited about welcoming all registered attendees for this year's FIGT Conference in the Hague. Make sure you don't miss out - March is looming! Every attendee at #FIGT18NL will receive a special 20th anniversary gift from us - not to mention enjoy the Lightening Presentations, our keynotes Sir Mark Moody, Robin Pascoe and Sean Ghazi.

    Each year, we welcome more than 200 people from all over the globe with the intent to learn about how life overseas impacts our lives, both firsthand, and from the world's thought leaders in the expat space.

    Read more here about who goes to the FIGT Conference.

    Sadly, close FIGT friend and Cross-Cultural expert, Fons Trompenaars is too busy to join us this year - hear from Fons himself in this Video Message from Fons why he feels that #FIGT18NL can't be missed.

    Fons is a thought leader in cross-cultural communication, with a specific focus on how it impacts organisations, business and management. He developed Trompenaars' model of national culture differences, comparing seven dimensions of how culture impacts our behaviour. 

    Fons is a management consultant through his business Trompenaars Hampden-Turner (THT) Consulting, where he works with leaders of Fortune 500 on leveraging diversity and developing cross-cultural awareness and competence.

    THT Consulting have developed a range of tools based on the largest cross-cultural database in the world. Learn more here.

    Find Fons' multiple books that he has authored and co-authored here.

    Will you have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? You don't have to! Register for #FIGT18NL TODAY!

  • 10 Jan 2018 8:56 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    FIGT Lightning Session—Ready to be enlightened?

    The Lightning presentations at the FIGT Annual Conference are often cited as the highlight of the conference. With only six minutes to tell a story in 20 slides, each presenter delivers a punchy and energetic story that takes enlightens and excites the audience. Delivered with only enough time for brief applause in between, the breakneck speed of listening to consecutive Lightning talks creates an inevitable roller coaster of emotions in the audience.

    One presenter discusses grief, loss, and the pain of a mobile life while the next explores how best to engage with the refugee population in new and fascinating ways. No two Lightning talks are ever similar, slow, or tedious.

    In 2018, the Lightning presentations will cover topics related to living a happy global life, race relations, the role of faith in transition, guilt and the developing world, among others.

    Be prepared for this Lightning session to leave you wanting more.

    #FIGTNL18


  • 10 Jan 2018 8:37 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    Don’t miss out on the #FIGT18NL Earlybird special ending on 15th January – gift yourself the opportunity to learn and connect with the nearly 200 attendees already registered, joining us from 30 countries.

    You might be curious to know who you might meet, what you can expect. Well – you’re in for a treat! This year’s conference promises to be our biggest ever; many registrants are long time friends and members of FIGT, and we’re excited to welcome the half of first-time attendees who are seeking to learn more about our wonderful forum. Not to mention a wonderful panel of keynote speakers, contributors and sponsors. All of our keynotes are seasoned expats with a lifetime of firsthand expat/TCK experience and education – you won’t want to miss out.

    Each year, we welcome a wonderful range of people from each corner of the world, in search of connection, learning, support and the latest observations in how life is impacted by global transition – and #FIGT18NL is no different.

    Typically, FIGT attendees come on their own and love that they leave with new found friends, knowledge and memories. They hail from diverse backgrounds and interests ranging from family support, missions, coaching, education – many are expats or global nomads, Third Culture Kids (TCKs), and educators seeking the latest thinking in how global transition affects their life trajectory. Or, they are simply looking to connect with a like-minded community and to make new friends.

    Whether touched by a childhood of nomadic life, have found yourself in a foreign land, or are simply keen to explore the latest knowledge in international transitions – then do not hesitate to register now.

    Don’t delay – the Earlybird countdown is on!

  • 07 Jan 2018 1:14 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    We’ve extended the earlybird registration for #FIGT18NL FIGT Conference, and you won’t want to miss hearing from Sir Mark Moody-Stuart!

    Sir Mark is the latest Keynote speaker we can formally unveil. His extensive tenure with Shell took Sir Mark around the world over a career spanning 40 years, and countries around the globe from Australia, Malaysia, Turkey, Oman and Nigeria, to mention a few. Born in Antigua to the son of a sugar plantation owner and educated at Cambridge University in England, UK, Sir Mark was knighted Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St George in June, 2000.

    Sir Mark will be talking about ‘Fifty years of change in expatriation’ – a topic he is perfectly positioned to explore given his unique experience as an expat started in 1966. More recently serving in executive leadership roles at Royal Dutch Shell Group as Chairman and of Anglo American, Sir Mark launched is career as a geologist.

    Throughout a distinguished career, Sir Mark has observed huge changes in the way that organisations manage their mobile workforce – as a result of the changing family dynamics, the needs of a business to have expertise in the right place and the right time, and the influence of technology on globally mobile lives. Sir Mark will provide us with insights that only he can provide as an expat himself, and as a leader of major global organisations.

    Sir Mark’s accomplishments extend beyond his business and expatriate experience. Passionate about ethics, corporate and social responsibility, in 2014 Sir Mark penned his thoughts in his book ‘Responsible Leadership: Lessons from the Front Line of Sustainability and Ethics'. Part memoir and part manifesto for leadership, he writes about his journey from geologist to being at the helm of two of the world’s largest organisations, and his viewpoint on corporate engagement with sustainability, ethics and responsibility.

    We are excited and honoured to have Sir Mark as a speaker at #FIGT18NL FIGT Conference. Be sure to book your ticket now. Tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss out!


  • 11 Dec 2017 11:29 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    With a mere days left until earlybird registration ends for the #FIGT18NL FIGT Conference, we’re so excited to tell you more about another keynote speaker that joins the line-up.

    Actor and singer Sean Ghazi will be sure to offer gripping insights from the stage with stories of his travels, career, accolades, and his international lifestyle.

    Sean was born to a Malaysian father and Singaporean mother and is a third culture kid (TCK) after being educated in Singapore, Malaysia and Boston, USA. His career as a performer has taken him to Europe, Southeast Asia, and more recently the USA. Sean’s most recent run was playing the lead role of George in La Cage Aux Folles for W!LD RICE in Singapore. He is kept busy as the current Artistic Director of the popular entertainment venue BOBO in Kuala Lumpur whilst developing his band act ‘TARAKUCHA’ – a unique blend of vintage Malay songs with a big band sound and hint of Broadway.

    After losing his mother in 2009, Sean made a life change and embarked on the American Dream. With a Green Card and experience in Hollywood, Sean moved to the USA with a desire to become a Hollywood Actor and gain more screen acting experience. He achieved one independent Hollywood movie “C.O.G.” with Jonathan Groff.

    Sean’s time in Hollywood wasn’t easy, and not the first time he tried to launch his career on foreign shores – he tried London and Germany, as well as the USA. His challenge in Hollywood was with the industry struggling to know how to cast him in suitable roles! They simply didn’t know who Malaysians were and encouraged him to audition with Hispanic actors. Besides the movie, he acted in TV commercials and other work to pay the bills.

    We can’t wait to hear more about his trials, belonging and wide global experience at the conference.

    Don’t hesitate to book your ticket now so you don’t miss out on Sean’s story, along with Robin and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who we’ll be profiling in our next Blog.


  • 26 Nov 2017 6:15 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)



    As we head into the holiday season and look forward to 2018, thoughts here at FIGT are firmly fixed on putting on an unforgettable FIGT conference in March. It’s the 20th anniversary of FIGT, and we look forward to exploring the topic “Diverse voices celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives”

    The conference brings together a group of budding writers who will be mentored by Jo Parfitt on how to write articles for a global market that get published. In return for this extensive training, mentoring, and a full scholarship, the residents will be chronicling about the conference. They’ll be interviewing, blogging, writing articles, and posting about the conference on social media.

    I’ve had a chat with Lillian Small, FIGT’s Social Media Lead who is one of the PPWR residents. Here we learn more about Lillian, how she had a career transition to blogger, writer and digital marketing expert, her expat experience that led her to supporting FIGT’s communication team and what she’s looking forward to about the conference.

    FIGT Blog Editor: What influenced your decision to pivot to a writing career from being an engineer?

    Lillian: “When considering careers before university, I initially explored the idea of psychology but opted in favour of engineering – the certainty of the qualification and overseas career opportunities appealed. After 5 years’ working as an engineer, my husband secured a role that moved us to Paris. This posting was intended to be 12-18 months, during which I decided to explore my free time and started my blog. As a child, I’d always enjoyed journaling, and the short Paris stint was an ideal time to return to this. 18 months turned into 3.5 years, where I became fluent in French and worked with a friend in a design agency. I liked the idea of a career that could be location agnostic, and I pursued more of my creative side. During our most recent move to Aberdeen, I’ve earnt a Masters in Digital Marketing and am looking forward to establishing a business. I do miss certain aspects of being an engineer, I was a go-to person and was lucky to have varied roles, but it’s not a deep personal passion of mine.”

    FIGT Blog Editor: How do you think your expat background has helped to shape your career?

    Lillian: “As an expat, you learn to be adaptable and grab opportunities when they come your way. Taking risks and diving in at the deep end isn’t as daunting, as you’re living with uncertainty much of the time. So, you end up becoming resourceful and proactive at putting yourself out there and discovering new parts of your personality. When the chance arose to work for a friend in an unrelated industry, I took it, and it has evolved into my new career path”

    FIGT Blog Editor: What led you to FIGT and the PPWR Residency?

    Lillian: “I’ve known about FIGT through personal contact with previous board members, and previous speaker Naomi Hattaway. I’m interested in becoming more involved in the expat community and return to writing after completing my Masters. I also felt that PPWR with provide me with a real sense of purpose when attending the conference. It will be intense and lots of work – I’m definitely throwing myself into the deep end again!”

    FIGT Blog Editor: What excites you most about PPWR and the conference?

    Lillian: “I’m really excited about being able to really digest the content, and learn from such knowledgeable and wise speakers. It will also give me the chance to meet so many people I’ve chatted with virtually over the years – and put faces to names. It will be hard work, but I’m excited that it will give me a renewed focus”

    Do say hi to Lillian when you see her at the conference. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit her blog, The Smalls Abroad.

    Stay tuned to upcoming blogs where we’ll be introducing more of the PPWR residents and conference speakers.

    #markyourcalendars #FIGT18NL #FIGT20years


  • 29 Oct 2017 1:53 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)



    The Annual FIGT Conference is edging nearer, and lots of plans are in progress behind the scenes! Make sure you keep checking in to be the first to know the exciting news as we share it.

    We’re excited to announce our first Keynote Speaker for the event - Robin Pascoe. Robin is a long-time friend of FIGT, and is one half of the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency program.

    Robin is known as ‘The Expat Expert’ and has written no less than 7 books on living abroad, ranging from relocating your marriage, parenting global nomads, and guides to help expat wives successfully navigate their time overseas. Robin is currently the Director of Global Communications for the Maple Bear School, a global network of Canadian curriculum schools based in Vancouver, Canada.

    Robin Pascoe was among the first wave of expat writers to create and promote the language we use to understand the strengths and challenges of the globally mobile family. And for over twenty years, she traveled around the expat world reassuring families by introducing that language and articulating shared experiences. In her keynote address, she will re-examine the meaning of the words “families” in “global” “transition” in the context of diversity and relocation in the 21stcentury. And, using her trademark humour, she will share her stories of the past 20 years and her vision for the next.

    As an international speaker, Robin’s expertise takes her all over the world. She is known as being funny, engaging and inspirational. Robin’s global living experience was earned as a Canadian diplomatic spouse and parent to two Third Culture Kids on postings in Bangkok, Taipei, Beijing and Seoul.

    Robin’s topics all relate to global living, and are invaluable insights into repatriating as a spouse, dealing with culture shock, and practical ways for wives and parents to deal with the challenges of adapting to a nomadic life.

    Known as an authority about expat life, Robin has been widely interviewed and featured in major publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribue, Working Mothers Magazine, Utne Reader, CNN, to name a few.

    We’re so excited to welcome Robin as part of the FIGT Conference experience!

    Learn more about Robin on these links:

    Robin’s website, The Expat Expert.

    Homeward Bound: A Spouse's Guide to Repatriation

    A Moveable Marriage: Relocate Your Relationship without Breaking It

    Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World

    Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad: A Wife's Guide

    A Broad Abroad: The Expat Wife's Guide to Successful Living Abroad

    Parent's Guide (Culture Shock! Practical Guides)

    Living and Working Abroad: A Wife's Guide

    #FIGT18NL



  • 10 Oct 2017 8:38 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    A recent Financial Times article "Women still hesitate to accept foreign assignments: Travelling spouses are rarely men" states that "Women’s earnings and potential salaries are so rarely equal to men’s that we still see the “travelling” male partner as unusual". This was certainly Carolina Dantas' experience. 

    Carolina writes the following story as our guest, about her experience in pursuing a career opportunity that offered the opportunity to live abroad, where husband was the 'trailing spouse':

    When I announced to my colleagues that I accepted an offer in the company for a long-term assignment overseas, the first question everybody asked me was “what about your husband? Is he quitting his job?” With my clear “yes, he is coming with me”, the following reaction was “oh… he must love you so much”.


    I have no doubt about my husband’s feelings, but my colleagues’ reaction still intrigues me. People knew I was ambitious, I was working very hard to progress in my career and I was doing well. With the exposure I was having to global leaders, an opportunity abroad should be the natural next step. So why was my husband the first thing to come to people's mind?


    Frankly, he was my first concern also. By the time I got the offer, he was earning about 30% more than I was. His career was progressing well too. People did not know, but I had declined other offers previously because the place would not offer much to him personally or professionally. However, this time we were talking about London! Still he would be pausing his career dreams to follow mine. He would become the dependent spouse in a foreign place. He would not get a visa on his own. His work permit would depend on the company I worked for.


    I did not want to carry the lift of compromising his career either. I did not want to hear the classic “I gave up on everything for you” in any moment of stress that every relationship goes through. So I called my dad. In a sexist society like the Brazilian one, he would give the male perspective I could miss and still be on my side. Here is his precious advice: “it’s his decision, not yours”. For a feminist like me, it hit me first, but he continued: “You have no decision to make. The company is offering you a promotion, a great raise, a complete expat program in an excellent location. It is everything you obviously want. Therefore, you have no decision to make. He is the one to decide if he wants this new life”.
    Sheryl Sandberg said that the best career decision you make is about the person you marry. This was so true in that moment. To be a senior executive with a global career, I needed a husband that shared my lifestyle and dreams. And he did. Gladly. Living abroad was his dream too and there was no other better opportunity to go.


    We set a time and a plan for this break in his career. He got an international certification, did some consultant work, played a lot of tennis and made more friends than I did. It was not easy for him in many occasions, but we both took the most of this great opportunity. In the end, we decided to have a baby and to have him back in Brazil, closer to our families. It took him 8 months to get a new job, but he got a great one - even though Brazil was in the middle of a terrible recession.


    Now I am the person in home full-time. During the uncertainties of not being a working-partner and not having my career identity, my husband said to me “my career is our problem as much as your career is our problem too”. I believe this is the real meaning of dual career.

    Carolina is an international executive, former global director in Nielsen, mother of 2 kids and was the first female Brazilian to take an international assignment. 


  • 28 Sep 2017 2:41 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)


    The PPWR 2018 Residency deadline is looming! Here, FIGT Member Tone Indrelid writes about the impact last year's participation had to her.

    If you are keen to apply, visit the PPWR page for more information and be sure to submit your application before October 1st, 2017.

    Read Tone's story:

    Follow me, walk through that open door.

    Five years ago, I lived on Borneo, with three kids under 6. I was The Parent of my household. I can’t really say how it happened – I certainly never intended to be The Parent. If you were to ask The Wage-earning Partner in my marriage, I suspect you may hear a distant cough sounding like ‘control freak’, but I object to that.

    I wasn’t always happy being The Parent. Don’t get me wrong – I love being a mother and I am super thankful for the time I am able to spend with my kids. That said, I have also struggled to adjust to role expectations, my own and those of others, within my marriage and in relation to the world.

    I wanted a way to combine The Parent with The Ridiculously Slow Internet, The Frequent Moves and The Writing Anthropologist.

    Moving to Muscat, The Ridiculously Slow Internet was finally replaced with Broadband Internet, and family role patterns and responsibilities were adjusted to allow for The Parent to work from home.

    One fine Tuesday morning, I saw it. Jo Parfitt’s Facebook link to the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency at Families in Global Transition. I read it. I loved it. I was convinced it was made especially for me. Did I want to train with a successful author and publisher, learn the tricks of the trade and contribute to a book? Yes!

    I knew I was nowhere near ready to apply for the scholarship – but I did anyway. I never looked back. Sometimes, doors open, in the most unexpected ways.

    Jo’s input as a mentor, my position as a Parfitt Pascoe writer and the connections I made through Families in Global Transition has led to some incredibly positive developments for me. First of all, I connected with all of you through this blog. I love writing here, and I hope to spend much more time here in the coming months. This is my other trail, and I am delighted to walk in your company. In addition, I have been offered a blogging post with The Turban Times, focusing on the MENA region, as well as with the refugee relief organisation Carry The Future.

    Are you a budding writer? Would you like to train with Jo, make invaluable connections with other writers and kick-start your own path? Do consider applying for the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency at Families in Global Transition. It may be one of the best choices you ever make for yourself.

    Go ahead, look it up!

    About the author:

    Tone is an introverted anthropologist walking the expat trail. You can find her on her blog, The Other Trail.

  • 21 Aug 2017 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    One of the interesting things about diversity is the diverse interpretations of the word.

    Different cultures give different meanings. As an expat, I was always attracted to cultural diversity; meeting people from all over the world means diversity in languages, religions, manners, rules, and more.

    It is like an extreme version of the Japanese movie Rashomon; the film is known for a plot device that involves various characters providing subjective, alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident.    

    Or in our international reality, a room full of people who live the same moment and see it completely differently. The outcome is richness; it can be messy and full of misunderstandings, but never boring.

    Over the years, diversity was acknowledged and in many cases pushed in various industries.

    Global mobility was very much influenced by that. But interesting enough, in order to communicate our diverse background and knowledge, we need a common ground, a common language. In the expat world, it is English.

    I remember one of my first professional meetings: I was invited to participate in an international group of what looked to me like VIPs, big executives in their formal suits.

    I was paralyzed, couldn't say a word.

    Silently I was reacting to all I saw and heard, I had a lot to say, but didn't dare to speak up.

    When I finally did, I was lucky to be included and welcomed. People were curious about my accent, my somehow different perspective, and my story.

    The expat community is rich and diverse, but in many ways, we are lucky to hear and know the ones who dare to cross the barriers of language and culture -- they are hard ones to cross.

    You have to be willing to take a risk, constantly feel embarrassed, frustrated, tired, but at the same time when you cross the barrier there is a new world there: Stories that were out of reach in your language, people that are very different and inspiring, and occasionally you'll find people that will be inspired by you and your different story.

    I am writing this as a personal invitation to any expat who is hesitant to try and cross that barrier; please join us at the 2018 FIGT Conference in the Netherlands. 

    FIGT is a magical forum that encourages and embraces diversity of all kinds.  

    I can tell you in the words of our talented, funny FIGT17NL Master of Ceremonies, Rachel Yates, at this conference, being monolingual is almost the exception.

    So let’s celebrate our diversity by being there and connecting.

    Dare to express yourself!

    We know how it feels.

    Contributed by Daniela Tomer, #FIGT18NL Program Chair. Read more about Daniela here.

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