Research, Resiliency and Writing

Looking back on the Families in Global Transition Conference which I attended just over a week ago, 3 things struck me in particular:


I heard several attendees say that hard facts are what they need; both in their own work and in order to convince others of its value.  So it was good to see that there was a strong focus on research this year.  The opening keynote speech was given by Anne Copeland, a leader in the field of intercultural transitions (many of her research findings are freely available on her website).  There was a special workshop for members of the FIGT Research Network to discuss best practices and their current projects.  And on Friday the afternoon’s sessions were clustered around 5 different research presentations on various aspects of support for globally mobile families.


Resiliency is definitely the new buzz word.  I heard it over and over again.  The cynical side of me might say that this is code for “you’re on your own, buddy” when it comes to organizations supporting expats at a time when most are looking for ways to cut costs.  But in truth expats do need to be resilient, no matter how much assistance is provided.  Duncan Westwood described it as “the ability to bounce back” and that’s a life skill we could all use, expat or not.


We expats do seem to be compelled to write about our experiences whether it’s blogs, books or bylines, as Jo Parfitt’s presentation was entitled.  The bookstore did a brisk trade and many of the authors were there in person.  Over dinner, Tina Quick and I traded repatriation stories and when she mentioned that many tips in her book “The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition” applied to adult repatriates too, I decided to buy it.  Having read excerpts of Alan Paul’s story of his life as an accompanying spouse, “Big in China,” I took advantage of having him sign a copy for me.  And I was so inspired by Joanne Huskey’s closing keynote that I also purchased her book “The Unofficial Diplomat.”  An exclusive pre-release copy of’s new book “Expat Women: Confessions” was a tucked inside our registration packs when we arrived.  And as if that wasn’t enough, I WON a Kindle from one of the sponsors, Clements International and am now anxiously waiting for it to arrive.

FIGT is something of a unique group in that most people who attend (including the service providers and representatives of sending organizations) are expats or former expats themselves.  As a result there is a common bond and instant sense of understanding between them.  As a first time attendee said to me “It is nice to feel there is a sector of the population that “gets it”, isn’t it?”

Photos of the 2011 FIGT Conference are available here and you’ll find video interviews with some of the attendees here.


8 thoughts on “Research, Resiliency and Writing

  1. It was a productive conference, bookended by two wonderfully entertaining and enlightening keynote speeches. And you, Madam, worked tirelessly to drag the conference into the 21st century as Social Media Chair. I can’t imagine how FIGT is going to top it next year, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

  2. How cool that you won a kindle! Congrats! 🙂 Sounds like being at the conference is a bit like living in Dubai – where everyone is an expat. As you said – there is definitely an instant connection which is very comforting!

    • You are SO right about the instant connection. This year I also heard the term “Third Culture Adult” being used to describe those of us who have lived outside our passport country as adults rather than as kids. I like it better than “expat,” so am adding it to my vocabulary, along with STARS (Spouses Traveling and Relocating Successfully).

  3. Thanks for the overview and the links. I was disappointed to not be attending this year but hope to make it next yr…. And Kindles – got mine two weeks ago I LOVE IT! so simple and a delight to use – I’m hooked and sadly my credit card is reflecting that! Atleast my husband can’t tutt tutt over the visible evidence of my book habit…

    • I love the idea of everything being digital – books, music, movies – the minimalist life is perfect for a global nomad. My only fear with the Kindle though is that I’ll leave it somewhere as I’m notorious for doing that with phones, cameras, sunglasses, etc. Can you back them up?

    • Oh my! wonderful to have company in the “so glad I can stack my set of travelling books on the kindle-instead of weiging them in the luggage!) gang. thanks- Kathleen

  4. Pingback: buy a Kindle in South Africa

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