Everything you ever wanted to know about expat support, but were afraid to ask

Everything you ever wanted to know about expat supportNorman Viss and Carol Van Dyken at the Expat Everyday Support Center have put together an Intercultural Blog Carnival with the theme Expat Support: What We Need, and How to Deliver It. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about expat support, all in one convenient place. Check out these posts:

Third Culture Kids
Cecilia Haynes, an ATCK who was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Calcutta, Taiwan, Beijing, New Delhi, Chennai, and Manila, writes movingly about the challenges of her (re)entry to the United States as child, and again as a teenager. That experience prompted her to get involved with Sea Change Mentoring, an organization that addresses the needs of repatriating Third Culture Kids and helps ease their transition to their passport culture.

Supporting your Children During Your Move
From Spain, Lisa Sadleir writes “Three Tips for Successfully Moving Abroad with Children,” and she gives great value for the money: not only are they awesome tips, but Lisa has tossed in a few bonus gems for free. As someone who moved her kids to a new country in the middle of the school year — twice — 
I love what she has to say about the importance of timing.

Why Trailing Spouses Can’t be Happy, and What International Companies Can Do About It
Anne Gillme writes a fascinating post about the challenges facing trailing spouses, and offers an unconventional and controversial solution. Whether you agree with her or not, there’s no denying her passion for the cause. You’ve got to read this one.

Sponsored Expat Support Groups
My coffee buddy Judy Rickatson looks at the trailing spouse issue from a slightly different angle, based on her experiences with sponsored support groups in Cairo and the UAE. She argues that corporate sponsorship of these groups is a win-win situation that makes a lot of sense for everyone involved. When I see what companies like Shell do for their expat families, I can’t help but agree. (While simultaneously gnashing my teeth with envy.)

Legal Issues to Consider When Moving Abroad
I’m thankful I never had to consider legal issues when I lived overseas, but those expats who aren’t sponsored by a multinational corporation will appreciate Wendy Newington’s post about the need for legal support in their host country. Most of the stuff she touches on would never cross my mind, but I’m going to file this away in case my next move doesn’t come courtesy of The Firm and its corporate safety net.

Overview of a Comprehensive Expat Support System
I’m a huge fan of the Cultural Detective Blog and Dianne Hofner Saphiere, creator of the Cultural Detective® series, is my hero. Here she offers an excellent overview of an expat support system, as well as a nifty little piece that explains the concept of intercultural competence through the metaphor of an athlete striving for peak fitness. What Dianne doesn’t know about the subject isn’t worth knowing.

Language Learning Is A Support Tool for Expats
I almost fainted when I read that Amanda speaks six languages, four of them fluently. When someone who’s accomplished that amazing feat gives advice on language learning, we should all stop what we’re doing and listen. Amanda believes that language is the key to understanding a culture. “It’s not just the words,” she writes, “it’s the philosophy, the cosmovision, the way of seeing life that you slowly start to understand, all of which are incredibly helpful in the process of adapting to a new country.”

The Minimalist Guide to Online Expat Support Podcast
Norman Viss, one of our hosts for this blog carnival, teamed up with Steffen Henkel of the crossculture.academy to present a webinar on the value of online expat support for HR managers as well as expats and their families. What’s not to love? Online support is convenient, economical, and most important, effective. The link to the webinar is at Expat Everyday Support Center.

Cross-cultural Training vs. Coaching: What are the Differences? How Can Both Be Used to Support Expats?
Claudia Landini had me nodding my head so much when I read her post, I’m actually a little dizzy. It’s beautifully written and full of nuggets like this: “Whereas cross-culture training courses start from the concept of a collective culture and address to individuals, coaching begins the journey focusing on personal histories and situations, and harmonizes them across the various cultures they get in contact with.”

Wait! Before Signing That Expat Contract, Ask What The Spouse Needs
This one’s mine. Thanks so much to Norman and Carol for putting me in such good company!

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About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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6 Responses to Everything you ever wanted to know about expat support, but were afraid to ask

  1. I’m about to write a story about ex-pats, so your timing is perfect. Thanks!

  2. michelloui says:

    Like the boadsideblog I’m working on a book for expats, but mine is non-fiction and specifically for the accompanying partner. Great post here! I have recently discovered Norman and Carol and look forward to reading more of their work!

  3. Lyn says:

    I’d love to find more resources for repatriating expats – any suggestions? Facing my third repatriation here shortly and know that it comes with its own challenges.

    • Maria says:

      Homeward Bound by Robin Pascoe is a book I recommend a lot, but aside from that I’m afraid there’s not a lot out there.

      • Lyn says:

        Thanks Maria. Having a look at Homeward Bound now. Also joined an expat association in my home city recently. Although I won’t be an expat myself any longer perhaps I can fill some of the weird moments by helping others from overseas who are relocating to my home city.

      • Maria says:

        That’s what I did, Lyn. Four years later I’m still meeting regularly with my Korean ladies. The group has evolved over the years but I still get a kick out of helping them navigate an unfamiliar language and culture. It did a lot to lift my spirits when I was going through the hard part of re-entry.

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