Jane Barron Reviews Misunderstood

Misunderstood comprehensively explores the impact international life can have on children growing up overseas in the 21st century. It is written for two main audiences: traditional Third Culture Kids (TCKs) – “children of expatriates, growing up in families that live as foreigners abroad,” and those who care for them – parents, educators, youth workers, extracurricular coaches and even therapists.

Author Tanya Crossman grew up as both a domestic and international TCK before embarking on a decade-long journey of discovery as a youth worker alongside TCKs in China. In this book, she brings her own experiences together with the global voices of more than 700 TCKs, and many of their parents, to “advocate for TCKs: to explain their worldview and share their stories – in their words.”

Beginning with the basics, Tanya builds readers’ understanding of the three categories of influence for children growing up overseas, the difference between 20th century and 21st century TCKs and the challenges of living abroad. She then meticulously walks the reader through the many different experiences of TCK life, including the reason they are overseas in the first place, the variety of educational options available, the range of family types represented – both traditional and non-traditional – and the different relationships they may have with their host country or countries. The following chapters deal extensively with transition and grief, goodbyes and hellos and the inner lives of TCKs before focusing on the future. Any TCK reading this book will find themselves in these pages because Tanya describes “a perspective, not a person.”

What sets this book apart from others in the global transition genre is the way Tanya brings research, perspective and solutions together. She identifies the challenge, fear or feeling “many TCKs believe others cannot, or will not, understand,” then underpins it with research and wisdom from experts in the field and articulates it using anecdotes from TCKs and Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs). For each challenge, Tanya provides solutions and strategies for parents/ caregivers to support their TCK, so those challenges do not become traumatic but instead serve as springboards for growth.

The title of the book, Misunderstood, may lead readers to assume the contents are negative in nature but in fact it is very balanced. This word, misunderstood, was repeated over and over in interviews and conversations Tanya had with TCKs yet the book provides an insight into the heads, hearts and souls of children growing up overseas to dispel any misunderstanding. It bridges the gap between TCKs feeling misunderstood and adults trying to understand. TCKs reading this book will identify with the words ‘spoken’ by other TCKs and perhaps find a vocabulary to express their emotions and find a sense of belonging. Parents, educators and other caregivers will gain the understanding TCKs desperately need and want in order to encourage, equip and support them to “develop into emotionally mature adults,” either abroad or at home. Misunderstood is a book of hope and one I would highly recommend for all TCKs and those who care for them.

About the Book

Jane Barron, Youth Intercultural Transition Specialist, Globally Grounded

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Ginny Philps Reviews The Emotionally Resilient Expat

“As with any food rich in nutrition, this book is best sampled regularly and digested slowly.” Douglas Ota

‘Expatland’, that vast unknown, often represents great opportunity tempered with challenge. In The Emotionally Resilient Expat, Linda combines deep research with professional insight and numerous and varied anecdotes, to demonstrate everyone has a baseline of emotional resilience. “However,” she emphasizes, “we need to genuinely care for our ‘self’.”

A mere glance at the range and caliber of the reviewers and one feels this should be a staple textbook for every expat. Replete with detail and resources it is easily digestible and enjoyable to consume. Readers are offered an overview of the evolving expat scene, extensive information from global research and trends, and rewarding tools such as FACTORS, (Family, Awareness, Communication, Transitions, Optimism, Rituals, Significance) and visualization. The layout is clear, and key messages are emphasized. It is intelligently structured, enabling you to dip in and out, but with an energy that entices you to keep reading.

Jammed with tips, most notably “live as though you’ll be there forever,” the book helps readers move outside their comfort zones, and adopt strategies to make transition more fun for everyone: journaling, blogging, writing, getting creative, eating the right food and even the importance of playing ping-pong on the empty walls of your new home.

It’s as if by reading the book one is participating in an intricate dissection of the expat experience. Surrounded by the world’s ‘expat experts’, readers are cultivating, in that lab, all the frameworks, attitudes, approaches and rituals necessary to build a deep understanding of the expat existence and the emotional awareness to thrive in it. All the while mentored, questioned and supported by Linda herself.

The publication concludes with a long and very personal note from the author. As readers who have been wholeheartedly invited into Linda’s very personal journey, it feels right to close the book in this way. As she states, “In the end we muddle through and survive […] eventually we even begin to thrive.” Reading this book means you no longer have to muddle through; now you can learn how to thrive and make the most of your expat experience.

Ginny Philps


The Expat Bookshop Top Ten for 2017

Once again, Expat Nest, Counselling Without Borders, asked the Expat Bookshop to list our favourite titles for 2017. Life in a foreign field has always been fertile ground for writers. This year 2017 has been no exception. In no particular order, here is the Expat Bookshop’s top 10 for 2017. There’s something here for the movers and the shakers, the workers and the drifters, the kids and their parents. Click the image to find out more…