Have you lived and worked overseas as an adult or accompanied your parents on international assignments as a child, and upon return to your home culture felt like you had “Come Home to a Strange Land” ?
Engage in thought provoking discussions with Dr. Paulette Bethel around issues of identity, transition, cultural fusion and repatriation to the place we call “home.”
You are invited to a webinar hosted by Families in Global Transition and USA Girl Scouts Overseas:
The New Normal : Obama and Other Third Culture Kids Using The Gifts of Their Global Childhoods
Pundits throughout the presidential campaign struggled to define President-elect Barack Obama by traditional measurements of race or ethnicity. They wondered if his vision for "no blue States, no red States, but the United States of America " was possible. Could any nation move beyond its political or racial divisions to some sort of unified whole?
While the debates on talk shows on these issues seemed endless, they missed one basic reality about Barack Obama: he grew up as a third culture kid (TCK) -- a child who spends a significant period of his or her developmental years outside the parent(s)' passport culture. The themes Obama describes in his autobiographies – his search for identity, his wondering where he belongs in the traditional slots – are common concerns for the countless children being raised among different cultures in today’s society – not just TCKs, but what we now call Cross Culture Kids (CCKs) as well – children of immigrants, biracial or international adoptees, and more.
The gifts of the TCK and CCK experience are great in number and depth – a broad world view, the ability to be a cultural bridge, linguistic skills, and a sense of confidence to think "outside the box" are well documented benefits of this background.
In this webinar we will explore how this "new normal" -- the reality that fewer and fewer children grow up in traditional mono-cultural environments – presents new opportunities for our globalizing world. We will look at the common benefits and challenges such a childhood brings. And we will consider both how to recognize and use the gifts so many adult TCKs bring with them to the workplace, to the community, or to their governments.
Whether you are a TCK yourself, or are interested in how to leverage others’ TCK skills in the service of improved understanding, communication, and effectiveness, please join us for a fascinating, interactive discussion.
Date: Jan. 29th, 2009
Time: 7:30 AM Eastern,
12:00 Noon Eastern,
5:00 PM Eastern
To register, please email Laura Thielges on or before January 28 at [email protected] and indicate which timeslot you’d like to participate in. You will then be sent an email with instructions for attending the webinar. Participation is limited to the first 100 people who respond.
Girl Scouts of the USA has recently released some interesting research on the affects of the recent election on girls and youth. See more from the Girl Scout Research Institute here:
Please join me for the next interview in my ongoing series of the TCK Academy teleconferences. I will be interviewing Donna Musil, Army Brat/ATCK, writer, director and producer of Brats: Our Journey Home. Some of you may recall a previous post where I talked about this film
I am really excited about this teleconference interview. I had some time to meet with Donna in person this week while in Denver on business. What a blast!! Especially since she introduced me to a great restaurant that served the most wonderful Creole/Cajun cuisine!!! Actually, I am thinking about making Donna my newest BFF, especially if she can find one or two more restaurants that remind me of my "home culture" and its distinctive food!!
The one thing that I took away from my meeting with Donna was that she is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about the needs of global nomads, TCKs and brats from all sectors, cultures and backgrounds. You don’t have to be a military brat to find your story in Brats: Our Journey Home. Donna’s work offers a universal message of belonging, coming to understanding and acceptance of the gifts and challenges of living a global nomad lifestyle.
Donna was raised an Army brat and has lived and worked in Germany, Korea, Ireland, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Paris. As a child, she moved 12 times in 16 years. Her father was a JAG officer and military judge. When she was 16, her father died, and two weeks later, her family moved to Columbus, Georgia, where she finished high school.
For the next 20 years, Donna moved 19 times, graduated college, and worked in a variety of jobs, but always felt “different” from her fellow Americans. In 1997, she learned that she was not alone. While surfing the Internet, Donna discovered a Web site for her Taegu, Korea high school. A few weeks later, she attended an impromptu reunion in Washington, DC. It was revelatory. For the first time, Donna felt like she “belonged” somewhere, and thus began her journey “home.
According to Musil, “It’s really about reconnecting and finding a home…. Finding a home not in a place but with a group of people.”
During our conversation, Donna will discuss the making of her seven-year passion, Brats: Our Journey Home, finding that place of belonging, being comfortable with who you are in the mix of paradoxes, the positive and the challenging legacies that “third culture kids” experience around the globe, and how BRATs/TCKs can develop an ability to “fully employ your strengths and have compassion for your weaknesses."
Join me on Tuesday, June 24 for my teleconference interview with Robin Pascoe on raising Third Culture Kids, author of A Moveable Marriage: Relocate Your Marriage Without Breaking It, Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World and others.
Preserve your family' mental health before, during and following a relocation
Survive the challenges of parenting while abroad.
Maintain one's co-parenting relationship in an overseas assignment.
Navigate parenting abroad in an on-demand world.
Benefit from “lessons learned” through Robin’s experiences of raising children abroad.
About Robin Pascoe
Robin’s reputation as a funny, engaging and inspirational speaker was earned as a former diplomatic spouse (in postings to Bangkok, Taipei, Beijing and Seoul); raising two third culture kids, and by traveling globally for more than a decade from her home base in Vancouver, Canada. Robin has now spoken in over twenty-five countries, invited by corporate groups from Shanghai to Johannesburg to educate business about the needs of the expatriate family. Robin has become the go-to expert for corporations interested in understanding the needs of expats and their families and making recommendations for family-friendly relocation policies.
Traveling spouses, international school communities, global mobility and Human Resource practitioners, and relocation specialists worldwide applaud her pragmatic but sensitive approach to the joys and challenges of families and global relocation. She is deeply committed to helping families make the most of the sometimes challenging privilege of living, working, and raising a family abroad.
Robin’s profession as a journalist makes her ideally suited to reporting on the trends in expatriate experience. She writes regularly for expatriate newspapers, magazines and web sites and has been interviewed by numerous international publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Working Mother Magazine, Utne Reader, CNN, and others.
Sign up here to join my TCK Academy's interview with Robin Pascoe.
Date and Time: Tuesday June 24, 2008. Time: 1:00 PM (Pacific) / 4:00 PM (Eastern) / 9:00PM (London, England) / 5:00 AM (Tokyo, Japan). Click here for the Time Converter.
Ever feel like you want to learn more about this Third Culture way of life? Or, do you long to be around others who have experienced and/or understand what it means to be an internationally mobile, global nomad? So let me ask … If you really could find a place where these questions and more are answered in just 3 days, would you be interested?
What if I told you that such a place exists … a place where you could go to soak up valuable information, gain professional insights and experience ah-ha moments that would leave you thinking about what happened long beyond? And… in the process, you would walk away feeling as though you had participated in a life changing experience that has significantly improved the quality of your personal and professional life?
Well, I may have the perfect solution for these yearnings …. because, this is exactly what happened to me several years ago, when I encountered my first the Families in Global Transition Conference. I haven’t looked back since!
FIGT is the premier “grass roots, think tank” conference for those involved in an internationally mobile lifestyle, and offers something for just about everyone -- TCAs, TCKs, parents, educators, military family services, school counselors, marriage and family therapists, cross-cultural coaches, corporate, missions, relocation specialists and more. Besides the many benefits that can be derived from attending this conference, FIGT provides a great opportunity to meet a pretty amazing group of like-minded people who understand the struggles and successes of expatriate families and individuals and are deeply interested in promoting and growing understanding.
This year, I will be there as one of the conference speakers, and I am excited about having the opportunity to speak about third culture lifestyle topics that are near and dear to my heart. While in attendance, I definitely plan to soak up as much knowledge as I can from many internationally known experts that will be presenting cutting edge research and thinking during this 3 day conference, and I am looking forward to quality time spent engaged in Espirit DeCorps and “knowing” camaraderie. As with my experiences, if you decide to attend, you may discover that many of the people that you will meet at this conference may become life-long friends.
At any rate, the conference is March 6-8 at the Omni Houston Hotel, and also includes pre-conference workshops. I have included the contents of the FIGT Press Release for your information:
10th Anniversary ‘Families in Global Transition’ International Conference March 6 -8, Omni Houston Hotel
HOUSTON, TX, January 16, 2008 – It’s not always easy being a family expatriated by a corporate relocation, a military transfer, a missionary assignment, a diplomatic move or an overseas educational opportunity. In fact – more often than not – it’s a huge challenge for parents and children alike which requires support from many fronts.
That’s the topic of the 10th Annual Families in Global Transition International Conference at Houston’s Omni Hotel, March 6-8. The conference theme is: Supporting the Family: Accomplishing the Assignment.
The conference is a grass-roots “think tank” for internationally mobile families. “Expatriate families and their needs are often overlooked. This is the only conference in the world that brings together representatives of the corporate, military, missionary, diplomatic and educational sectors,” said Joyce Blake, executive of the nonprofit organization that sponsors it.
Blake said this will be the third year the conference has met in Houston because of the overwhelming number of families moved around the world by oil and gas companies whose corporate headquarters are in the city. “There is a need for expatriate support wherever families relocate, but the need is particularly striking in Houston,” she said.
Human resources personnel, relocation experts, educators and counselors attend to discuss the challenges and benefits of living abroad and returning home. FIGT is proud to announce that the outstanding 2008 program is again recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) / Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) as an excellent resource and opportunity to earn from 6.5 to 12.5 credits for your PHR, SPHR, GPHR professional certification!
Five pre-conference, skill-building workshops are offered, which include:
• “Welcome Aboard YOUR Cultural Transition Journey: A Family Resiliency-Building Program • Navigation Tools for Successful Expatriate Transitions • Could You be an Expat Entrepreneur? • International Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations • Wise as Doves and Innocent as Serpents: Promoting Organizational Health in International settings
Concurrent sessions focus on: • Third Culture Kids (TCK’s) • Family and organizational transitions • Repatriation, HR, ROI and educational transition • Cross-sector best practices • Concerns of expatriate teenagers and spouses
Space is limited for the 3-hour, pre-conference workshops. Visit www.figt.org to register and learn more about the sessions and presenters. Early Bird discounts available through January 31, 2008. For information about conference fees, registration and schedules, visit www.figt.org or call +1.317.888.9678.
Recently, I caught a few minutes of the 2007 Movie, Marco Polo. When I looked at the sets and backdrops of the movie, I was reminded of the beauty in different parts of China. As portrayed in this story, Marco Polo’s wanderlust began at a very early age. His adventures punctuates a long-standing penchant that many have experienced by trudging across mountains to chart new courses, and/or discover new lands and cultures. In the specific case of Marco Polo, his wanderlust resulted in the extension and in some cases the collapse of geographical boundaries throughout the world.
I, too, was bitten by the same travel bug that inspired Marco Polo. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to travel to new places -- to see the world. The prologue for my wanderlust, I am sure, began with a father who served in World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters while serving in the US Navy. My raconteur Father often entertained me with tales of his travels while in the military as a young girl, and he continued to fascinate us with his tales of adventure until his last days on earth. Fueled by these stories, I began an early love affair with reading books that took me to faraway places and on journeys of adventures of the mind and heart. This passionate desire to see beyond the horizon started at a very early age. My earliest recollections involve traveling by bus around the city of New Orleans. Being the oldest of 10 kids, I was often tasked with running errands for my Mother on Saturday mornings. This was a job that I loved! It usually meant traveling by bus to get to these places. The best part of this trusted independence was that in the process of helping my mother, I was able to combine this responsibility with my love of exploration and discovery!
I very quickly and creatively learned how to pay one fare and then request transfer coupon that allowed me to take circuitous routes around the city. I would start from the outer east-end of the city where we lived, and take a bus that might route me around the Lake Ponchartrain area, or take me past the collections of elaborate marble tombs of the Metairie cemetery. A different route might require traveling past the above ground vaults in the famous St Louis cemeteries, where such luminaries as Marie LaVeau is reputedly buried. As the bus would lumber past, I was always mesmerized by the history and architectural elements of these cemeteries that are reminiscent of those on the outer edge of Paris. On most trips, I would make sure that I routed myself through the outer edge of the French Quarter and the Garden District. This was done by catching one of the historic the St Charles Streetcar.
I always loved it when my grandmother would come by our home (the local way of saying "visit"), and take me with her to visit my great-grandmother, who lived on the west bank of the city. This always meant that we got to catch the Algiers or Jackson Street ferry to cross the Mississippi River to the other side. Knowing how much I loved to explore and discover new and different things, my grandmother would often mix up the routes. This grandmotherly indulgence sometimes meant that this one hour trip would take up an entire morning or afternoon of travel before arriving at my great grandmother’s.
I was once asked if there are predictable antecedents that lead to one being bitten by the travel bug or surrendering to wanderlust. The anecdotal evidence seems to support this conjecture.
What does it mean for you to have grown up in a mostly homogenous or monocultural community, and then to have found yourself suddenly immersed in an internationally mobile lifestyle?
Anthropologist, Dr. Ruth Useem first coined “third culture” in the 1950s while doing research, along with her husband, John Useem on an expatriate community in India. The used this generic term to cover the “interstitial” cross-cultural styles of life created, shared, and learned by persons who are in the process of relating their societies, or sections thereof, to each other. The 'third culture' is interwoven with the home culture or 'first culture', which is interwoven with the experience in the host or 'second' culture. Dr. Useem also brought her three sons along on this assignment and also began to observe the impacts to the children living in this interstitial lifestyle, and by extrapolation, they began to refer to the children of the expatriates that they were researching “third culture kids.
One of the distinctions that has been made concerning the impact of this lifestyle that has been made for children who have accompanied their parents on overseas assignment is the significance of having these experiences during their developmental years and the subsequent impacts to identity development, amongst a myriad of other gifts and challenges.
Today, I serendipitously came across an old journal that contained notes from my early days of learning about Third Culture issues. Most of these notes were taken during a Third Culture Kid Conference in Halifax Canada in August, 2005. Ruth Van Reken, co-author of the book, Third Culture Kids: the experience of growing up among worlds was the keynote speaker for this event. I still vividly recall my reactions to reading Van Reken’s and Pollack’s book on my way to attending the conference, and included an entry in the journal that addressed this pivotal moment in my life. “I have run the gamut of emotions today while reading -- tearful, excited, overwhelmed, and anxious. My brain is going a mile a minute….” By the end of the first day of the workshop, one of my entries stated, “My Life’s Work is here”!