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Reflections from FIGT Conference 2019

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad May 14, 2019

Wow! It's been two weeks, and I can’t believe this is the first opportunity I’ve had to reflect on the FIGT (Families in Global Transition) conference. 


At the opening breakfast for first time attendees, we were told the FIGT Conference is considered a “reunion of strangers”. I had heard people reflect on previous conference experiences on social media, and they were all very enthusiastic, but really… A “reunion of strangers”? Well, any doubts I had were very quickly dispelled. I had quite literally, found my tribe! I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t realise I was missing my tribe, until I started meeting them. 


Firstly, to meet my coach (Amel from Tandem Nomads) in the flesh, I still get goose bumps just thinking about it. Amel and Sundae ran the Business Idea Accelerator program last year, and we met at a coffee shop in Bangkok exactly one year later! Late in 2018 I engaged Amel one to one as my marketing/business coach, and honestly I could not be doing this without her support. So to sit and chat over an iced chocolate (turns out neither of us like coffee) it was so surreal, and such a special moment for me. I was rather overwhelmed, and that was before the conference had even started!


Then at the breakfast the next morning I sat next to Kush, and it turns out we have a mutual friend from Mumbai, had our babies in the same hospital and shared the same OB/GYN! Now, if that’s not a small world…


But as the conference really got started, I had the incredible experience of meeting some of the amazing people I had been ‘talking’ to on social media. People whose work I had been admiring. People who are truly pioneering the world of supporting global families. I was quite simply buzzing the whole conference!


So what are my biggest takeaways? Other than the reunion of strangers…


  1. Self Reflection - Although I didn’t grow up in a different country, I had the same experience of a Third Culture Kid (TCK). If you think of the three anchors that create our identity - family, community and place. If all three of these change with a move, you experience the same challenges a TCK might. So how did this happen for me? I went to boarding school at the age of 13. All three of my anchors changed. I knew that the boarding house experience had a big impact on who I am today, but I didn’t realise why until now.


  1. Right Purpose - I found the conference provided an additional layer of clarity on my business concept. I know that I am providing important support to expat mums, and I know that I am impacting their lives, and I find that so rewarding in itself. But to also hear other practitioners comment “wow, that’s really unique!” was so amazing and encouraging. I had already found my purpose, but the conversations at conference confirmed for me that I’m on the right track.


  1. Inspiration - The research that people are doing, the landscape these people are creating for global families is phenomenal. From hearing Ruth Van Reken and Daniela Tomer present their changing definition of Adult TCKs, to Miriam N. Ottimofiore talk about her concept of the MOLA to describe our ‘messy mobile life’. I am so inspired, and I am so excited to bring some of these learnings back into my life and my business.


I can’t wait to share more of my learnings from the conference over the coming weeks. I’ll be honest, I am still processing a lot of it! But now, I’d love to hear from you? Have you had the opportunity to connect with your tribe? What was your biggest take away? 


PS If you are interested, some of the key note sessions were recorded and are available to watch on the FIGT website


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