Anastasia Lijadi joins the FIGT Board in the newly created role of Research and Education Director. She paints her vision for FIGT as a knowledge hub where people can find best practices and latest info to promote the wellbeing of TCKs and globally mobile families.
Can you please describe your FIGT role?
My vision is to establish FIGT as a hub where researchers and counselors can share the latest findings and best practices to sustain the wellbeing and quality of life of people crossing cultures around the world — as declared in FIGT’s mission.
Need opinions on the best time to move your children? What should I consider when choosing the right school for my TCK? What options do “trailing spouses” have to thrive in the new home? How to cope with the emotional roller-coaster of repatriation? Who can TCKs approach for advice in dealing with adulthood?
The FIGT would be the go-to place to find answers.
FIGT has rigorous research-based information, recommended books based on personal experiences or an ethnographic lens on high-mobility populations. FIGT has connected and collaborated with schools and educators around the world and is linked to a global network of affiliates, professional coaches, and counselors.
Hence, in my role, I focus on establishing this hub to connect with researchers, educators, and experts in the field, and to engage with and acknowledge their work in our annual conference.
What inspired you to stand for this particular office?
I want to quote Martin Seligman, the positive-psychology guru:
Just as the good life is something beyond the pleasant life, the meaningful life is beyond the good life.
For me, one way to make a meaningful life is serving as Research and Education Director in FIGT.
When I was a trailing spouse with two small TCKs, I went back to university and pursued my doctorate. I found that one way to understand the phenomenon that was happening around me (high-mobility lifestyle, identity confusion, and shifts in human values due to social change such as migration and crossing cultures) was through research, where plausible and valid knowledge and guidelines were offered.
Furthermore, I believe that schooling is still the best way to transfer knowledge.
In this Research and Education Director capacity, I hope to facilitate knowledge transfer from research — through education — to empower all stakeholders involved in the lives of people crossing borders.
Anything you particularly hope to accomplish this year? What do you look forward to?
I believe in aiming big but starting by taking small steps and collaborating with other FIGT volunteers. For example, to engage researchers, FIGT needs to create a space for them to exchange views and to share their work. I value the inputs and collaborations from my colleagues of the FIGT Research Network Affiliate and will maintain good communications with co-chairs Sarah Gonzales and Danau Tanu.
I also appreciate the support from the Program Director, in supporting research-based presentations at the annual conference.
To reach out to educators, I will collaborate with the Membership and Affiliate Directors.
Hopefully, in the upcoming FIGT2020 conference in Bangkok, we will see a greater presence of researchers and educators based in Thailand and Southeast Asia, who will hopefully become FIGT members.
Your favorite thing about FIGT / being a part of FIGT?
The best thing about FIGT for me is that I don't have to explain myself too much. FIGT has a language that every member understands.
Can you share a random piece of info about yourself please?
I love to paint, even though my best fans are limited to my mother and my family. During my adolescent years (30+ years back, living in Jakarta, Indonesia), most of my paintings — pointillism only with black dots — were of snow, huge lakes, and mountains, created using just a Rotring pen. But when university, work, and seeing the world took over my life, my passion for painting became neglected.
After globe-trotting for many years, my career led me to Bali, Indonesia, where I met my husband and got engaged. When I called my mother to share the good news, her first question was not what I expected.
Not who he is, or what he does, or what I like about him. She asked me simply where his hometown was and I answered “Austria.”
There was silence for a while, then my mother softly reminded me that I have always dreamt of living there.
She faxed one of my paintings, a panorama of lakes surrounded by snowy mountain — I was unconsciously drawing Austria! Well, I fell in love with a man that fulfilled my dream! Am I truly blessed or was it simply coincidence?
We have (partially) repatriated to Austria since 2017; you may say I have been living in a dream ever since!
Please share some words of wisdom for globally mobile people.
Bloom wherever you are (re)planted!
You can learn more about Anastasia in the board member bios section. FIGT members can see Anastasia's presentation "The international school is not so international after all: The experiences of Third Culture Kids." She also led an Early Bird Forum on "Sustaining Quality of Life in Repatriation" at FIGT2019.
Also: learn more about the FIGT Research Network Affiliate.