Saturday, 27 April 2013

Reporting from EuroTCK in Germany

I am very privileged to be able to attend the Euro TCK conference in Germany at the moment. I will try and share some of the information I am hearing here. I have never been in a place where there are so many people interested in third culture kids and so many workshops about all kinds of topics related to third culture kids. To my delight the main speaker is Ruth van Reken, she is the co-author together with D.Pollock of the book "Third Culture Kids, Growing Up Among Worlds".

This morning Ruth talked about Living with change. One of the things her father always said was "unpack your bags and plant your trees". So make Sure you fully start living in the new place or country you have moved to.

We heard about how we learn about culture.


1. We learn the rules as children.
2. We test the rules as adolescents.
3. We internalize and operate the rules as adults.

As we grow up we learn about culture. Our family, our community and the place we live in serve as mirrors to us. A child form's their own identity by using these mirrors. What happens when children grow up internationally in many different places and countries is that these mirrors keep changing which makes it more complicated to form the own identity.

Once you do know how a culture works it gives us a sense of belonging, identity and confidence. We know how it works!

Ruth mentioned that there are 3 different ways children react when they enter a new culture.

1. The chameleon: tries to find "same as" identity.
Ruth van Reken at Eurotck 2013
2. The screamer: tries to find a "different from" identity.
3. The wallflower: tries to find the "non-identity", to be invisible.

We had a discussion during our session and some adult third culture kids said sometimes they were a chameleon but at other times they really wanted to be different and they acted more as the "screamer".

Tomorrow Ruth van Reken is speaking about growing through change.

Related Posts:
Guestblog an Ode to Third Culture Kids by Casey
I am from ....and where are you from?
An interview with graphic design student Jessica on her third culture kid book project

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Just the Right Book if You are Dreaming of a Portable Career

"Harness the winds of change for yourself and use them to sail to your next career destination".

This is just one of the great quotes in the 4th edition of A Career in Your Suitcase by Jo Parfitt and Colleen Reichrath-Smith. I am interested in this book even though I am not a trailing spouse but I am an adult third culture kid. I grew up moving around the globe and one of my dreams is to one day have a portable career. A career that I can just take with me when I move to the other side of the world for a couple of months or for longer. As it happens I am making a career change at the moment which is why I really enjoyed the book.

A portable career is work that you can take with you wherever you go. A portable career is based on who you are, your passion, your unique gifts and ability. It's the expression of yourself in your work.

The first couple of chapters are about finding your direction. What is your passion? The second part of the book helps you see your opportunity. The book is full of tips, inspiring quotes, exercises, resources and websites. The third part of the book puts it all together and adds practical information about working for yourself.

The book is inspiring and gives you lots of food for thought and for action of course. Something that struck me was the importance of connecting with other people. Barbara Sher, bestselling author of "I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What it Was", advises, "Failure to achieve our career ambitions does not result from a lousy attitude; rather from isolation." There are many examples in the book of expat wives that connect with others abroad and discover their passions. Jo Parfitt tells her story of how she wrote a cookbook called Dates in Oman and became a successful journalist in Dubai. Now she runs Summertime Publishing.

Colleen Reichrath-Smith made an international move from Canada to the Netherlands for love. She shares her personal story and the challenges she faced on this journey like having to get her driving license in the Netherlands. Colleen has years of experience working in the career field.

The winds of change are blowing over this globe. In this time of globalization many people are making international moves and I honestly believe that the number of people with a portable career will increase. This book is worth reading because it's a great tool that will help you discover your skills and how you can use them to reach your goal. By the way it's very important to write down your goals. You should have a mission statement, there's more about that in the book. You will be put to work but it's worth it in the end. 

This is what Ruth van Reken, Co-author of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing up Among Worlds, Co-founder of Families in Global Transition says about the book.  

"Through her Career In Your Suitcase program, Jo Parfitt helps people everywhere think outside of their traditional boxes. She not only teaches but models how each of us can make all the pieces of our lives work together to form something new and satisfying in the middle of a changing world. I recommend this book highly to all who want to learn how to begin seeing the possibilities of new beginnings they may not have recognised before."

For more information check the website Careerinyoursuitcase.com. You can follow @SuitcaseCareer on twitter. You can buy the book A Career in Your Suitcase here.

By the way if you buy A Career in Your Suitcase online from 12th - 16th May on Kindle it's free!

Interested in what others say about Career in Your Suitcase?
There's a webinar Create Your Portable Career by Colleen Reichrath-Smith on 23rd April 2013 2pm Sydney time.

Please share your experiences of your portable career if you have one.