Feeling isolated?

I definitely can relate to the hibernation theory. I do it all the time. Just can’t work up the energy to do anything to meet people. It’s terrible and if this continues I fear I’ll go back home.

Not quite working out?

I worry a lot about finances, visas, finding love and starting a family. I wonder if it would be easier to get on with life if I were in the States. How do you know when to pack it in and head back?

What gets you through?

Happy global people never use the word ‘expat’……What gets you through times of loneliness, frustration, suffering? Expats, what coping strategies you have found in your travels?

What is the one quality expats need to thrive? Click here!
  • Stress Assessment
  • Are you and your partner communicating well? Find out here:
  • Latest Blogpost

Are you so used to expat stress you don’t even know you are experiencing it?
Like a fish who doesn’t realize she is wet……  read more

This confidential online 20-question assessment will help you reflect on how well you and your partner are communicating.

Whether you are a new expat, or a seasoned one, the expat life can take a toll on your communication.

Or the expat life experience can enhance your support of each other.

With this assessment we invite you to take some time, check in with yourself, and try to be completely honest with yourself about each question.

Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Results Delivered: Immediately upon completion and by e-mail (requires entering your e-mail address).
Confidentiality: Your results and e-mail address will remain private and will not be shared without your permission.
Instructions: We will give you 20 phrases that indicate what you and your partner communicate about, and how you do that.
The answers are a simple 1-4 scale, 1 being low, and 4 being high.
We have not put any other qualifications in the answers, because we want you to determine for yourself what the scale is and where you find yourself.
Just give answers that are helpful for you, as you understand the questions and topics.

Relationship Communication Checkup

Progress:

1. My partner pays enough attention to me.

2. My partner understands and values what is important to me.

3. My partner makes physical contact with me, without necessarily wanting sex.

4. We are able to say "I'm sorry" and forgive each other.

5. My partner listens to my views, even if he/she does not agree with them.

6. We are able to talk about sexual desires and issues.

7. We are able to talk about our dreams and ideals for the future.

8. My partner encourages me in what I do.

9. We regularly plan time to go on 'dates' (at least 1x every two weeks).

10. We have fun together.

11. We are able to talk about strong emotions we feel - like anger, excitement, hope, sadness.

12. My partner understands my sexual needs.

13. My partner understands and encourages/supports me in my 'spiritual' life.

14. My partner pays attention to my emotional needs.

15. We can talk together about new ideas and goals.

16. We are on the same page regarding running our family (children, if you have them), household, relating to in-laws, etc.

17. We have common interests that we pursue together.

18. My partner listens to me without criticizing me.

19. My partner knows how to express his/her love for me.

20. I am satisfied with our relationship in general, and how we communicate on all levels in particular.

Disclaimer: This is a short test, not designed to screen for depression, anxiety disorder or any other mental health problems. It is meant as an indication tool for you to see how you and your partner are communicating, and if you might benefit from extra support. Let us know if you have any questions.

FIGT and The Totally Expat Show

In a span of four days time I was at the annual Families in Global Transition Conference in Washington D.C. and the Totally Expat Show sponsored by the Forum for Expat Management in New York City.

image-2 Reflecting on both events has been interesting, and I wanted to share a few thoughts here. [Snark alert: some of what I say will be broad-brush generalizations, and you may even detect a bit of snark. Chalk it up to Friday morning and an evil desire to stir up the pot a bit. Just don’t forget that at the end of the day I’m really a pretty good guy, at least according to a few people.]

As numerous others have said all over the blogo, tweeto and Facebookosphere, the FIGT Conference was magnificent. The keynote speakers were varied and wonderful, each in his or her own way. Workshop presenters mixed theory and practice wonderfully, and the IGNITE Sessions took our breaths away.

Between sessions we found again the camaraderie with each other that only people who share common experiences can. Third Culture Kids, Global Nomads and Perpetrators discovered again that there are no strangers in this world – just family we haven’t met yet.

Are you wondering what a Perpetrator is? That’s me: I wasn’t a TCK, I am a TCK parent, and put my kids through all the things we now hold conferences and do research about. But I digress…..

The Totally Expat Show? A business oriented trade show, “an exhibition of leading suppliers all focused on sharing the latest innovations, technologies and advances in global mobility” and a place where “industry peers can discuss current projects and share best practice.”

Sounds great, and it was.

Networking3-300x200The atmosphere was totally different than FIGT, however. There were exhibits of the latest, most innovative computer technologies, designed to ensure that expat employees and their sending companies would have everything they needed to have successful expatriation experiences, with financial success for both the expat and the employer appearing to be very high on the list of success factors.

I was one of just a few men that did not have a suit and tie on, and that symbolized for me the difference between the two events. The Totally Expat Show had a ‘business suit’ feel, probably because the majority of attenders were middle-aged and older men in business suits. There was something cool, calculated and, in spite of the bling bling of the latest software developments, old fashioned about it.

What struck me as old fashioned was that many of service providers I spoke to in New York had not been expats themselves. They had a background in HR, or postgraduate training in related fields, or had rolled into expat management kind of by accident. This was not a group of people who had “been there, done that”. And again, I realize I am generalizing and apologize to anyone for whom that is not the case. But I specifically asked those questions of almost everyone I chatted with, and this is what I heard.

FIGT is a group of people who have been there and done that – and because of that they want to give back to their community. So you find all kinds of businesses at FIGT too, but they are of an entirely different kind.

They are small entrepreneurs, taking what they have experienced and learned and turning that around to benefit others in ways that are efficient, economical, people-oriented and effective in amazingly creative ways. You will find mentoring for teenagers, speech and language therapy, services for special needs kids, authors writing relevant and valuable books for the global nomad community, coaches, school counselors and psychologists.

If you speak to these people and ask how their business is going, you will find out that most of them are struggling to make ends meet, and many of them have incurred significant debt to make their services available. The sacrifices many of them have made are amazing. I could tell you some stories I heard, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass anybody.

FIGT is by, about and for people, first and foremost. As FIGT Scholar Cate Brubaker said, FIGT was a conference with heart.

You may not believe that I think this, but we do need what the Totally Expat Show has to offer. Expats need legal, financial, tax, relocation and cross-cultural help. Their employers need to pay attention to the bottom line.

But what I want to say to the Forum for Expat Management people is: loosen the ties, kick off the high-heeled shoes, relax a bit and make sure it is about people.

That’s modern. That’s what our world today is crying out for.

And if you need a model, check out FIGT.

P.S. Here’s the Board of FIGT. Thanks to you all for a wonderful conference!

FIT Board

I love your site and the way you go about helping people. I love that you bring in philosophers, poets, musicians and so much more to get your points across. It seems to be a deeper way of connecting with people.
Cathy Heyne, Living Abroad LLC