May 11, 2011

I am a “Lovepat”

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At the FIGT conference this year, I was talking to another presenter, Carolyn Vines, about identity, accompanying spouses and expat life, when she mentioned the word “lovepat”. A huge bell started clanging in my ears as I realized the word was perfect to describe one part of me – the one that decided to settle down in my husband’s country. And so I decided to write about it. This is the article that came out of that decision. As personal as it is, it seems to be touching others, seeing the comments that it is engendering. So needless to say, I want to share it with you too.

April 29, 2011

Should You Take That Job Abroad?

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Here is an excellent article from Fortune in the style of an advice column. Annie Fisher is Fortune’s advice columnist in “Ask Annie”, and she has some good things to say. “Not Packing Yet” writes in to ask if he should bother with the offers given to him by his company to take an international assignment in Spain or Latin America (because he speaks Spanish). The article summarizes current trends and offers solid advice based on those. The trends are changing, and the current situation shows that more managers are being sent abroad this year. And although it’s easier to stay in touch with the home office these days thanks to the internet, there are still challenges faced when returning home and finding a place for yourself professionally. The article offers up both points of view and even features Thunderbird professor Mansour Javidan, who is extremely active in researching and promoting effective work across cultures for executives and managers. He is heading Thunderbird’s Global Mindset Project. Read more about him and the project here. The main point of the article is that taking on an expat assignment should be preceded by thoughtful consideration and preparation. Just jumping in could lead to failure and running away could mean losing out on some of the best experiences of your life, as well a successful career, especially if you have C-level ambitions.

April 26, 2011

Reverse Culture Shock – Coming Your Way

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I’ve become more and more interested in and concerned about the effects of reverse culture shock. I myself have gone through it countless times, most significantly when I moved “home” to the US to go to college. Not only did I leave my beloved Thailand, home for 5 years and all of high school, but I also said goodbye to my parents who moved to Nigeria for the next five years. I lost everything in that moment, but I eventually worked things out, as I always did. Now with social media I am seeing more and more blogs, websites and articles on repatriation. They say that repatriation is the hardest part of expatriation, and from the looks of it, it’s certainly something we need to pay attention to, as expats and professionals; whether in multinational HR departments or as providers of services to expats. Here are a few examples of mentions I have recently come across. There is no reason why so many deal with the US and Asia, it just turned out that way.

Here is a blog from a young woman who taught for a year in Korea. This is from an American woman living in China and her experience visiting the U.S. Another is from an American woman coming to terms with being back in the US after living in Japan. Here is another from Jennifer Kumar, a cultural adjustment coach, and yet another from blogger and traveler, Amanda Kendle, who wrote a feature article on vagabondish.com. To top it all off, here is a full article series from Expatica NL, which is dedicated to covering all aspects of repatriation, including an article re-entry shock. I could go on and on with this list, but I think this provides a good overview of what you can find online.

April 8, 2011

Is There an “Expat Culture”?

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Is it possible to spot an expat in a crowd? What sets expats apart? Is there an “expat identity”? Sarah Steegar, writer and anthropologist, considers the possibility of there being an “expat culture” in her blog ‘Being “one of us‘. I love to people watch and pride myself on spotting various cultures by shoes and clothing, body language, hair styles and hand gestures. But I have to admit that I have never spotted an expat. And yet, I am sure that expats have their own culture and identity.

April 7, 2011

Culture Night at International Network of Norway

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Employees of Statoil, Oslo Handelskammeren and DNV participated in the 3rd bi-annual Culture Night at INN, presented by Kulturtolk. They discussed topics such as unique aspects of Norwegian culture, intercultural communication and adapting to a new culture as an expat. Stay tuned for the next Culture Night in the fall!

A Parent’s View on Raising TCKs

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It’s great to see how a parent’s worldview is changing by observing their childrens’ cultural transformation. The “Baker’s Half Dozen” blog follows an American expat family in Hungary.

November 19, 2010

Northern Exposure – how to survive the Scandinavian winter

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Anna Maria’s article (second of a two-part series “Seasons in Scandinavia“) on how to survive the light and dark dichotomy of Scandinavia has been published on ExpatArrivals. The second article focuses on the effects of darkness on Nordic inhabitants and expat survival tips for winter. This follows her article “Got light? – The Importance of Sunlight When Living in the Nordics“, and what to expect in terms of climate and culture. As winter approaches (some would argue it’s already here), the temperature drops and the dark envelops the inhabitants of the north. These extreme changes in climate can wreak havoc on the unassuming expat. The best way to survive the winter is to have the right expectations and be prepared.

May 8, 2010

Among Worlds Glossary

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 2:54 pm

There are all sorts of terms used for persons who grow up or live in more than one culture, particularly those children who are raised in a culture different than their parents’ culture. Most of these terms are unknown to people outside of expat life, but many are even unfamiliar to expats. TCK is becoming a pretty well known term, but there are so many subsets of TCKs, depending on what your parents did for a living. This glossary posted by Among Worlds is a great start to getting a handle on all the words to describe those intercultural beings who grew up internationally.

May 7, 2010

Finding happiness as an expat

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I want to share a great blog from globalcoachcenter.com, called “7 Habits a Happy Expat”. I love to see a positive take on the expat experience, and here it is.

It’s easy to complain and be negative when things get tough, as they sometimes will. Expat life can be a struggle, but it’s a much richer experience if we can appreciate the rainbow on our way to the pot of gold.

The blog says it much better and in detail, but in one word each, here is what I took away from the 7 wise habits for expat happiness, also called THE WINNING SEVEN™ It has even been made into an online course.

1) Curiosity
2) Acceptance
3) Perspective
4) Opportunities
5) Realism
6) Sharing
7) Avoidance

April 30, 2010

Exploring “Expat Harem”

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 2:38 pm

I just discovered a website called Expat+HAREM, which describes itself as “the global niche”. Well, just the name was intriguing enough to delve into further. It is a creative hub for female writers with cross-cultural experiences to share. Its contributors have some fresh perspectives on what it means to be an expat/traveler/immigrant. The female writers come from all over the world. The site is described as a “Multi-author blog of cultural entertainment inspired by expatriate literature collection Tales from the Expat Harem”. It’s an anthology of stories about the female expat experience in Turkey, edited by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gökmen. If Turkey, expat life, writing or the female experience in foreign lands interests you, check it out!

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