I somehow managed to make it through my entire expat life without knowing about Families in Global Transition, a grassroots organization that has the back of internationally mobile families from all sectors: corporate, military, mission, academic, diplomatic, and probably a few I’m not aware of.
With my usual perfect timing, I discovered FIGT shortly after repatriating. I was in a tiny dorm room in Victoria, Canada during my grad school residency, googling terms related to my thesis (expat spouse, cross-cultural training, adjustment) when I stumbled upon the FIGT site.
It was a revelation. Here were people just like me: people (mostly women) who were trying to figure out how to make the most of the amazing opportunities they’d been given as expats. And right alongside them were the experts: the researchers, relocation professionals, expat coaches, psychologists, and cross-cultural trainers who so generously dedicated their time to smoothing the path for the rest of us.
As I read about the upcoming conference, all I could think was “I have GOT to be a part of that!” Fast forward to the following March, when I walked into a hotel in downtown Houston and immediately felt like I belonged. By this time the reality of repatriation had started to sink in, and I was acutely aware that “going home” was turning out to be far more complicated than I’d expected. Spending those few days with like-minded and inspiring people was a relief — like wrestling your Spanx off at the end of a long night and finally being able to fully exhale.
The next conference is March 17-19 in Washington DC. I’ve been poring over the conference brochure the way I used to pore over the Sears Christmas catalogue when I was kid. I’m not sure, but I think I might have drooled a little at one point. Can you blame me? Take a look at some of the sessions that have caught my eye:
- Advocating for Families – Ensuring the Voices of Families Are Heard
- Children and Adolescents Who Struggle Overseas: What are the Options?
- Developing a Personal Model of Resiliency for Expatriates
- Challenges & Opportunities in Providing Spouse/Life Partner Career and Transition Support
- Blogs, Books and Bylines.(Led by Jo Parfitt, so you know it’ll be fun!)
Anybody else out there going to the FIGT conference? I’d love to meet up in person with the people I’m getting to know online.