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 expatriates and cross cultural individuals and their families. Contributions are a privilege for Small Business and Corporate membership levels only and you can submit up to 3 posts per year. Please use our online form below to submit a blog for consideration or contact blogeditor@figt.org.

  • 03 Sep 2018 11:30 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)
    FIGT is fortunate to have supportive sponsors. This is the fifth of a short series of articles highlighting those whose invaluable financial and professional support helps keep FIGT growing.

    A first-time FIGT sponsor in 2018 is RelocateGuru, owned by Nicole Blyth. Her company grew out of a personal observation about an obvious need she encountered in her own life after moving home 16 times: how to feel like a local in a new place, right from the start, without having to research hundreds of websites.

    “In this day and age, I believe it takes too long to organise a move and feel a part of a new community,” Nicole explains. “I felt it was about time that there was a solution that helps everyone feel like a local anywhere. So I created the RelocateGuru app to be a community where we can share all the local knowledge we accumulate when we live in a place − all over the world − so that we can help the next person feel more welcome. Using the app, you can start making friends and connections in your new town before you get there, find which neighbourhood is best for you, read local recommendations, find businesses, and save everything you need to know about your new home in one place. Like having a new best friend in your new town giving you all the insider tips and tricks before you've even packed a box!”

    “Every time I talk to strangers about the RelocateGuru app, they all tell me stories about the stress and hassle they had and how they wished they had the RelocateGuru app to help them in the past. Whether it was getting a house in the wrong part of town, to not knowing there was an easier way to get a bank account set up, or how to choose the right school: there are hundreds of things to figure out for the first time. The more people who share all those insider tips about the places they’ve lived that we wish someone had told us, the better the community gets for everyone.’

    For Nicole, it was experiencing her first FIGT conference in 2017 that brought both a sense of community and a desire to support that community through sponsorship.

    “The message and community of FIGT align so well with the mission of RelocateGuru to help everyone feel like they belong anywhere they move in the world, that I was very proud to have the opportunity to be a sponsor this year. From talking to attendees, speakers, organisers and other sponsors, all from different sectors and with different reasons for being at FIGT, there was a commonality that we shared, where questions like "where are you from?" didn't matter. Instead, we were all interested in each other's stories and the similarities we shared in our experiences, no matter where or how far we have travelled.”

    “After attending the first year, I was blown away by how welcoming everyone was and how I instantly felt like I belonged − for the first time in a really long time! I met people like they were long lost friends even though we had only connected online, and learnt so much throughout the conference. So I knew that if I had the opportunity to support this special community I would.”

    Attending the 2018 conference as a sponsor, Nicole gained valuable feedback on the RelocateGuru app directly from the very people who can contribute to it, help spread the word about it, and benefit from using it.

    “In particular, the conference highlighted the importance of expat spouses being an essential support to overseas assignments that don't often get the recognition they deserve. I hope that RelocateGuru would be a useful resource that supports these unsung heroes, helping to make the practical and emotional challenges of transition to somewhere new easier. It was great to get feedback on what everyone wished the app could do and this is having a direct impact on how it is being developed. The collective knowledge we all have from so many places from around the world, this community has always been my ideal first members of the app. The feedback from everyone has been incredibly useful to help make RelocateGuru the community and resource you will want to download and use whether you are moving or just want to help others feel welcome and be the resource you want to tell everyone about!

    Nicole also believes the RelocateGuru app will help benefit those offering coaching, training, counseling, relocation and other needed services for the globally mobile community.

    “There are so many wonderful FIGT members that have services that support expats, I hope RelocateGuru will be a useful tool and a place to share all these fantastic businesses and resources so they can be found more easily, and help more people feel a part of their new community quicker and enjoy their new chapter to the full.”

    As a sponsor, Nicole and RelocateGuru help ensure that we better support people living, working and studying across cultures throughout the year. Sponsorship is also vital to help fund our annual conferences, and keeping conference registration fees lower than practically any other three-day event in the world.

    “The value of coming to FIGT is that as people, we develop stronger relationships when we meet each other face to face. There is something that video calls can't quite match, and coming together makes understanding different points of views and new ideas much easier. It also sparks informal debate and deeper conversations that go on well into the night! Attending the conference this year was a great opportunity to delve deeper into the issues that expats are facing, to understand them in more detail so that I can design the RelocateGuru app to be even better and help make living a global mobile life easier to navigate.”

  • 25 Aug 2018 10:22 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    For the past five years, the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency has been a vital part of the Families in Global Transition Conference. The opportunity for budding writers to receive formal training, mentoring, writing assignments and publishing opportunities has been eagerly embraced by the FIGT and expat writing communities.

    So, it is with real sadness that FIGT is announcing that PPWR will not be a part of #FIGT2019. 

    Jo Parfitt, the driving force behind the PPWR, is currently unable to continue in her driving role of managing the Residency.  Those of you who follow Jo’s Monday Morning Musings will be aware of some of the personal challenges Jo is facing and her need to prioritise balance and self-care.  

    All of us, on the FIGT Board, appreciate and understand Jo’s decision. We will review the writing residency concept in the future.  For now, we wish Jo strength and blessings.

    There have been 22 writing residents, 100s of articles and 100s of thousands of words.  We thank Jo (and her partner in PPWR, Robin Pascoe) for the legacy of writers and writings they have created. 

  • 11 Aug 2018 10:35 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We’ve noticed several FIGT members popping up in our newsfeeds over the past few months so we started taking notes to share and celebrate with you all. Don’t worry -there were no scandals - it was all good news!

    Featuring significantly was Katia Vlachos.  Her recently published book, ‘A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment’ hit the headlines in different places.  From the Financial Times business books of the month in June to Relocate Global Magazine  LIDPublishing and the expatnetwork Katia’s work was admired and appreciated.  Congratulations Katia!

    Katarina Holm-Didio, one of FIGT’s NY Tri-State Affiliate leaders and a former board member, recently wrote an article for BR Anchor Publishing about having a baby while living abroad and she referenced us –and another #FIGTmember, Lisa Ferland.  Thanks Kat.

    Child Psychologist and Expat Relocation Consultant, Kate Berger, was interviewed as a recognised expert in an article for the Dutch News about Dutch repatriates. It is well worth reading.

    British based FIGT member, Louise Wiles, ran a comprehensive Global Mobility Virtual Summit featuring presentations from several FIGT experts. 

    Dania Santana, Multiculturalism, Diversity, and Inclusion Expert was excited to learn her proposal had made it to the community voting for the 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival for her Panel Idea: The Hispanic Marketing Sauce: Are we all Mexican? Over 5,700 proposal were received so getting through to the voting stage is a big achievement! You can support her by voting up on the Panel Picker site.

    Naomi Hattaway, has launched an inspiring new initiative –the I am a Triangle Impact Initiative. If you heard her speak at our conference earlier this year in The Hague you will know of her desire to make an impact in the world and her belief that those of us who have global experiences are in a unique position to do so. The first project she has chosen to focus on is one led by another of our amazing members Marilyn Gardner, educating nurses in Kurdistan – you can support this great opportunity and have an impact on a different part of the world.

    Speaking of different parts of the world, our Facebook feed has been busy with posts by FIGT members in transition, telling their stories of their latest global moves with beautiful writing that takes us on the journey with them.  We wish you safe journeys and smooth landings Maryam Afnan Ahmad, Lucille Abendanon and Mariam Ottimofiore and look forward to more details in blogs yet written.

    And Tanya Crossman may have won the award for publishing the first #FIGTMember blog about our next conference! She tells us who should go to #FIGT2019 in Bangkok and why!

    If you are an #FIGTMember and want to share your news for future editions please email us.

  • 10 Aug 2018 10:50 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    A new monthly message from our Membership Chair: for members & non-members alike. An opportunity to remind the community of the treasure of resources, solutions and opportunities this broader community has to offer.

    Before I share this months’ #FIGTmember moment ….how excited are you about the announcement made regarding #FIGT2019? I for one, am already looking forward to the excitement of a new location, the new discussions which will no doubt result and of course, hoping as many of those I have connected with in the past - at conferences or online - will be there too.

    As exciting and important as our annual conference is, we know, as Board members that not everyone can attend. This was in part one of the reasons a new membership strategy was launched in The Hague at #FIGT18. We wanted to extend the dynamics of the connections made between people drawn to FIGT year round - to those who are able to attend a conference, as well as those who are not able. 

    We reduced our annual membership to make FIGT more accessible; we introduced the Public Directory for organisations, international schools, small businesses and non-profits to be available as resources to all (member as well as non-member) and we have opened a group on Facebook for our members who are on Facebook. To date our groups on FB have either been conference or theme related - but we want to invite all to the discussion - regardless of whether or not they have attended a conference. So, if you are a member but have not yet asked to join the FIGT Members Facebook group, please do so. 

    All our members are welcome to join and share who they are, what they are doing, call for help for resources as they move, arrive to of leave from a location.

    We appreciate not everyone is on Facebook, so to those who are not, please take advantage of the Members Only section of our website, where you can also reach out to fellow members with a question, suggestion or conversation. And, less active - but with intentions to grow - we are also on LinkedIn - as a page and a group.

    Rest assured, as is our practice, a Conference Group will be opened for 2019 Conference attendees as soon as conference registration opens.

    Two final reminders to our current members:

    Are you listed in the Public Directory? DO take a moment to ensure your profile is updated and complete. You can do so by logging in. Having difficulty? Get in touch with Judy, our Administrator who would be happy to help uploading your profile picture or logo.

    Take a look & listen: Sir Mark Moody-Stuarts’ Keynote presentation at #FIGT18 is now available. This keynote presentation resulted in much discussion, and debate - about corporates being at the FIGT ‘table’: should they?, why?, what could they bring to the discussion or take from the experience? Sir Mark’s Keynote address is now available to all our Members.

    Lastly, interested in becoming an FIGT Member? We did announce a new, more accessible fee structure and categories at #FIGT18 which you can read about here.

  • 08 Aug 2018 10:34 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is fortunate to have supportive sponsors. This is the fourth of a short series of articles highlighting those whose invaluable financial and professional support helps keep FIGT growing.

    Another multi-year FIGT sponsor is Worldwide Speech, owned by Erin Long. Erin has lived as an expat for many years, and understands the unique lifestyle and choices expat families must make when choosing the best education options for their children. She and her team are familiar with the nature of a mobile, cross-cultural education requiring children to transition from one international school to the next. This is reflected in the wide variety of educational services they offer online, including speech and occupational therapy, reading and math intervention/tutoring, Individualized Education Program (IEP) equivalents, and teacher training for classroom modifications.

    All of Worldwide Speech therapists and teachers are certified in their disciplines and specially trained to teach and provide therapy online. As Erin explains, “We can help a huge range of children. Our clients range from kids that need minor support at school to kids requiring various types of therapy and classroom modifications.”

    Working with and supporting globally mobile families is the very reason Erin’s Worldwide Speech has been such a stalwart sponsor of FIGT. “We decided FIGT was the ideal organization to sponsor because our clients are children in constant transition. We understand their needs and the special challenges they may face with education in international school settings. Our goal is to reach out to families and let them know they can find help for their children.”

    Attendance at the yearly FIGT conference is a natural result of sponsorship. “The value in attending the annual conference is two-fold,” Erin says. “We learn about the various challenges families are facing when looking at education options for their children. We see the various ways people approach and think about their children’s needs. The atmosphere at FIGT allows people to be honest and discuss their concerns in a group of like-minded people.”

    Erin points out that she also personally gains invaluable information at the conference as she and her family live a life in transition as well. Through FIGT, she has learned about the effects constant moving has on children, and uses this knowledge to inform her decisions, both professionally, and with her own children.

    Read more about our great sponsors from our 2018 Conference here: Expat Journals, Access, International Family Law Group.

  • 01 Aug 2018 1:34 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We are excited to announce the theme for the first FIGT conference to be held in South East Asia!

    Connect. Lead. Change.

    Families in Global Transition 2019 Conference is welcoming new perspectives to inspire and support people in transition using the theme ideas: Connect. Lead. Change. The Request for Proposals (RFP) describes the theme further.

    Connect: How the challenges and advantages of virtual and physical connections (or disconnections) impact values, families, careers, identities, friends, traditions, languages, cultures, and rituals.

    Lead: Ways of inspiring and cultivating leadership, qualities of leaders, and research on the subject matter as directly relevant to people in global transition.

    Change: How global mobility drives personal and professional change, innovative thinking, and adaptation to a constantly shifting environment.

    Program Director, Daniela Tomer, revealed that the theme emerged from the experience of the 20th Anniversary Conference in The Hague in 2018. There, the Program Committee observed that FIGT has become a platform for connections to be made, for leadership to be developed and displayed, and a platform to call for and empower change.

    As Tomer described, “People come to FIGT who are interested in global transitions, to learn, to connect with others who have experience or expertise; to make new connections, to deepen connections formed at previous conferences and to connect in real life with those they may have previously connected with online. This year we saw FIGT presenters leading great initiatives for change.”

    She expressed the hope that presenters from all sides of the global transition – the owners of the move, the movers themselves -the TCKs, CCKs, expat partners, the supporters of the moves -the educators, therapists, counsellors and others who can speak to an aspect of the theme, “will find different ways of looking at these ideas and provide opportunities for diverse and exciting presentations.”

    For those who haven’t encountered us before FIGT 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. 

    To learn more about the RFP and how to submit a proposal click here.

  • 27 Jul 2018 8:44 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is fortunate to have supportive sponsors. This is the third of a short series of articles highlighting those whose invaluable financial and professional support helps keep FIGT growing.

    Expat Journals, guided journals to support the wellbeing, growth and development of successful transitions for expats on their global journeys, is the brainchild and joint venture of Trisha Carter − organizational psychologist, cultural intelligence expert, and international coach and trainer with expertise in cross-cultural adaptation – and Rachel Yates – web designer, writer, speaker and creator of online relocation resources for individuals and families. Recently the dynamic duo shared insights about their business, sponsorship of FIGT, and what they gain from attending the annual conferences.

    “We want the FIGT audience to understand the critical role that journaling can have,” Rachel said. “In cross cultural growth, in the development of cultural intelligence, and in managing change on a personal, social and emotional level, journaling really is an amazing practice to build. Trisha has long been a leader in this field and is the true brains behind the Expat Journals process, and we want people to know and understand why Finding Home Abroad and the upcoming additions to the Expat Journals toolkit are such powerful, expert and culture-centric tools.”

    “We sponsor FIGT for a number of reasons,” she continued, “including our own passion for the organization, our recognition that it is one of the foremost forums for research / expert-led discussion in the cross-cultural field, and our desire to share our work with people who can use it both personally and professionally.”

    Sponsorship has also provided them both inspiration and ideas for product development.

    “The conversations we have with people about how journaling has helped them and how our publications have supported that,” Trisha explained, “are really encouraging and keep us working on designing new versions.”

    For Rachel, each year’s conference provides “networking opportunities, the ability to share the background development / underpinning theory, as well as proudly show people the practical product. It’s also an opportunity for Trisha and me to connect in person, and the ability to meet / reconnect with supporters of our personal and professional journey.”

    “Don’t forget it was attending FIGT conferences where we met in real life!” added Trisha. “I met Rachel virtually on Twitter over the conference hashtag, and loved her writing and the look of her web designs. When I wanted to pull this project together, I knew her expat systems and processes would be exactly what the journals needed to add the detail side of the journals.”

    Read more about our great sponsors from our 2018 Conference here: Worldwide SpeechAccess, International Family Law Group.

  • 20 Jul 2018 11:32 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Exciting News!

    The 2019 FIGT conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand.

    FIGT President, Kristine Racina has signed an agreement with the NIST International School to host the conference on 26th -28th April 2019.

    Kristine says: “These are exciting changes for FIGT. We are taking the conference to Asia and the Southern Hemisphere where it will also be accessible to a whole new group of people who have experienced, or are in the middle of, global transitions. It is also the first time that FIGT has partnered with a well-known international school to host an annual conference.”

    FIGT Board is honored to host the 2019 conference at the NIST International School in Bangkok — a school that recognizes the impact of global transitions and aims to help its students build resilience for these transitions.

    Many of our conference attendees will feel at home in an international school environment having experienced it themselves as children or parents, or having worked in that environment.

    More details will be released soon including the conference theme and a request for proposals. To be sure you stay up-to-date, sign up for our newsletter

    For now, block out the dates, 26-28 April 2019 in your diary and start spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #FIGT2019.

  • 28 Jun 2018 3:18 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is fortunate to have supportive sponsors. This is the second of a short series of articles highlighting those whose invaluable financial and professional support helps keep FIGT growing.

    Recently Deborah Valentine, Executive Director of ACCESS - the dynamic volunteer, not-for-profit organization serving the needs of the international community in The Netherlands – was asked what ACCESS services she wanted the FIGT community to be most keenly aware of, she shared these insights.

    “(We want people to know) that we offer, for expats/relocations to the Netherlands, the ‘go-to’ place for answers to the questions people have when relocating to the Netherlands, AND that we offer STARS – an acronym for Spouses Trailing and Relocating Successfully - a place to find community, grow and use their time productively as they search for a job, or figure out their next step.”

    As for why ACCESS chose to sponsor the FIGT organization, Deborah drew parallels between the two.

    “FIGT is built on and sustained by the same mission and principles of ACCESS – to contribute to successful transitions,” she said. “In our case, though, we are a local resource at a destination (i.e., The Netherlands), while FIGT is global.”

    “Furthermore, as Director of a non-profit myself,” she continued, “I know and appreciate that support is needed to allow the organisation to thrive. So, when it (FIGT) was on our doorstep in The Netherlands, sponsoring it was a way of ‘putting my money where my mouth was.’

    In terms of being a member and attending the annual FIGT conference, Deborah shared the value she gains.

    “Despite no longer transitioning globally myself, I can be reminded of the challenges involved (long overcome personally), and learn about the ones which persist, or are new. It keeps me ‘fresh’ on the realities, and I learn something, every year. As a sponsor I was also able to invite others – all unfamiliar with FIGT – to the table, and share this great resource and experience with them. That too was very rewarding.”

    Read more about our great sponsors from our 2018 Conference here: Worldwide SpeechExpat Journals, International Family Law Group.

  • 20 Jun 2018 12:15 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We can hardly believe it’s been three months since our successful 2018 conference in the Hague.

    Since then, some talented writers within our community have written blog posts sharing their reflections and takeaways from the conference.  Here are some highlights from FIGT members.

    Jodi Harris from World Tree Coaching - Reflections on the Families in Global Transition Conference 2018 The Hague

    “All over FIGT I was meeting people who were showing up to the conference for the first time! And there were people who were writing for the first time, starting a globally mobile business for the first time, creating a Facebook live video for the first time, and so, so much more. See – this is what community does! It gives you the guts to try new things. “

    Sundae from Expat Happy Hour - Changing the Conversation as Families in Global Transition

    “I flew 13,300 km to be with my tribe. It meant no sleep. Full dehydration. And a huge kink in my neck. And it was totally worth it.”

    Lisa Ferland from KnockedUp Abroad - The 20th Anniversary of FIGT - Perhaps the Best Yet

    “With so much value in the actual presentations, it is easy to forget the gold found in the hallway conversations and at the lunch tables. During lunch times, I tried to find a table where I didn’t know anyone and introduce myself. In doing this, I discovered two women who live in Stockholm (funny how we met in The Hague instead of our own shared city), and US-based educators working on getting kids outdoors (one of my passions). It’s a fantastic feeling when you find so much in common with random strangers at a conference. FIGT is truly an inclusive space.”

    Nicole Blythe from Relocate Guru - Finding Your Purpose

    “One of my favourite things about this particular conference is that you meet people in real life that I had only 'meet' on social media months beforehand. It feels more like catching up with long lost friends instead of the usual business events where it can feel hard to make a real connection with anyone. It felt really special to thank (and hug) people in person who have been supporting me from as far as Tokyo, New York or Dubai.”

    Meg Norton from Adult Third Culture Kid Blog – FIGT2018

    “Attending the conference feels like a family reunion. This year, I felt like I was seeing my older sisters present on their bad-a$$ consultancies and businesses. I felt like I was sharing both my professional and personal news to my inquisitive aunts (they were curious about my love-life even). And, I felt like I was introducing my friends (my first time attendee panelists) to my extended relatives I haven’t seen in a year. It is a cosy and secure feeling at this conference. I felt the support and the space to be vulnerable.”

    Vivian Chiona from Expat Nest - Managing a Health Condition Abroad… 16 Strategies to Support You

    “It can be extremely stressful when we or someone we love becomes ill abroad. As well as the (very normal) physical and mental turmoil of illness, we often find ourselves dealing with additional challenges that are unique to international life.

    At the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference in March 2018, I got together with professional healthcare and vitality coach Carolyn Parse Rizzo for a “Kitchen Table Conversation” on exactly this topic.”

    Rita Rosenback and 7 other writers at MultiCultural Kid Blogs - Families in Global Transition Conference: Reflections

    “Once again, the magical FIGT conference atmosphere emerged instantly, from the morning of day one and I would love to be able to share this experience with many more of you at next year’s conference!”

    Thank you to those writers for writing about your experience and bringing the FIGT message out to the wider community.

    Only a small fraction have been highlighted here but to make sure you don’t miss out on great posts from the members of our community, LIKE and FOLLOW our Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn

    We hope you will join us too at next year’s conference.  Sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss all our latest news.

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