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.

  • 14 Jun 2018 11:34 AM | Deborah Valentine

    Introducing 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.

    In this first instalment, a quote from FIGT’s Admin which sparked the idea to share, on a regular basis something about FIGT as well as its members: 

    “I don't know if it's coincidence, but over the last month or so I've received 3 email requests for referrals to members with expertise. I can't think when or even if I've received this type of request over the past 3 years.”

    Such a wonderful message to have received, and of course, in view of the new membership strategy, which is all about widening the reach and impact of FIGT as a whole, a testament to the small steps we have been taking in doing just that.

    The FIGT Public Directory is growing, and becoming increasingly referred to by people in search of connection, knowledge, services and support for their process of global transition. And, this #FIGTmember moment includes a few related points:

    a) Are YOU looking for a resource, contact perhaps at your point of destination, want to know what specialisations exist within FIGT? VISIT our Public Directory.

    b) Are YOU listed in the Public Directory? DO ensure your profile is updated to reflect your own ‘focus & expertise’ – which are searchable terms. Login in to your profile, and complete the blanks.

    c) Want to be listed in our Public Directory? BECOME a member.

  • 07 Jun 2018 11:02 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

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

    Longtime senior-level sponsor IFLG’s aim is to inform, educate, distil and advise families about complex international family law matters so that they can better prepare and be aware of the potential legal implications of a move abroad with their family in the event their relationship runs into difficulties. Recently, IFLG Partners David Hodson and Lucy Greenwood shared insights about their firm’s interaction with FIGT.

     “Our work covers all legal aspects of personal relationships and family breakdown from marital agreements,” David said, “including choice of jurisdiction, divorce, finances, applications for financial claims after a divorce abroad, recognition of marriages and divorces granted in different countries, enforcement of orders abroad, child arrangements, relocation (seeking an order of the court to move abroad with children where the other parent does not provide consent), paternity declarations, child abduction, adoption, surrogacy, and more.”

    “It remains common for us to hear of many sad stories arising from a lack of knowledge about such issues. Of course, we seek to unravel and rectify many often preventable tragedies for families, parents and children, but as with all things, prevention, planning and preparation is better than cure.”

    “Our specialism in international family work enables us not only to provide knowledge and advice about our area of law − an amount unrivaled, we would say! − but also means we are not 'tied' to any other third party experts, meaning that we can also build a tailored package of professional advisers for our clients as and when needed. We have a considerable international contact base in this regard. We travel to conferences abroad and are frequently invited to lecture on international family law topics. This also enables us to keep abreast of family law developments and trends around the world.”

    As for why IFLG chooses to sponsor the FIGT organization, David offered two reasons.

    “This is our target audience. These families and those whom they know in the international community are our primary client… But the second must also be mentioned. It comes back to the vision and the belief which caused us to set up the practice, and which remains very important. We are working with the international family community and this carries responsibilities… I think that responsibility extends to giving and giving back… There is inevitably an element to which we say we are a major player in the international family community, and being such a major player carries responsibilities which means encouraging those working and supporting that community.”

    In addition, Lucy offered a third reason.

    “I think it also shows our client base and beyond that we are mindful of tailoring our work to international families' needs. The number of clients and other professionals with international lifestyles, whom I mention FIGT to, is growing and they are all receptive and thankful to hearing about the organisation and to know that there is a resource where they can learn about the experiences of others who have lived through similar scenarios.”

    When asked why they attend the annual FIGT conference, both responded readily.

    “The conference is a chance to see and hear the far bigger picture,” David said. “I understand the situation of my clients far better as a consequence of attending, and therefore I'm able to do a far better job for them. In understanding comes better service… In hearing the stories and sharing the experiences, I can have a better understanding of ways to resolve matters… This creativity comes from understanding, which comes from listening. I don't have that listening experience in any other conference which I attend, to this extent. Other law conferences talk about legal solutions. This conference talks about life experiences. The latter has to come first.”

    “Listening is tremendously important in our work as through that we far better understand the needs of our individual clients,” Lucy added. “FIGT presents us with a unique opportunity to understand the broad and varied sorts of issues our clients with international lifestyles might face and why, for example, some client's might react differently to certain aspects of their cases than clients who have always had a stable setting for their relationship.”

    Read more about our great sponsors from our 2018 Conference here: Worldwide SpeechExpat Journals, Access.

  • 30 May 2018 1:11 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Written By Nikki Cornfield

    In March, I attended The Families in Global Transition Conference in The Hague as a Parfitt-Pascoe Writing Resident. I felt like I had stepped into a garden of my favorite flowers. Here were people like me from all over the world and we connected like a global family. Everyone had their own story to tell about their ride on the rollercoaster without seatbelts, and this had been the place to share them. The experience was to change the lens through which I viewed the past, the present and the future and gave another dimension to my vision of the world.

    Where it all began

    The Netherlands had always been one of my ‘homes’ and it held a special spot in my heart. This was my first overseas move and the birthplace of two of my children. Settling into my seat on the flight back to Adelaide I reflected on the previous struggles I had felt going backwards and forwards to one home or another and the pull of my heart to the places I was leaving behind. As the plane climbed steeply into the murky sky I felt the elastic that had been holding me here snap and release me. I was finally able to do this recently on leaving the UK and I realized how important it was to say goodbye and step confidently into the next chapter. To an expat home can mean many places but quite often we leave the door swinging on its hinges and us still hanging onto the door handle. I love the fact that I have found another sense of home in the community of FIGT and I will be back.

    Moving back to Australia

    Three years ago while we were living in Malaysia Andy was approached to fill a new role in South Australia. My gut instincts told me no and the first words out of my mouth were, “ I am not moving to Adelaide!” Renowned for its parochial attitudes and being ‘clicky’ I was warned it would be a difficult place to break into. But I was confident that if I tossed the same ingredients into the bowl, set the temperature I would get a cake I liked eventually, so we packed up the family and moved in search of a new adventure.

    We landed on a dark windy night into a deathly quite airport. Pushing our trolleys through the terminal I felt like a goldfish knocked out of its warm, safe bowl. I felt a rising panic at the shock of what I had done and for once I was lost for words. The terminal doors slid open and we were blasted by freezing cold air. Moving here had meant yanking up all my anchors and losing the support system that had rooted me there. Our children had left Marlborough College Malaysia and their expat friends and and we had said goodbye to a full and varied social life, ‘Best of British’ at The British Club and twice yearly trips back ‘home’ to the UK. All had been severed in one big blow and the loss of so much life giving blood drained me and reduced me to a blubbering wreck.

    As winter took a hold I became withdrawn and depressed, I was acutely homesick for my old life and an angry, tearful and resentful wife. Lonely and isolated I became crippled by panic attacks and struggled to sleep. I was ready to pack my bags and begged Andy to leave and go back. But as we all know going backwards is like paddling a boat against a current. I knew I was caught in a rip tide and that meant to survive there was only one direction to swim.

    My Front Door

    As I stood at the front door of our new home I could feel the air in my throat constricted. I felt trapped, like Rapunzel in the tower. I didn’t know a single person, and I felt invisible. I had arrived in new places before but this time the shock and contrast was debilitating. I had left behind a feeling of belonging, a life of friends and kids and dogs dropping in for a swim and had it replaced by a void of empty days that I didn’t know how to fill. It got harder to get my head off the pillow and I cried with sheer frustration and grief. I longed to be able to drive to see someone or just pop around the corner to a friends for coffee and Mum and Dad were sadly so far away. The kids were feeling the same loss and I felt so guilty to have uprooted them once more. They too had lost their sense of belonging, their links with the UK severed. They became these ‘different’ children from somewhere else. We had turned our world upside down and inside out and it felt like a wrong turn.

    The warmth inside

    Inside our new home we clung to each other. Our warmth and closeness being the only thing we had. We spent the long dark nights just talking. Inside represented my family, my security and the nest for us all; we talked endlessly about everything we had done before, what we missed and what we felt. It was like pulling the meat from the carcass to get to the bare bones, nothing was left unsaid. I questioned my decision over and over to come to this place so far from where we wanted to be, so removed from friends, from the people we loved and who loved us.

    My Global Backyard

    In my backyard, this became my private space where I could be myself and keep my links to the big wide world. Sitting on the balcony with the spectacular views of the stepped English gardens opposite and the graceful alpacas roaming in the paddock next door, I reached out to my anchors, my support system of friends and family around the world. At the front door I was this new comer with three heads, someone from somewhere else who had stories that no-one wanted to hear. Here I could keep connected to my tribe scattered near and far around the world. My phone was set with all the time zones and having regular conversations made me feel energized and alive. My Global Backyard flourished and grew as I watered it regularly and travelling to attend FIGT introduced me to new individuals around the world, another tree to watch flourish and grow.

    My Global Backyard is where I can just be me, included in the wonderful world I have come to love. Being here has taught me many lessons; to listen to my intuition and be true to myself and to recognize my love of travel is like a light that cannot be extinguished. I cannot share this narrow view of the world nor live in this confined space that has constricted me anymore. It’s time to go, I have given it my best shot, and I will remember the good times and not the bad. But I will be running to the plane…

    Nikki Cornfield is a British expat who grew up in the UK. She currently lives in The Adelaide Hills, a beautiful wine growing area of South Australia with her husband and three children. She started a career with British Airways, indulging her passion for travel but hung up her wings  in 2002 to make her first move overseas with her new born baby.

    She has been an expat for over 15 years, and has lived in The Netherlands, Perth, Singapore and Malaysia. A trained reflexologist and yoga/meditation teacher she is now focusing on her passion for writing and blogs at 'UP In The Air' where she explores expat life and world travel. You can connect with Nikki here: Website: www.nikkicornfield.com; Twitter @NicolaCornfield1; Facebook: fb.com/nikki.cornfieldInstagram: @nikki_cornfield

  • 18 May 2018 10:47 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Written by Claire Hauxwell

    On a cool morning in early October, I sat at my desk with a hot coffee in hand to find an email from Jo Parfitt.  “I am delighted to offer you the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency (PPWR) scholarship to the FIGT 2018…” were Jo’s opening words. Sitting at my desk with my mouth gaping open — I was dumbfounded… I must have read her email three times.

    At first, I was hesitant to accept. I’m not really sure why… maybe it was the fact I was making a commitment to something other than the school PTA or that I hadn’t even told my husband I’d applied for the scholarship. But, deep down I knew I wanted to embrace the opportunity. And, if I’m being completely honest… I was pretty chuffed with myself for being selected! I had turned 40 this year, and had been an accompanying spouse for almost 10 years. It was time for me to start figuring out who I was again. The PPWR and FIGT was one of the steps I needed to take in the journey of redefining myself.

    I am a planner. Type A to the bone. But, no matter how far in advance one lays the foundation for execution, it always seems like something goes off the rails at the last minute. Of course my husband ended up having to travel the same week as FIGT 2018, leaving me to figure out what to do with our children. Realistically this wasn’t a hard task — my friends stepped up without hesitation. But, the thought of our family being spread across three different continents had me cringing. What if something happened? All I could think of was #expatlife.

    When #expatlife popped into my head, it made me realize the people who would (hopefully) understand this concept were those awaiting me in The Hague. The entire reason for this trip was about, because and for #expatlife.

    As I nervously boarded the plane, I began thinking about all the wonderful things I had heard about FIGT. Simultaneously I couldn’t resist feeling excited, anxious and curios about the experience before me. I think part of my nerves were due to the fact I was not only attending the FIGT conference for the first time, but as a PPWR writer too. For me it was time to ‘show up to the dance’ and really get out of my comfort zone.

    The FIGT conference is full of smiles, hugs and laughter. It has a familiar atmosphere I can only describe as a family reunion. My first day I hovered against the wall like a wallflower. FIGT may be like a family reunion, but it was a family I wasn’t part of… I knew no one. I take that back — I knew no one in real life. The expat circle is a small community spread around the world and connected by people and words — words in books, magazines or blogs written by individuals just like me scattered around the globe. It finally dawned on me — I was surrounded by virtual friends… bloggers, writers and social media influencers. I didn’t ‘know’ them, but I felt like I did.

    But, here’s the best part: The moment I felt like I became part of the ‘family’ was when someone out of no where walks up to me and asks, “Are you My Theory On Blooming?” I was stunned. Someone knew me too. This small moment changed my inner-self’s view about being part of the FIGT conference. It only takes one comment to change your perception or create a connection… and it can come from anyone. It can be in The Hague, with someone you’ve never met, who lives a world away and speaks a different language than you. I’m betting anyone you speak to at an FIGT conference can relate to you in some way.

    The FIGT conference reminded me that I’m not on this crazy rollercoaster alone. #expatlife is not always the glamorous and exotic skewed reality so many people think it is. It’s real and raw with some added bonuses. I learned a lot about #expatlife and myself during FIGT 2018. The knowledge of #expatlife is in abundance during the FIGT conference with experts on resilience or TCK’s or transitions. FIGT is not all academic or scientific theory — It’s the real life stuff too. With real people, who live real lives all over the world. I found FIGT to encompass all aspects of #expatlife. And, it was a great opportunity to learn, grow and help redefine myself in this small world.

    This is FIGT to me, and this is #expatlife.

    Claire Hauxwell is an American living abroad, who has over 9 years of expat experience. She loves the life she lives, but recognizes her unconventional lifestyle is not for everyone. Claire choses to embrace the challenges expat life throws at her, and opts to bloom where ever she is planted. David, her husband of 15 years, along with her two daughters and two dogs, navigate a global life full of adventure that has lead them to Europe, Latin America and Africa.

    Claire is the author of the blog My Theory On Blooming. Here she ponders her off-beat lifestyle and the trials and tribulations of life living abroad, all while not taking herself too seriously. Claire’s theories are her thoughts and concepts about how to navigate this crazy thing we call life — no scientific proof, it’s just like having a conversation with a friend.

    You can also follow her on Instagram: @mytheoryonblooming, Facebook: @mytheoryonblooming and Twitter: @mytheoryonbloom

  • 11 May 2018 11:47 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    In anticipation of FIGT’s 20th anniversary celebration conference this year, we received many notes of congratulations from people who once attended, or have been affiliated with FIGT in the past but were unable to attend. Among those received, was a note from the company which used to administer FIGT’s membership system, website etc.

    “I wanted to wish you warm congratulations on the 20 years and the work you have done. Having supported the organization for a few years as the management office we came to greatly appreciate the mission of FIGT, the enrichment you gave professionals in family transition support, and the tangible sense of belonging you provided so many people. Heartfelt good wishes on your celebration of 20 years. Simply put, this world and our lives are better because of FIGT.  Brian Gorg, Collie Gorg Group.

    Extending the enrichment

    Since launching our Public Directory we have been able to direct inquiries from the public to the support and resources they were looking for. Members within our Public Directory who have a service or product can be searched by location or expertise by anyone, and in the near future will be sharing their knowledge through our blog.

    The introduction of a new membership level, introduced at 2018 FIGT conference had just this in mind: enriching lives and giving a sense of belonging to those within our community: not only for our members, or those who have attended conferences, but also for those new to FIGT or global living. While individual members can interact, learn from one another, share insights, look back on past conference material, take advantage of webinars etc.; our new small-business/associate/non-profit level make something similar available to the public – to members and non-members.

    Our members, at all levels further enrich FIGT as it is because of their support, commitment to and belief in FIGT that we are able to continue to do the work we do. Without our members FIGT would not be what it is, and for this we thank them all.

    Not yet a member? Find out more here.

    Know someone or an organisation looking for support pre-move or in a new location? Search our Directory  or check our Affiliates pages, there may be a local chapter of FIGT near you.

    Want to change your membership status, to become a part of the Public Directory? Contact Judy, our Administrator.

    Have questions about becoming a member? Contact Deborah, our Membership Chair

    Reunion of Strangers

    In the book, Reunion of Strangers, which was given to all 2018 Conference attendees, and is available (in pdf)  to all who become a Member until the end of 2018, Maryam Afnan Ahmad said this at FIGT 2014:

    “The best things about FIGT is the openness to interact and learn what everyone brings. Secondly, it is always cathartic to met people who are immediately able to understand our shared struggle to create a life when it is so transitory. Thirdly, I am just blown away by the fabulous research, tools and services people are creating.”

    Copies of Reunion of Strangers can also be purchased as a paperback at Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk.

  • 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.


  • 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.

Site Search:

Mailing address:
Families in Global Transition

C/o Campbell Rappold & Yurasits LLP
1033 S Cedar Crest Blvd
Allentown, PA 18103


+1 (703) 634-7400
Skype: figt.administrator

© Families in Global Transition, Inc.