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.

  • 07 Aug 2019 6:46 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT's new content strategy aims to bring more original content from members to the wider community. We kick off August with a look into the "impact of relocation on family & friends" and September on "dual careers."

    As members of the FIGT Board left #FIGT2019, we were left with two big questions:

    1. How do we make this experience last all year, and not just for three days?

    2. How do we enable everyone in our community to feel more a part of this experience?

    Our solution is a new approach to FIGT's activities, creating more original content, bringing together those who regularly attend FIGT events and enabling them to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights with our wider community -- which in case you're wondering is 4,700 Facebook followers, 3,500 Twitter followers, and 550+ LinkedIn followers.

    We plan to focus our content on a relevant theme for four weeks at a time, kicking off every period in our monthly newsletter.

    For the next four weeks, we’ll be focusing on the impact of relocation on family and friendships, with original content from FIGT members Jane Barron, Valérie Besanceney, Megan Norton, Jerry Jones, Sundae Schneider-Bean, Mariam Ottimofiore, Jo Parfitt, Terry Anne Wilson, Dr Anne Lessle and more!

    Our next focus area will begin on September 15th, looking at dual careers. Please reach out to our Social Media team at social-lead@figt.org if you would like to contribute, have questions, or suggestions for future themes. 

    To access the content: Please join us on FacebookLinkedIn, or Twitter. Video content will be available for the month and then archived to the members only section of this website.

    Cover image by rawpixel from Pixabay

  • 08 Jul 2019 7:43 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Once again, it’s been great to see #FIGTMembers shining on our digital screens.

    It was great to hear that four of our #FIGTMembers had been named in the Top 25 Expat Podcasts list put together by the Feedspot blog.    A fantastic list of podcasters included  #FIGTMembers  - Amel Derragui of Tandem NomadsSundae Schneider-Bean, LLCDominika Miernik: DM Coaching and Louise Wiles of Thriving Abroad Congratulations to all of you.

    A video uploaded to our facebook page led to over 30 shares from our page and many comments and likes on our page and the pages that it was shared to. Those of us who were at #FIGT2019 were not surprised to see the response.  This was the Lightning session ‘Unlikely Connections’ where #FIGTMembers, Cath Brew and Jerry Jones shared the story of how their friendship began.  Comments and likes showed that it touched peoples’ hearts around the world as much as it did in Bangkok.

    Congratulations to #FIGTMember, Stephanie Ward who spoke at an amazing looking conference in Amsterdam.  The GTD conference focused on how to supercharge productivity and included a very impressive line-up of speakers.  Stephanie shared photos on her FB page which showed her speaking on a stunning stage set-up

    #FIGTMember, David Hodson, shared a tweet that was highly liked and retweeted.  The good news that the International Family Law Group, one of our organisational #FIGTMembers, and an #FIGTsponsor, was named as a Top Family Law Firm for 2019 by eprivateclient was well received.  We add our congratulations for this award to the firm!

    #FIGTMember and Board Director, Vivian Chiona, announced on LinkedIn that her business Expat Nest launched their Chinese language website.  This news was greeted with enthusiastic support by their followers and supporters acknowledging the value this will offer. 

    If you have some news we can share - please let us know!

  • 26 Jun 2019 1:13 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Anyone who has been involved in Families in Global Transition during the past several years knows what a stalwart sponsor International Family Law Group has been, and this year is no exception. IFLG partners David Hodson and Lucy Greenwood lead by example, modeling for fellow sponsors, FIGT members and conference attendees alike what it means to be committed to and actively involved in carrying out FIGT’s mission.

    In their daily work, David and Lucy work tirelessly to help international families be aware of, prepare for, and respond to the potential challenges of international moves, especially when marital relationships run into difficulties.

    Knowledgeable about topics, trends and research affecting people living across cultures, they continually develop new materials to help expats prepare for and help prevent the complications and ensuing struggles that can occur. As Lucy has noted, “sponsoring FIGT shows our client base and beyond that we are mindful of tailoring our work to international families’ needs.”

    At the FIGT2019 conference held in Bangkok earlier this year, David and Lucy shared their extensive knowledge and experience dealing with cross-cultural marital/family discord. They then went a step further, gathering a panel of experts to outline the broader financial, tax and legal implications that can occur – sometimes unwittingly − in globally mobile businesses and lives, and how to address them.

    In addition to the many in-depth conversations both shared with those present at the conference, Lucy donated considerable time and attention to the Program Committee, preparing the Lightning presenters to share their ideas and experiences with the FIGT community and beyond.

    Thank you David, Lucy and the entire team at IFLG for your crucial support to FIGT!

  • 11 Jun 2019 2:20 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It is with immense appreciation that we thank BAMBI – Bangkok Mothers and Babies International – as a local, host-country sponsor at the Platinum level of FIGT and our recent #FIGT2019 annual conference in Thailand. In turn, we also wish to acknowledge our Anonymous Donor, without whose generosity the financial resources wouldn’t have been available for BAMBI to serve in this role.

    BAMBI, a longstanding special project of the not-for-profit Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand, is in its 37th year of providing support and friendship through the common bond of parenthood. In terms of impact, BAMBI “provides a soft landing for young families new to Bangkok,” and then helps support them as they grow and thrive.

    “We are delighted to be a sponsor of FIGT because there are a lot of synergies between what we do,” said Emma McNerlin, Vice Chairwoman of BAMBI. “We recognize the challenges families face arriving in a new place, and being able to get orientated to the practicalities of where they are. FIGT, I think, helps people to think beyond that, towards the impacts of the decisions that they make for their (cross-cultural) lives.”

    The combined contributions made by our Anonymous Donor and BAMBI help FIGT continue to grow in its mission as a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them across cultures.

    Again, many thanks for your invaluable support!

  • 06 Jun 2019 12:23 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    The Renaissance St Pancras Hotel was this year’s spectacular backdrop for a groundbreaking night for Families in Global Transition. From humble roots around Ruth van Reken’s kitchen table in Indianapolis to a truly international organization celebrating its 21st year, FIGT has touched the lives of countless individuals, families and organizations navigating international transition.

    At this year’s ceremony, Families in Global Transition was recognized for this work, winning the Excellence in Employee & Family Support at the 2019 Relocate Awards.

    In addition, we delighted to see so many of our FIGT family also recognized, including Board Member Anne Lessle, winning Best Research Contribution - Academic Research, and ACCESS, receiving highly commended in the Excellence in Employee and Family Support.

    Ruth van Reken, one of those founding members, was heartfelt in her response:

    “When first hearing about this award, I felt a rush of emotions--joy, gratitude, awe, and completion. Joy that after the initial birth pangs four women felt at my kitchen table 21 years ago, the baby we ultimately gave away for adoption has indeed become an adult!

    Second, gratitude. Gratitude for all who have nurtured her into this adulthood.

    Third, awe. Awe that her amazing adult beauty and power are now visible and recognized by others.

    Fourth, completion. Completion such as parents feel while watching a child graduate and know their baby has been launched to continue growing in new ways not yet fully seen.

    Yes, the dream begun at the same kitchen table from which I write these words has happened above all we could have asked or hoped for. My heart is satisfied.”

    The Relocate Awards have earned a reputation as the industry gold-standard for their independence and recognition of creative and innovative approaches to global mobility. Over 60 entries made the independent judges’ shortlists this year, highlighting the huge energy employers, global mobility service providers, education consultants, schools, HR and global mobility experts are directing towards meeting today’s talent challenges in innovative ways.

    Echoing a sentiment that has long been at the core of FIGT’s mission -- to support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world - Relocate Global’s managing editor Fiona Murchie noted:

    “Every entry, shortlisted, highly commended and category winner, is the result of untold hard work and commitment to the cause of putting people at the heart of global mobility. All our winners have made an outstanding contribution to their companies and people’s lives and we congratulate everyone on their achievement.”

    On the evening of the Relocate Award Gala evening, FIGT Members Simon Fitch of TASIS and Deborah Valentine of ACCESS-Netherlands (both also shortlisted for an Award) hosted a friends of FIGT who available to join in the celebrations.

    True to the FIGT 'reunion of strangers' character, Deborah and Simon were delighted to reconnect with FIGT Sponsor, the International Family Law Group, represented by Lucy Greenwood, Anne Lessle and Claudine Hakim (also short-listed members); FIGT2019 conference presenter Edward Cole and colleague and Simon’s colleague Mary Mitchell.

    Added to the joyful group were some future members, as well as friends of friends: Samantha Davidson, Geraldine Collett and Stacey Vickers - yet another shortlisted candidate and ACCESS Partner from The British School in the Netherlands.

    All in all, a wonderful array of friends new and old!

  • 16 May 2019 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Having an FIGT member reflection Kitchen Table discussion at #FIGT2019 was simply wonderful. To hear from people during a conference, members and non-members alike; first-time conference attendees as well as returning conference attendees was very inspiring -- with some healthy challenging questions which can only make us better!

    One of the challenges I, personally, have had serving in this role is distance -- physically as well as experientially. My own motivation, expectations and reasons for joining FIGT do cloud my perceptions. Human nature does this. As open minded as we aim to be, it is only when we listen that we truly appreciate, and learn. So, first and foremost I would like to THANK those who came to the FIGT Membership Kitchen Table in Bangkok -- your views, insights, contributions to and participation in the discussion were truly inspiring!

    Our members of course, invest in us, FIGT -- so that we can exist as a resource for so many. We do however, have a duty towards that trust: in knowing how we can best serve those who invest, and trust us. So, since FIGT is far MORE than the conference, I would like to invite anyone reading our newsletter -- member or not, conference experienced or not -- to please accept this invitation to send me your thoughts, reflections, opinions (positive as well as critically constructive) about FIGT’s membership options, policies, fees and privileges. I know doing so by email means it is not ‘anonymous’ -- but I promise to keep you anonymous. I would love to develop a community based survey with the input from YOU versus simply my own thoughts.

    I have input from those who came to the Kitchen Table at #FIGT2019. Do you also have something to share? Please do so, by emailing me at membership@figt.org, so I can develop a survey for all our members, past conference attendees and newsletter subscribers in order to assist the person who will fill my role later this year in giving further direction and purpose to FIGT’s Membership.

    Thank You.

    Deborah Valentine
    Membership Director

  • 16 May 2019 8:47 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It was exciting to see #FIGTMember and Tandem Nomads founder, Amel Derragui, featured in the South Korean Magazine “Weekly Woman” alongside some powerful Korean women entrepreneurs.  In the article, Amel describes the career challenges for expat spouses and acknowledges the crucial role these spouses are for assignment success.   As the numbers of Korean expats increase around the world this will be a growing area of interest.

    We have been seeing amazing reports of book launches for #FIGTMember, and author, Mariam Ottimofiore.   There was one at her current home in Ghana, and at another place she calls home -Dubai, there was a join launch with Santa Fe Relocation, and the night before #FIGT2019 began in Bangkok. Congratulations Mariam on your beautiful book –it has received excellent reviews from many #FIGTMembers and experts.

    Featured not once but twice, by different writers, in the same edition of online and print magazine, Beijing Kids, was #FIGTMember, author and #FIGTBoardMember, Tanya Crossman.  Tanya shared her expert understanding of Third Culture Kids in the feature, Parenting Third Culture Kids; What are they and how can you help yours? P 45-46 and she is also quoted in the article Raising Third Culture Kids P 51-53.  It’s an interesting magazine wherever you may live and was great to see Tanya’s expertise highlighted.  It can be read online here.

    Congratulations to #FIGTMember and podcaster Sundae Schneider-Bean who shared the exciting news that her podcast had just broken into the Top 100 iTunes podcast in the USA for Places & Travel and is at number 28 in Switzerland!

    Impressive achievements from the few #FIGTMembers described here.  We also acknowledge the quiet achievements of each and every one of you as you live your global lives with grace, humour and resilience wherever you are.

  • 06 Apr 2019 4:40 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Breaking news - FIGT has been shortlisted for Relocate Global’s Think Relocate 2019 Awards in the Excellence in Employee & Family Support Category.  It’s tough competition, or you could say, – we are in good company, along with #FIGTMember ACCESS who are nominated for their work in The Netherlands assisting families as they adapt locally.

    Also nominated are #FIGTMembers; TASIS The American School in England in the School Providing Outstanding Relocation Support Category and #FIGTMember, #FIGTBoardChair and Researcher, Anne Lessle in the Best Research Contribution Category.   Anne will be presenting that research on expat spouse adjustment at #FIGT2019 so you can learn more about it at her Poster presentation at the conference. 

    #FIGTMember Joyce Jenkins is looking forward to a different conference.  Joyce is President of SIETAR UK so has been tweeting about the SIETAR EUROPA Congress in Leuven May 27-29th.  She will join us in Bangkok first, so if you want to learn more about SIETAR look out for Joyce.

    The big news for #FIGTMember Mariam Ottimofiore has been the upcoming release of her new book –‘This Messy Mobile Life’.  There were many congratulatory comments on Mariam’s FB feed.  She is very excited to receive her new book which will be launched just before #FIGT2019 and will be available in the bookshop.

    On LinkedIn, #FIGTMember Ellen Mahoney shared stories of her travels and work at International Schools including at Western Academy of Beijing.  She has also been sharing about her upcoming presentation at #FIGT2019  where she will share the results of research conducted with another #FIGTMember, Jane Barron of Globally Grounded, looking at transition support in International Schools.

    On a more sombre note #FIGTMember Trisha Carter, an expat kiwi, shared a tweet from Christchurch, New Zealand, at her old university where students honoured the souls who lost their lives in the Christchurch terrorist attack by gathering for the call to prayer. As she described it, a hauntingly beautiful way to remember.

    We wish all our #FIGTMembers well, especially those who are nominated for the Think Relocate Awards.  The announcement of the winners is on May 15th and we will be keeping our fingers crossed for FIGT!

  • 05 Apr 2019 1:55 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    As we countdown to FIGT2019, here are a couple of quick tips for those wondering about what to pack, where to eat and how to navigate Bangkok.


    Late April is going to be hot – around 28-34°C /82-94°F. Light clothes, sandals but with the A/C blasting inside, bring another layer to stay warm inside! Air quality is usually good in April.

    Getting Around

    If you’re staying in the Sukhumvit Road area around NIST, getting around should be pretty easy. You may even be able to walk to NIST from some of the hotels with whom FIGT has negotiated discounts. For example, the Movenpick is a 5-10 minute walk.

    Traffic can be a pain in Bangkok so if you’re planning to go far, then public transport is recommended – either BTS or Metro. There is no Uber but you can download the Grab app for a similar service – you can pay cash or use your credit card. You will see plenty of tuk tuks which can be very expensive but tempting as a visitor experience! There are usually motor taxis outside NIST but these are not recommended on main roads.

    Taxis from the airport are pretty easy; they charge a little more than the meter for the airport fee & possible tolls if you take the highway. If you are staying in the Movenpick, they have a shuttle that goes to Terminal 21/Asoke bts station, which is great for outside the NIST shuttle hours.

    The Neighborhood

    NIST is in the center of the city so lots of options for eating, shopping and just relaxing with new and old friends from FIGT!

    • Soi 11 is within walking distance of NIST with lots of bars and restaurants. There’s even a Starbucks for those who need their ‘fix’. Our team recommend Soho for NY pizza place and Brew, a bar with decent burgers in an attached restaurant.
    • Also within walking distance is Terminal 21, a huge mall with shopping and restaurant options. If you are staying in the Movenpick, they have a shuttle that goes to Terminal 21/Asoke bts station.
    • The team recommend Cabbages & Condoms which provides good Thai food and supports a great local non-profit.
    • Right outside NIST are a couple of street food vendors – our team recommends the fresh fried rice and the rotis that are sold at the end of the school day.

    What else should I check out?

    • There are lots of rooftop bars/restaurants which are fun, but it might be too hot.
    • Make sure you have some mango sticky rice before leaving.  It’s everywhere.
    • If you go to Wat Pho temple, where the reclining Buddha is, you can also get a fun astrology reading if you like that kind of entertainment.
    • There are many massage places to pick from & everyone will suggest a different favorite. For something quick, our team recommends Silk or Baan Dalah. If you want a full private experience, Asian Herb Association is pretty reliable.

    For more tips on making the most of your time in Bangkok, please visit https://www.figt.org/2019-Hotel

  • 05 Apr 2019 1:52 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transition has been fortunate to have Worldwide Speech as a longtime sponsor, but this year is special: not only are they renewing for a fourth year of sponsorship, they’re upgrading to Gold as well.

    Worldwide Speech was built with the mission of making it possible for children with special needs to attend and flourish in the international school setting. They are committed to giving children the opportunities they deserve; their therapists are licensed practitioners, and they make hard-to-find services like speech therapy and reading intervention available by providing sessions online.

    Founder Erin Long is herself a member of the expat community, having now lived in five different countries, and raising her own children in this lifestyle. She directly interacts with international schools and knows the community her company is serving.

    “Our primary service is providing online services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and academic tutoring,” Erin says. “Our value, however, is not just in our services, but our understanding of the international schools and mobile community.”

    Attending and sponsoring the FIGT organization and 2019 conference holds a two-fold benefit for Worldwide Speech.

    “FIGT offers a wealth of opportunity to speak with like-minded people and attend sessions that directly address my professional and personal life,” she explains. “As president of the company, I find FIGT is an amazing environment to meet and hear the stories of people and how they help their own children in the international setting.

    “I am also personally invested in the expat life and community as a person working, raising children, and creating a fulfilling life as an expat. This group helps me develop a clearer understanding of what works for families like my own.”

    We are thrilled to have Worldwide Services and Erin continue their sponsorship at the Gold level, and greatly appreciate their ongoing support. We look forward to seeing them in Bangkok at #FIGT2019!

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