After a blogging hiatus that lasted longer than I intended (work, vacation and the ups and downs of life got in the way) I’ve got my mojo back and want to tell you about a very recent online expat support group called the Expat Partners Online Coffee.
It began as a result of a chance remark at the end of an online chat with Global Niche founders Anastasia Ashman and Tara Agacayak and a group of online trailing spouses/accompanying partners/call-us-what-you-will. We’d had a good conversation about the challenges of expat life and wanted to continue the conversation. Why not a virtual coffee morning? I asked.
Evelyn Simpson, Louise Wiles and I decided to run with the idea and hosted our first online chat in March. Needing an online space to gather, we started a Facebook group, and since then have held monthly online coffee mornings (or tea, or wine, depending on your time zone).
Each month we set a topic for the conversation, and sometimes we’ve had to continue the topic the following month, as there’s been so much to say. Although some in the group are professional trainers and coaches, many of us are not. We are just expat partners, coming together as equals, to share experiences.
The platform we’re using is GoToMeeting, which you may be familiar with. You can access it via the Internet or by phone, using one of many toll-free numbers. We tried using a service that included video, and it was great to be able to see people as they spoke, but too many of us had problems with the video causing Internet connectivity problems.
Many of the people on the calls have been people I follow online, either through their blogs, their Twitter accounts or on Facebook. To finally talk with them in real time has been fascinating; it’s amazing how much more information you get through the spoken word.
We’re not going to save the world, or substitute for professional coaching or real world friendships, but so far they’ve been fun, informative and stimulating.
If you’re free next Friday at 8am EST, 1pm in the UK, then do join us for this month’s topic which is ‘Mindset. How does it affect you and your assignment? Can you change it? How does it affect those around you?’ The details are here and the Facebook group, if you’d care to join, is here.