The entrance to the conference, at De Bazel in Amsterdam.

Families in Global Transition – the Adventure #1

I’ve been putting off this post. Mainly because the idea of trying distill all of the amazing experiences at FIGT, in the Netherlands, is just incredibly daunting. I heard so many fantastic talks, spoke to some fascinating people, and felt so many different emotions during the intense 3 day conference. So where to start?

I arrived in Amsterdam on Wednesday 9th, at about 10am, and was met by my very gracious host. We had met 3 years previously at EuroTCK (see reports here), in Germany, where I was on the conference committee and acting as co-presenter for a couple of the sessions. Then we (re)met, as is so often the case in this now shrinking world, when I found her blog, DrieCulturen (incidentally recently listed as one of the top 20 twitter accounts expats should follow, link here). Then she generously interviewed me for her blog also, found here. When news broke that FIGT would be coming to the Netherlands, for its first conference outside the USA, she encouraged me to share a proposal and offered a bed for the conference into the bargain. So I have a lot to thank this wonderful woman, and her family!

The first evening of my arrival, we met with a few score other delegates to eat together and greet each other before starting fresh at 8am the next day 🙂 The inevitable surrealism of sitting in an Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam, with 5 nationalities represented at my table alone (and this was just counting passports!) was a beautiful hint of the days to come…

I did take a picture of our table... but as this photo shows, I'm not great at flattering lighting!
I did take a picture of our table… but as this photo shows, I’m not great at flattering lighting!


The conference began on Thursday, where I, and another 5 or 6 other researchers had an 8 minute micro slot each to present on our most recent and most relevent findings… I would put links to all their work on here – but I don’t have contact details for everyone… so if you are reading this, let me know and I’ll link you in!

The entrance to the conference, at De Bazel in Amsterdam.


My presentation revolved around the key findings of my doctoral work, ‘Third Culture Kids’: migration narratives on identity, belonging and place. (The full monster can be downloaded here.) The key findings are briefly as follows:

**That Third Culture Kids are a ‘thing’! Or, in more technical language, a diasporic entity and merit further research and consideration in the broader migration fields.

**That TCKs are rooted cosmopolitans… They share many cosmopolitan outlooks and skill sets, but far from being rootless, they are in fact frequently rooted in the expatriate community and organisational cultures in which they are raised.

**That Place is of significance in the TCK narrative, both as children and as adults. That Place both landscapes their memories and their experiences abroad, and constitutes a logistical challenge that many meet in their futures. Place is a significant mediator of the TCK experience and should not be underestimated as a source of potential connectivity in their later adult lives.

I’ve run out of time for today… I’ll continue walking through the FIGT adventure soon… so look out for Families in Global Transition – the Adventure #2!


  1. Dan Elyea says:

    Thanks for the report/s, Rachel. Ruth Van Reken was a schoolmate of mine (though I’m somewhat older). I will always know her as “Ruth Ellen.” 🙂 Looking forward to your future reports.


  2. Julia Simens says:

    I love the comment about TCKs are rooted cosmopolitans – I am so happy that you were able to share at FIGT16Nl. It was so nice to meet you, and I enjoyed what you had to share with our global audience. Thank you for taking the time to submit the RFP and for doing all the follow-up leg work! It was a pleasure having you at FIGT16NL!

    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      Thank you, Julia! Was so honoured to be a part of FIGT… and it’s always so exciting to share research and learn from one another!

  3. So glad you made it to FIGT16 in Amsterdam Rachl! Thanks for generously sharing the link to your phd research. Thanks for sharing the links to my blog.
    Good that you have started writing about the conference. I’m still taking time to think about everything I heard, hope to start writing soon.

    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      Thanks for encouraging me to come along! And I look forward to reading your reports soon 🙂 Thanks again so much for hosting me!

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