Thursday, 27 June 2013

Guest Post: Ways and Expat Teen can cope with stress, regardless of location

We are happy to introduce Ms. Madoline Hatter, who is providing a guest post for us today. As with previous guest posts, the information provided is a reflection of the individual submitting it, and not necessarily reflective of the authors of Expat Teens Talk. We invite you to read the article below, and then TALK to us and let us know what you think...

Ways an Expat Teen Can Cope With Stress, Regardless of Location
The effects stress can have on a body can be quite detrimental to anyone's health. Although the young can endure more than some, this is still no reason why anyone should have to live with carrying around heavy burdens. Being able to cope with the stresses of everyday life is an important aspect of adjustment, and there are many ways that an expat teen can free themselves from being hindered by levels of stress. Here are some of them:

1. Your Experiences - Writing in a journal has helped millions of people throughout history adapt to the changes within life. It is a way to work out your problems while offering a medium for your mind to come up with solutions. Although keeping a journal or a diary of your problems doesn't work for everyone, it can give you a method to look back and see how you've overcome your obstacles in order to relieve the stresses of the moment. Many of us also learn better by writing things down. This includes life lessons and not just those taught by a teacher.

2. Meditation - Practicing forms of meditation can help an expat teen cope with the ravages of stress. As most forms of meditation are easy to accomplish, it doesn't have to be a difficult ability to learn. Depending on the area where you are currently residing, there could be a variety of meditation techniques from the culture around you that could greatly influence the reduction of your stress levels. Even something as simple as sitting in complete silence in a comfortable position can help you gain insight to what is troubling you and how to deal with the situation.

3. Constructive Relaxation - There are many people who will engage in relaxing hobbies that can take their minds off of daily life if even for an hour or two. Some teens will put together models, or indulge in an artistic expression in order to help work out some of the frustrations he or she is experiencing. The objective behind this type of exercise is the balance of control. We can feel better about any given situation as long as we are able to control the outcome. Working on a hobby or project can give that sense of control to a teen, and can help reduce the amount of stress he or she may be feeling.

4. Stories - Others indulge in writing stories that are related to the problems they are facing. When you compose a story, you're able to give it life based on situations that are happening around you. Using your own imagination, you can develop methods of how your main character deals with a similar situation. It may sound silly at first, but your fictional character can show you how to adapt to the situation based on your own imagination. Allowing the story to flow naturally can provide you with clarity about your own dilemma.

These are just a few methods that an expat teen can use to deal with stress. Methods such as these can be taken with you, regardless of where you go, and can help you center your life in some of the most dire circumstances. If you are an individual who simply can't find an ear to bend, whether by choice or by lack of options, don't allow your problems to fester until they become a deeper problem within. Consider the methods listed above to help manage your circumstances.

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Is it always bad to judge a book by its cover?

If you're a reader like me, you look at two things to determine if you want to read a book: the title and the cover. If the title catches my eye, then I'm more compelled to look at the cover. If both seem interesting, then I'll take a look at the description of the book. If those two things aren't in sync, then chances are I won't read the book. So, in this example, I absolutely judge a book by its cover...but is that always bad?

When it comes to book reading, everyone is different, and there are some who may say that you should not base your decision to read a book solely on the cover. And that is actually true, because there are times when a book is recommended and/or given to me and I read it even if the cover is not something that catches my eye. And most of the time, I'm pleasantly surprised at the outcome...most of the time...

So, how does this apply to interpersonal relationships? As an Expat Teen, you have moved at least once and, in some cases, multiple times. Therefore, you may have a routine that you use when you are transitioning to a new place, and within this may include how you meet new people. So, what happens if you judge a new person by their first interactions with you? Can you always be sure that your first perception about a person is based on accurate information?

In our book, we received a submission from an Expat Teen who addresses this very issue. She writes, in part,

"...they judge me based on the way I look, the way I behave, and the way I speak. From my point of view, they are judging me by what they see and hear without trying to get to know me."

How many times have you heard the phrase, "What you see is what you get"? or "Seeing is believing"? How do those phrases "co-exist" with the concept of "Don't judge a book by its cover"? In a world where appearance and first impressions are weighed very heavily, it can be difficult to make the extra effort to look a little deeper. So, our challenge to you is to take the time to dig a little deeper. Challenge yourself to get to know other people, cultures, and traditions in a way that you may not have been able to do on previous assignments. Who knows? Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome...

For more information about this and other topics geared towards Expat Teenagers/Third Culture Kids, we invite you to check out our book, Expat Teens Talk, available on Amazon and at

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Popping the stress bubble

Stress is a part of life. At times, it seems to be more manageable than others. But when you are faced with too many activities and responsibilities and not enough time, everything can become overwhelming. When we were gathering research for our book, we found out from Expat Teens, worldwide, that their top stressors (in descending order) were as follows:

  • Grades
  • School
  • Body Changes/Image
  • Peer Pressure
  • Boy/Girl relationships
  • Sports
So, what do you do about stress? There are natural stressors that come with moving from country to country, school to school, culture to culture, and you may feel like you can manage those. But what if you get to the point where it feels like it's one country/school/culture too many? Or what if the stress associated with those moves is higher because you are older, more advanced in school, and/or feel like you have fewer resources? Here are some tips to help you make that stress more manageable:
  • Identify what, exactly, is stressing you out - Is it the quantity of responsibilities? Is it the amount of time it will take? Are you worried that you don't have the resources that you need? Are you worried that you won't be able to get everything completed?
  • Take each of those concerns and identify a potential plan of action for each one. For example, if you feel like you have too much to do, prioritize the tasks and address them one at a time so that you can feel like you are making progress. Writing all of this down can make the tasks more manageable, and can be a visual way of tracking your progress.
  • Delegate or Ask for help - if someone else is able to do one or more of the tasks on your list, then ask them if they would mind doing it for you. Similarly, if you need assistance with any of the tasks, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend, parent, teacher, or sibling to ask for help.
  • Reward yourself - consider setting a deadline for task completion, and then identify something that you can reward yourself with (e.g., going out for ice cream; downloading a song from I-Tunes; reading a book that you've never been able to find the time to read). This will not only give you something to look forward to, but it may also provide just the motivation that you need to get started or to finish what you've already started.
We hope that you can use these suggestions to help pop that stress bubble and be able to manage all of your responsibilities more efficiently. For more information about this and other topics geared towards Expat Teenagers/Third Culture Kids, we invite you to check out our book, Expat Teens Talk, available on Amazon and at