I’m way overdue a blog post or two on the Families in Global Transition Conference which I attended for the first time earlier this month. I’ll write in more detail on some of the topics which particularly interested me, but to start with here is a quick overview of the three day event.
- I was very impressed with the quality of both the speakers and the participants. Many had seriously professional qualifications and significant expat credentials in terms of the countries they had lived in. In other words, they knew both the theory and the practice.
- The various sectors were well represented – corporate, military, missionary, diplomatic, education, academia, relocation, coaching and a good number of accompanying partners/trailing spouses like me.
- All the sessions were professionally put together and presented. Participation was encouraged and many of the conference delegates also contributed valuable information and experience.
- Everyone was just as friendly as I had been led to believe. All the speakers were very approachable and willing to share the content of their sessions. Many had detailed handouts.
- I got to meet two of my expat heroes for the first time – Ruth Van Reken and Robin Pascoe – both autographed their books for me.
- A surprising number of people were, like me, attending for the first time. This tells me that this is an organization which is growing – always a good sign.
- The conference itself was very well organized. There was a wide range of topics and things moved quickly; definitely no time to get bored! Group sizes varied – some sessions had all 200+ of us together in the main ballroom, some were in groups of about 20 or 30 in smaller rooms and some were in intimate circles of 10, sitting at a round table. This encouraged a variety of participation levels, which was refreshing.
- There were several social opportunities which encouraged people to get to know each other on a personal as well as a professional level.
In summary, I enjoyed it immensely, felt I learned a lot and will definitely return next year, when it will be held in Washington, DC. Maybe they can persuade Obama to speak about life as a TCK?