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A workshop for expat families: the experience of Bucharest

I was recently invited to give a workshop for expat families to the parents of the British School in Bucharest. Here are my reflections on the experience.

I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.


I called it “The expatriate family: challenges and benefits“. I had often talked about this topic, both in presence and online. In addition to having created a family that was born and developed abroad, for years I have been immersed in issues linked to mobility both out of direct experience and through the site that I created in support of expatriate women and their families in the world, Expatclic.com.

I really like organizing this type of events because it allows me to use my creativity in full swing. I also think that there is no greater and stimulating challenge than creating materials and training moments by channeling one’s own experience. This was a fantastic occasion for me in Bucharest. I left with the trolley full of workshop material, the cards of the Coaching by Values ​​game on top of all.

In fact, as you know, I love playing. I firmly believe that games in intercultural (and general) training are fundamental to leave something behind, to deeply penetrate the concepts you want to share.

I had planned three games at this workshop for expat families. The first was a classic icebreaker, the Good Morning Game, which is always a hit. I often use it in my workshops to warm up the environment in a cheerful way and engage participants from the very beginning in the topics that I intend to discuss.

The second was the above mentioned game of Coaching by Values. It was the first time I used it live after getting certified, and with a large group of people, and it was an absolute success. Many of the parents (as often happens) told me that they had never stopped really thinking about what values ​​their family rests on. And they certainly had not reflected on the relationship between personal, family, school and national values.

The third was a game that can be adapted to various training situations, and which was particularly useful in this workshop for expat families. With a simple trick, participants are made aware of how much moving to a new country means erasing their identity and having to go through a process of reconstruction and adaptation in the new place. This game was also received with enthusiasm, and served to raise awareness of a situation that it is often difficult to verbalize, but that has a huge impact on the balance of the whole family.

It was nice to compare the different experiences: there were Italian, Romanian, English, Austrian, Brazilian, Russian parents. Some were at their first relocation, others had a longer history. They were all, however, looking for ways to make the best of it, both for them and for their children.

Because this is what these workshops do: to compare each one’s experiences in a guided and structured way, in order to deepen, reflect and understand things that can feel overwhelming when faces them alone.

 

Claudia Landini
March 2020
Photos ©AngelaIacobellis and ©ClaudiaLandini
Used with permissions of the parents appearing on them

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