Thursday, 8 December 2011

Positive Aspects of Being an Expat Teen

As a result of Expat Teens’ diverse exposure to change, cultures, languages, people, and having to constantly adapt to new environments and situations of growing up globally, there are inevitably positive outcomes. Robin Pascoe, author of numerous books related to various sub-topics of Expat Life, including Raising Global Nomads (2006), A Moveable Marriage (2003), and Homeward Bound (2000), attempts to profile the positive outcomes of growing up as an Expat Teen, describing these individuals as;
  1. Alert, intelligent, and geographically aware
  2. Mature, sensitive and skilled at listening
  3. Likely to exhibit tolerance and cross-cultural understanding
  4. Flexible and open to change
  5. High achieving
  6. Drawn to careers associated with service to the community or the world” (Pascoe, 2006, p. 17)
Pascoe goes on to identify the challenges of growing up as an Expat Teen as;
  • The overseas experience makes them feel different
  • They gravitate to others like themselves
  • Children are silent partners in relocation
  • Issues of adolescence and rebellion are delayed
  • A migratory instinct can take hold
  • Global nomads (Expat Teens) feel rootless and restless, as if they don’t belong anywhere
  • Global Nomads have issues of unresolved grief (Pascoe, 2006, p. 21)
As identified by Konig (2009) in the works of Pollack and Van Reken (1999), they say that “Global nomads are the culture brokers of our generation and that they are becoming increasingly more visible due to the globalisation of world economies. They have a three-dimensional world-view, and experience sights, sounds and smells when they see places in which they have lived on television. Other characteristics include high linguistic ability, good observation skills, patience, and not as judgemental. On the downside, there are issues of unresolved grief, rootlessness and insecurity in relationships. One of the defining themes of an internationally mobile childhood is frequent change. For every experience of change-by their own mobility or another’s- global nomads experience a parallel process of psychological transition.” (page 105).

Robin’s positive outcomes outweigh the challenges of growing up as an Expat Teen, and Konig’s quote is motivationally inspirational in wanting to maximize opportunities as an Expat Teen. Hold your heads up high and focus from time to time on the positive strengths and characteristics you are likely to develop as a result of your lifestyle.

Expat Teens Talk’ will soon be available to help when the challenges make seeing the positive outcomes difficult and unreachable. 

In the meantime, TALK to us via our “Comments” section and let us know what’s on your mind…

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