Thursday, 1 September 2011

“It takes a village…” Expat Teens Talk

It takes a village…”  
There is an African saying: ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Semantically, it means being open to the influence and support of the village we surround ourselves with, whether that be at the International or Local Schools we send our children to, or the people we bring into our homes who we develop friendships with on ‘assignments’. Having access to and accepting the support of ‘our village’ helps our children grow and develop into the adults they are meant to be. Some would say that this rings true for most Expats. I can definitely say that it rings true for me and my family.
My name is Diana Smit and I am an Expat and a parent of three Expat Teenagers who only know Expat Life. In our lives, there is always the expectation that a change will happen within a certain number of years.
“Honey, we have to talk”. These are the words my husband often starts with when announcing an upcoming potential move. In our case, my husband’s career has been the engine behind our Expat Life. The companies he has worked for have taken us to Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore, again to Switzerland and then back to Singapore….what a life! Psychologists say that moving is one of the biggest stresses in life, right up there with divorce, illness and even death. So, I often ask myself: How will this impact our Teenagers? And then I go one step further to think about the impact of similar changes on Expat Teenagers around the world, including in the school settings in which I work as an Educational Therapist. And this brings me to the purpose of this Blog.
For the past three years, I have worked closely with my colleague, Dr. Lisa Pittman, who is an Expat Professional, and has worked as a psychologist in both Monocultural and Expat environments. In our respective roles, we have consistently come into contact with Expat Teenagers who are dealing with the general stresses of adolescence, and have these stresses further impacted by their transient lifestyles. As a result, they often do not have the resources to address some of their stresses that their peers  who are rooted to one culture (i.e., a Monoculture). Dr. Lisa and I decided to do something about this  -- to provide a resource for Expat Teens, like you!
We have a book coming out within the next few months that will serve as a resource for Expat Teens. In preparation for our book release, we plan to use this Blog to provide some preliminary information and support to let you know that we have heard your pleas and we are here to help. We invite you to share your experiences and provide support for those who may feel compelled to share theirs.
Stay tuned to this Blogspot for more information about  our upcoming book: Expat Teens Talk.

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