John grew up as a Third Culture Kid in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Connecticut, Panama, Morocco and Egypt. He’s worked as a journalist for over two decades, mainly covering the U.S. government as well as the scuba diving industry on the side. He was a board member of Families in Global Transition for four years, and is currently FIGT’s volunteer newsletter editor.
My expat journey began later in life when I left Australia at the age of 27 and moved to Atlanta, GA, USA, to teach in public middle school. This experience was an easy step into the expat life and I am forever grateful to the wonderful people that I met during my time there. When I repatriated (a word I did not know back then), I never felt ‘right’ and just wanted to continue living overseas. During this six month stint back in Australia, I accepted a teaching job near my home town and was ready to set up life back ‘home’; however, as fate would have it an international school in China needed to hire staff half way through the school year and within three weeks of interviewing in January 2005, I was on a plane to Nanjing and I have never looked back. From China, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany where I met my wife (a TCK) and two of our three children were born. In 2015, we moved to Mumbai, India and in 2017 Imogen was born. Although there have been times where Mumbai has tested just about everything there is to be tested about living and working overseas, we have grown to love the city that our children call home.
In our ‘mixed up family’, home is hard to define. I am very much rooted in Australia as my parents and one of my brothers still live in the area that I grew up in, but the rest of my immediate family are not so sure. Jessica (my wife) grew up on the beach in PNG and moved to Brisbane, Australia, at age 11 and has lived less 1/3 of her life there. Our boys think they are from Germany, but have Australian passports (they have never lived there). Imogen is too little to understand, but her brothers call her ‘our Indian baby’. And to just confuse everyone a little bit more, we have purchased property in France and this will be ‘home’ in the summer and at Christmas.
Even after 18 years of living abroad, there are days when I think about going home to Australia; however, when I look out of my 9th story apartment window at the Arabian Sea I think, how lucky am I and there is nowhere else I’d rather be (for now).
Hello, my name is Lisa Peter, and I came to the UK about six years ago from Germany. I had lived here before as part of my Erasmus university exchange while I was studying English literature, so I had a pretty good idea about what life could be like in England when I decided to relocate more permanently.
After a stint of lecturing at a university in Germany, I now work as a museum educator and project manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon is the small market town in the English Midlands that would be spectacularly unremarkable, were it not for the fact that the world’s most famous playwright was born here more than 450 years ago. My job is pretty unique in the way that it straddles academia, international collaboration work and public engagement, and it was this breadth of remit that made me apply for the job straight from Germany.
Life as a European immigrant to the UK has changed considerably since the Brexit referendum in 2016, and many of us have had to ask ourselves some really hard questions about why we are here and whether it is worth staying post-Brexit. I personally have put down roots here in the last couple of years. I have recently moved into a tiny house in Birmingham together with my partner, who is a poet. So, I came for one poet, and it looks like I’m going to stay for another.
I look forward to sharing my daily experiences with you during the next week over @WeAreXpats, and if you are interested in what I’m up to on a more permanent basis, you can find me on Twitter as @EleanorPe.
Hi, I’m Sarah Black, and you join me in the middle of relocation limbo! We’re getting ready to move from Houston, Texas to an as yet unknown location, via my home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I’m born on the island, Irish and came to the expat life late in life after years in PR & marketing back home. Today I’m a strategic communications consultant having founded my own portable business, Athru Communications.
However, you might recognize me from my volunteer work as Families in Global Transition’s Social Media Manager, where I often get to interview expats from all sorts of backgrounds about their experiences, which makes for a pretty great volunteer ‘job’.
You can find me, and my two rescue dogs, at www.athrucommunications.com and on Instagram as @browneyedgalabroad.
Hey there! My name is Danau (which means ‘lake’ in Indonesian, in case you’re wondering) and I’m an anthropologist. I’ve never called myself an ‘expat’, or an ‘expat kid’ for that matter, but I do identify as an adult ‘Third Culture Kid (TCK)’ and I think of my parents as ‘serial migrants’. My father is Indonesian (with Chinese ancestry) and my mother is Japanese. I was born in Canada and grew up mostly in Indonesia while attending an international school, though I also moved around as a kid.
When I was thirty-something, I decided to go back to high school for a year to do my doctoral research on teenaged ‘Third Culture Kids (TCKs)’ by immersing myself in their lives in the manner of classical anthropologists, so to speak. My research was later published as a book: Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School. In it, I reveal the youths’ struggle—in their own words—with identity, belonging and internalized racism as I take the reader through the workings of popularity, friendships and romance on an international school campus in Indonesia. (Check out the teaser or download the introduction. I’ve also contributed to Writing Out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids.)
At the moment, I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, researching mixed-race TCKs and other issues about mobility, identity and language. As a side project, I joined Isabelle Min and others who I met at the Families in Global Transition conference in 2019 to run the online forum, ‘TCKs of Asia’. Our passion is to highlight the diversity of TCK experiences that have yet to be uncovered.
Flor Bretón-García is a Venezuelan lawyer and linguistics specialist who has transited expat life since 2002. She currently lives in Germany where she works as a language and intercultural consultant. Flor shares her passion for her mother tongue, Spanish, by teaching children, young adults and executives both online and in-person.
She is also an advocate for expat women empowerment, especially those who move overseas in a less privileged position. Flor began her journey as a social entrepreneur with her project Little Nómadas in 2016 and since then she has assisted many Latino families moving overseas.
Hej from Sweden! My name is Larissa Borck and I am very honoured to be invited to share some of my insights of living and working in Sweden. I am living on an island in the Baltic Sea, Gotland, the biggest Swedish island with a distance of 100 km to the mainland. A special place to live and work, and I am truly enjoying it!
The open knowledge movement in the cultural heritage sector is what I am most dedicated to. I work at the Swedish National Heritage Board in Visby with a network of museums and cultural heritage institutions (K-samsök or SOCH) that want to open up their data and share it with the public. My role is to show the advantages of open GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) and persuade more institutions to open up their collections. What I love about my role is that although I am working on a quite remote island, I am connected to institutions all over the country – and sometimes even around the world. My colleagues and I working closely together with Europeana, a European organisation for open cultural heritage data, and that’s how I am even working with people in the Netherlands. During a free webinar series I organised in autumn and winter 2019, we invited people in Sweden and beyond to come together and get inspired about open cultural heritage data – and we talked in nine meetings with people from Europe, North America, and Australia. It was special to create these meetings with people from a variety of backgrounds and institutions, without ever meeting in person, but still engaging in a conversation across the globe.
I am the first one in my closest family to move for work voluntarily – and without the colleagues I work with it would have been more difficult to settle in. I am looking forward to exchange experiences with you on Twitter during my time at the RoCur account!
See you there!
Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is a Nigerian linguist, writer, translator, scholar and cultural activist. His work and influence span the fields of education, technology, literature, journalism, and linguistics. He is the recipient of the 2016 Premio Ostana “Special Prize” for Writings in the Mother Tongue. (Ostana Premio Scritture in Lingua Madre) for his work in language advocacy. He writes in Yoruba and English.
Tubosun is renowned for his work in linguistics and language advocacy. In 2012, he led a successful campaign to have Twitter include Yoruba (his mother tongue) in the list of languages into which the platform was being translated.
In March 2015, he founded the “Yorùbá Names Project” at YorubaName.com as an effort to document all names in Yoruba in an accessible multimedia format. The project also released a free Yorùbá Keyboard software for Mac and Windows to allow its users type in Yoruba language and Igbo on the internet.
In 2017, he collaborated with OrishaImage to create Yorùbá Melody, a multilingual 90 minutes free Yoruba language “audio phrasebook for Olórìṣà and cultural tourists.”
Tubosun has contributed to Nigerian creative writing since 2005, through poetry, travel writing, essay, prose, travel writing and literary criticism. His work has appeared in the International Literary Quarterly, Sentinel Poetry, Brittle Paper, Ake Review, Popula, NTLitMag, and Enkare Review. In 2010, he contributed to 234Next as a travel writer.
Hi! We’re Tiffany and Katy, an expat and a repat, respectively, and the hosts and creators of The Bittersweet Life Podcast. Katy and Tiffany both grew up just outside Seattle, USA (Katy by way of Minnesota), but they had vastly different paths that led them to the expat life. Tiffany always knew she was destined to roam, and after spending four years in Boston, she moved to Montreal, Canada for her first expat experience. That wasn’t quite far enough away, and after a few years back in Boston, she finally fulfilled her dream of moving to Rome where she’s been ever since. Katy, on the other hand, stayed in Washington State until five years ago, when her husband won a fellowship to study in Rome for a year. This unexpected move to Rome reunited these childhood friends, and since Katy was a seasoned NPR producer, they decided to launch a podcast.
The Bittersweet Life began as a podcast about what it means to live abroad—the joys and frustrations of the expat experience—and has since become a dynamic exploration of what it means to LIVE. Every week, the two long-time friends parse life’s loftiest questions, about place, home, art, beauty, and identity, alongside interviews with famous authors and scholars.
Katy has since moved back to Seattle, with stints in New Orleans and San Francisco along the way. She continues to produce for radio, and is also currently working on a memoir and a picture book. Tiffany is now thoroughly entrenched in Italian life with a Roman husband and son. She’s the author of middle grade art mystery Midnight in the Piazza(HarperCollins, 2018) and currently working on her next book, Saving Caravaggio. She is also a travel writer and a tour leader in Rome.
Hi, I’m Steph. Born and bred in beautiful Southern Germany, I have always been an avid traveller and language enthusiast. While my roots are definitely Bavarian, I knew from an early age that I needed to spread my wings and explore new horizons. I moved to England in my twenties to pursue a Masters Degree, and met my husband. We decided to start a family and lived in London and Kent for a while, before packing up our belongings and moving to Northern California, where we discovered how much fun it was to explore a country that was new to all of us.
After California, we moved to Austin, Texas, then spent a year back in England, before moving back to Austin. I am fascinated by cultural quirks and differences and love observing and talking to people from other parts of the world. I love writing about this experience, exploring how moving abroad affects family dynamics, friendships, and your sense of identity, and what it’s like to have a family where everybody is shaped slightly differently by their surroundings.
I love hearing about other people’s experiences, especially now that my kids are teenagers. There is so much information on bringing up young TCKs but not so much about teens! You can read about my observations on www.transcontinentaloverload.com, (a sort of online memoir of my family’s last ten years) and https://www.facebook.com/transcontinentaloverload. I’m currently working on creating a podcast, sharing stories with other expats, so watch this space!