Spring 2018 relocation newsletter
Spring relocation newsletter
Welcome to our Spring Newsletter, bringing you articles, news and updates from the world of international relocation and education...
Welcome to our Spring Newsletter
The current arctic blast from the east means that it doesn't feel very spring-like in the UK at the moment, with snow covering our campuses early this week. Only at ACS Doha is the weather reliably hot - and getting hotter!
This issue we report on the impact of Brexit on schools and relocating families, as well asthe importance of intercultural training. ACS Hillingdon welcomed a distinguished visitor meanwhile...
Re-enrolment has now begun for 2018-19, and Admissions are accepting applications. If you are working with families who are moving to the UK or Qatar, please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our educational programmes, and availability of spaces.
Please click the top left icon to see content in this issue. Scroll right and left on the page to 'surf' the newsletter, and click on the V arrows to 'immerse' yourself in an article.
If you are interested in contributing to future editions of this newsletter, please contact the editor and Head of Marketing at ACS International Schools, Mark London, for further details.
To find out more about our schools and education programmes, please visit our website or contact our Admissions teams for information on current availability of spaces:
ACS Cobham Tel: +44 (0)1932 867251
ACS Egham Tel: +44 (0)1784 430611
ACS Hillingdon Tel: +44 (0)1895 818402
ACS Doha Tel: +974 3026 6800
Digital Content at Your Fingertips
By Ellen Harris, Living Abroad, LLC
When was the last time you had to think about where to buy a newspaper? Or whether your kids can find something to read over school vacation? Or how to view a movie you’ve been wanting to see?
Expats and business travelers may face these questions when they land in a new country, but technology has made access to media and books vastly easier than it was in the days when you had to scour newsstands for newspapers in your language, seek out consular libraries for books, and bring DVDs and a compatible player from home.
Now, content is in your pocket, on your tablet, on your laptop or desktop computer. Digital subscriptions, streaming video, and all manner of Internet news, entertainment, and social connections are accessible and portable.
What can you expect in your new host country or on your next business trip?
Watching streaming video on a personal device eliminates both the need for a television that’s compatible with the host-country standard and the limitation of viewing only local programs.
Millions subscribe to services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which offer broad libraries of studio films in addition to proprietary content. Popular original series are produced by both services, and many viewers like to keep up on favorites even while traveling.
NOW TV offers video segmented into entertainment, cinema, kids, and sports programming for viewers in the U.K. Users can buy passes for one or more categories and can pause the pass(es) if they travel elsewhere. Hulu is another region-specific service, offering TV shows and movies to users in Canada, Japan, and the U.S. for a monthly fee.
For relocating families, having access to familiar shows can be a comfort, and one less thing that is different in the host country. Both Netflix and Amazon are available nearly worldwide, with main exceptions being China, North Korea, and Iran. Licensing laws and censorship continue to block international content in those countries, including sites like YouTube. Instead, China has its own services, like iQiyi and Tencent Video, both of which claim active users in the hundreds of millions.
While Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been used to access subscription content while abroad, Netflix began blocking that type of viewing in 2016, instead requiring subscribers to stream through the host country’s service. So, you may have to sign up anew if you move from one country to another for any length of time.
There are free video services as well, such as Sony Crackle and Tubi TV. These are advertising supported and not available everywhere. Crackle works in Australia, Canada, the U.K., U.S., and in 18 Latin American countries. Tubi TV works in Canada, India, South Africa, the U.K., and U.S.
Another free option is Hoopla, which is tied to your public library card and lets you check out movies, television shows, music, audiobooks, eBooks, and comics. Patrons may check out a certain number of titles per month. The maximum varies by library, but eight to 10 is common. Different borrowing periods apply to different media – 72 hours for most movies and TV shows, for example, and seven days for music.
Depending on where you are in the world, licensing can be an issue, if content – typically movies – are licensed only for a certain region, such as North America, for example. Often, a movie downloaded prior to travel can still be viewed abroad. Amazon has its own carousel of “Watch Abroad” titles for viewing by those outside the U.S.
Parental controls and kids’ zones are common in many services. These allow parents to block certain content by user, or to simply usher children into a kid-friendly section of the service. Some services offer different language options as well.
One final consideration is where you plan to watch. Most services work on a variety of devices and platforms, from iPhone, Android, Windows, Apple TV, and Chromecast to PlayStation, Xbox, and Roku. Check with any service you’re considering to find out if it will work according to your preference.
We are so accustomed to reading on our mobile devices these days that it’s hard to remember a time when this wasn’t possible. More often now, the challenge is not where to find print materials in your language, but how to manage the many channels of input from email, feeds, and online material.
Perhaps the easiest thing to access is your digital subscription to newspapers and magazines from a home-country or international news, entertainment, or special interest source. Various levels of information may be available for free, with premium content requiring a monthly or yearly fee. Again, censorship may come into play if you travel to a country with strict laws.
Local digital content also makes it easier to keep up with goings-on in the host country. Newcomers often sign up for alerts and updates from a news source or government service.
For any family member who likes to read, there are many ways to find digital material in your native language. Travelers can purchase content for reading on portable devices like smart phones, tablets, Kindle, and Nook. Downloading before travel may save you time and spare you Internet issues.
Free services like OverDrive and Hoopla work with your library account to provide access to millions of eBooks and audiobooks. Users must return items checked out via OverDrive, while Hoopla titles merely expire at the end of the borrowing term.
Books can be read on a computer, mobile device, compatible eReader, or MP3 player. Hoopla Digital and Libby are the apps for Hoopla and OverDrive, respectively.
With so many options for viewing, reading, and listening to what you like -- whenever you want – there should be a way for you and your family to happily consume digital content in your language, in any time zone you find yourselves.
Ellen Harris, GMS Product Manager, Content Group, Living Abroad, LLC
Riding a Vespa and the power of intercultural training
By Elisabeth Weingraber-Pircher
“The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new lands, but of seeing with new eyes”, said Marcel Proust. The significance of these words hit me one day riding my new red Vespa along an old canal in Milan avoiding the jammed main roads and feeling very “dolce vita”. It occurred to me that getting on a scooter after years behind a steering wheel was a bit like moving to a new country. You can scoot along or you can use the full potential by seeing the world with new “Vespa eyes”. Shifting from coasting to proceeding with joyful purpose doesn’t just happen by itself. To develop the adequate mindset you want facilitation and coaching. Let me explain.
After years of driving cars you no longer have to think about it because it has become second nature. When you switch to a scooter you have to go back into the active thinking mode, engaging your brain and your senses. As modern Vespas are easy to handle, after a few rides you believe to have mastered it whizzing through the city feeling like a pro. Of course there may be tricky moments, but in general you experience the change as relatively smooth.
Moving to another country as an expatriate is like trading the car for a Vespa. You turn off the autopilot and again are fully alert for some months. This state of full concentration to the little things in life is exhausting. You also have to put much energy into constructing a new social and professional support network before you feel connected and relaxed again.
So how does intercultural coaching and training matter? What occurred to me during my ride that day, was that I had been using my Vespa with the mindset of a driver. I kept taking the same streets on two wheels I had taken in four wheels. I stayed behind the traffic in front of me, used the same GPS, to give you just a few examples. By riding my Vespa with a car mind I didn’t use its full potential.
While this was still enjoyable, I was not as effective as I could be. So I observed other motorcyclists, took a lesson with an instructor to be up to date on Italian road rules and accepted the offer of an experienced rider to be my coach accompanying her on her outings. Amazing what I had missed; the special lanes for public transport and scooters bypassing long traffic jams, ancient streets too small for my SUV, a GPS for motorcycles, the best position at a traffic light to be the first one off and many more things. I had to develop a new way of being on the road depending on my means of transport. As expats we often also continue with our standard home world views missing out on equally legitimate viewpoints that add insights, creativity and joy to our work and way of being.
Living in different countries requires you to extend into different styles of interacting with the world around you. From a home country mindset to a host country one, from Expat in Asia to Expat in Latin America, from business consultant to spouse without work permit, in order to fully use the potential of these new roles and cultural contexts. An intercultural trainer functions like a driving instructor offering cultural relevant communication preferences and values, to become a better observer of these differences in your environment. Its a bit like being told about the special motorcycle lanes or the safest position at the traffic light, more effective than finding out by chance. Once you recognise them, you can look for them in different parts of the city to arrive quicker at your goal. An intercultural coach supports you to transfer those observations into your specific work and social context, serving also as a sounding board. Similar to when I went out with my Scooter friend who gave me feedback and helped me adapt my unique style “Fast, but not furious” to the Vespa.
A coach supports you define your style as leader, manager, friend, partner among other roles. She offers insights on how to listen with purpose to understand others, acknowledge diverse takes on a problem and provides new solutions. Coaching also creates a space to reflect on what to do and say differently in your particular context to make sure you are perceived how you want to show up.
The question is: to scoot along or ride the potential? What kind of “eyes” will you choose for your voyage?
Elisabeth "Elle" Weingraber-Pircher
Intercultural Trainer & Expatriate Coach
Connecting commitments, engaging difference, facilitating excellence
Brexit and schooling: planning, not panicking!
By Alexandra Ruttenberg and Pauline Rodriguez
As the March 2019 Brexit deadline approaches, companies that will be impacted significantly, but do not yet have contingency plans for addressing a range of outcomes, are far behind the curve. Waiting and watching is not enough.
Some companies have announced publicly that they will move significant numbers of employees from their London offices to other European cities over the next two to three years. Numbers will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, which will also impact who those employees are, where they will be moving, when they will move, and under what circumstances.
One known fact, however, according to research, is that the first concerns for mobile employees with families are around lack of available spaces in desirable schools (Cartus, 2015).
This article will address the context, key issues, and potential solutions to support talent mobility objectives by nding appropriate K–12 schooling for employees’ children. The clock is ticking for effective planning.
Numbers and uncertainty
Companies relocate employees and their families all the time, so why is Brexit creating so much anxiety for employees with school-age children? The root of the anxiety is based on two issues — numbers and uncertainty:
Numbers: There is a projected disparity between the number of school options and the number of children vying for spaces at the same schools in a limited number of choice cities.
Uncertainty: For international schools, an expected rate of turnover traditionally resolved most admis- sions issues. In the uncertain Brexit scenario, influx is expected to exceed expat turnover rate as companies select destination cities and timelines. But when will it happen? And how many are coming? When relocating, expatriate families typically start their educational search by looking at schools used by their colleagues. Often there are waitlists at popular international schools, but a percentage of turnover is also the norm. Although the increase in the local workforce is not expected to be felt for a year or two, the pressure of Brexit-induced mobility is expected to result in fewer school openings and longer waitlists.
The key for companies and employees is to not depend on old practices for getting into schools:
- Relying on a set list of tried-and-true international schools.
- Assuming that places are guaranteed as in the past.
- Applying at the last possible moment.
By taking a new approach to the school search, the problem of spaces, while not eliminated, will be diminished. It will take flexibility, not only for families to consider new options, but also for companies to start new practices.
Major European cities affected
To date, School Choice International has received Brexit planning research requests from companies for more than 10 different European locations, including Prague, Stockholm, and Warsaw. Typically, however, the most interest has been in schooling options in Dublin, Frankfurt, and Paris. Not all companies are setting up new operations in one EU city—some are setting up multiple smaller operations or growing existing offices and therefore are not looking for as many spaces in one location. The companies that are concentrating their employees in one new city, obviously, will have a more vested interest in locking down schooling options for their employees’ students.
What are the school options?
For the purposes of this article, international schools are those that were created to educate expatriate children — whether they were American, British, French, or Japanese. There are international schools that have existed for decades and others that are brand-new independent schools or are extensions of their parent schools that are transplanted on foreign soil.
Even before Brexit, new international schools were opening as outposts of teaching and learning with a global perspective — garnering interest and tuition dollars. The significant change in this growing market is that even though schools may call themselves “international” and have a non-local curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), they may not in fact have a non-local student population. That in and of itself does not diminish the quality of the education; however, the school culture and curriculum may differ from the expectations of an expat family. In Dublin, for example, a new Nord Anglia school will be the city’s first English-language international school opened specifically to educate expatriate families. International families have generally gone to private schools where Irish families send their children.
State or Public
State or public schools can be reasonable options for expat students moving to a new country, especially if the child is of elementary or primary school age and wants an immersive local experience, or if the family is faced with insurmountable waitlists at international or private schools.
Public schools have been feeling the pressure of migration for years, with more than a million migrants and refugees crossing into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggled to cope with the influx. Although the numbers are decreasing, the crisis in the cities is not over. In Frankfurt, absorbing the numbers has stressed the public system, and overcrowding is prevalent. As in the U.S., Brexit cities under consideration have formal programs to integrate the newcomers that include language support; however, to take full advantage of the school system, a child must be fluent in the language in order to progress to the more competitive academic tracks. This can sidetrack academic progress significantly.
Private, partially subsidized non-state or non-public schools vary the most in their organization, number of students, and curriculum in different locations. As in the U.S., the majority of families in Europe do not send their children to a private school, but send them to a state or public school. There are a number of private schools in European cities, some of which educate in a nonlocal language or are bilingual. The costs can be significantly lower than for international schools and the class sizes smaller; however, there is less curriculum variation than one sees in the U.S. between public and private schools. Private schools in Europe still typically follow the national curriculum of the country.
What are companies doing?
Fearful of being locked out of certain cities and trying to make plans in an unpredictable environment, some companies have been proactive in getting information on the different international, public, and private school options. Others have sent human resources teams to meet with schools to discuss how they can work together on future spaces, waitlists, and other ways in which a company can build a relationship with a particular school. The relationship building is important, but it is not a guarantee of admission of any employee’s child.
Companies must be practical to ensure the smooth transition of employees’ families from school to school and country to country, but they also must ensure the long-term success of these placements. They must nd not only spaces for children, but also spaces in schools that are the best academic and social fit. A ready-made list of schools to be handed out to families does not address each child’s individual needs — there must be provisions made for the different ages, curricula, and aptitude of the children.
What are schools doing?
To succeed in this uncertain environment, schools need to plan how they will react to numbers of applicants. To overestimate the number of students and to expand too quickly could backfire as Brexit unfolds. This is a dynamic situation in which schools are changing how they do business.
In some cities, schools that cater to expats are seeing corporate partnerships, in the form of debenture agreements, as a welcome capital development source. Debentures are financial arrangements between corporations and schools. This has been common practice for popular schools in the Middle East and in Asia for years, but it is completely novel in cities such as Dublin and Frankfurt.
There are two kinds of debentures: personal and corporate. Companies purchase debentures to ensure that international schooling does not become an obstacle to an overseas transfer. Debentures do not guarantee admission, but they place the debenture holder’s assignee closer to the top of a lengthy waitlist. In Hong Kong, for example, a debenture can cost more than US$64,000 per child. Students also must be “admissible” to the school, as determined by prior grades and testing, as well as subjective factors. The guaranteed funds make it possible to make plans for school expansions.
What we are seeing is schools and individual companies negotiating “priority admissions” agreements to find mutually agreeable terms as a hedge against uncertainty.
Mapping school decisions in the time of Brexit
If an expat family chooses the well-trodden path to the most popular international school, chances are that may no longer be a viable option unless steps have been taken to ensure priority admission. New influences and options include the arrangements that corporations are making with targeted schools.
Looking closer at the students’ ages and academic needs, as well as how long the family will be in the new location, is important in expanding schooling choices. Not all choices will provide a reasonable transition or happy pairing of student and school. However, expanding families’ schooling options that offer cultural and language advantages may be a matter of HR departments doing a good job of explaining the value of the possibilities.
The diagram above is a basic decision tree that goes beyond the old approach of having one school of choice.
Tip for a successful transition
- Options. Understand the nuances of the school options available in the target city. Are there state, private, or bilingual schools that families might consider?
- Don’t wait. Research the admissions timelines for schools of interest, including residency require- ments to go to public schools.
- Language skills. Evaluate the foreign-language capabilities of employees’ children. Do they need language training to enter certain school programs?
- Special education needs. Survey families about students with any special education needs to ensure appropriate school choices.
- Vetted data. Be well-resourced with school information from trustworthy and unbiased sources.
- Confirm! Schooling situations (waitlists, priority admission policies) can change daily. The degree of exibility that companies and their employees with children have in reacting to uncertainty and a new schooling landscape, as well as their ability to identify new opportunities, will become the measure of a success- ful transition. Visionary, thoughtful, and active strategies are the surest means for attaining success.
Alexandra Ruttenberg is director of research and Pauline Rodriguez
is deputy director of research for global education consulting services at School Choice International. Ruttenberg can be reached at +1 202 841 3298 or alex.ruttenberg@ schoolchoiceintl.com, Rodriguez at +1 202 821 3333 or polly. email@example.com.
This article is reproduced with prmission from the February 2018 issue of Mobility, published by Worldwide ERC.
Profile: Christina Decu
By Andrew Kittell
Last summer, ACS Hillingdon International School welcomed Christina Decu as its new Dean of Admissions. Having had time to settle in, we decided to now share her story with the Mobility industry and others interested in all things ACS.
Christina’s journey to ACS began in Sweden, being born to German parents living abroad. Enjoying an interest in travel and being blessed with a facility with numbers, Christina studied tourism and then worked in Germany and New York City. She had the opportunity to move to Shanghai in 1992, happily combining the two as a finance director located in one city but responsible for various departments in Greater China. This experience led to an MBA and a hand in starting the German School of Shanghai, then serving on the new school’s Board of Directors.
Meanwhile, Christina’s two children attended a nearby international school where she was president of the Parent Teacher Student Association. This led to an employment offer that changed the course of Christina’s professional life. She explains, “I accepted an offer from the Head of my children’s school to lead the Admissions team there. I have loved working in international education ever since, even volunteering to help local Chinese families understand some of the world’s other educational systems as well as helping international families in transition to new locations.” Then came ACS.
After a global search, ACS Hillingdon International School became Christina’s new home, one much closer to her family in Germany. It’s a community Christina embraces, “ACS Hillingdon is a beautiful international school, one celebrating diversity in a wonderful setting. Being part of the ACS group of schools that challenges and supports students makes me very happy and proud. My colleagues here come from many different places, as do our enrolled families, and we all have the students’ well-being and growth at the center of what we do.”
What Christina does is manage ACS Hillingdon’s Admissions Office. It’s a role that seems to come naturally to her, something she still enjoys very much. Christina shares, “The most enjoyable part of working in Admissions at an international school is meeting families from all over the world. Every student is on their own journey and, as a Dean of Admissions, you can be part of their next exciting life chapter. It is a privilege to see the students arrive on their first days, helping them transition into a new-to-them school, often in a new country, and sometimes even a new educational system.”
Though inspiring most of the time, enrollment management leadership presents some challenges. Back-to-back meetings fill Christina’s days at ACS Hillingdon International School, but she still strives to avoid making too many assumptions, remaining open minded and welcoming to all. As she observes, “I have to remind myself not to assume anything. If a family is arriving from one country, they might actually have a very different background. A passport may not say anything about their roots or even mother tongue. I always have to take time to listen carefully, avoiding jumping to conclusions.”
One experience Christina shares with the three other current ACS campus-based Deans of Admissions is critical to her success. Put simply, that’s having lived and worked across international borders. Christina expounds, “Living abroad most of my life, even being born in a different country than my passport might suggests, helps me gain and maintain a broader perspective. I love interacting with people from all over the world, especially young people. When you travel a lot, you have to be very open-minded. Many countries have different approaches to reaching the same outcomes. It’s important to realize and understand that these approaches aren’t better or worse, they’re just different.”
A lifelong learner, Christina stays current professionally by reading and when she’s able participating in professional development opportunities such as conferences and seminars. She remains committed to enrollment management as a profession, sharing some words of advice for those considering this career path, “Admissions work is best learned on the job. Most schools, colleges, and universities recruit at the entry level. It’s a good opportunity to get a feel for the profession before advancing and investing in graduate-level education. The best enrollment managers are highly organized, have a head for numbers, and a heart for dealing with people.”
Although the stakes in most international career-linked moves are high, Christina maintains a healthy sense of perspective and good sense of humor, meeting as she does with so many people feeling the stress of relocation. She quotes the great comedian of yesteryear Charlie Chaplin who once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Christina adds that a lot of what she finds humorous stems from having people in the same room from different backgrounds, speaking different first languages, but all trying to say the same thing and coming out with expressions that mean the exact opposite in translation.
When not on the ACS Hillingdon International School campus meeting with prospective families and others interested in the school’s program, Christina enjoys sharing time with her own family and with her friends. Of course, there’s always a yearning to travel even more. And then cooking to enjoy and impress, music, and finally an absolute love for dogs.
Please join the entire ACS community and the greater Global Mobility industry in welcoming Christina Decu to our Hillingdon campus.
By Andrew J Kittell, Director of Corporate Relations, ACS North American Office
Follow Andrew on Twitter or Linked In
With spring approaching, our students’ minds will soon turn to time shared with their families away from school on break. Soon after, the focus for many of our high schoolers will be preparing for their Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Here in North America, “Team ACS” will welcome spring, recalling lessons learned so far this year while still looking ahead to a number of key international HR and other events. But first a quick look back.
Bay Area Mobility Management Conference
In late February, ACSers attended the Bay Area Mobility Management Conference (BAMM). With routinely over 500 registered delegates, BAMM is the American tech sector’s single-largest gathering of talent management and mobility professionals. Topics presented this year included planning for Brexit and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). BAMM presenters also predicted future disruption in international relocation services. Another major conference takeaway will directly impact the ACS International Schools. That is, as Silicon Valley firms mature, their internationally mobile employees’ needs will evolve to include schooling for accompanying children. Many globally recognized brands in this space already provide school-funding benefits for their leading executives, those driving change and revenue while on whole-family assignments.
ACS Alumni and Friends Chapters Forming Across North America
With its 2018-anticipated move to charitable status, the ACS International Schools group has begun more formally engaging our thousands of former students, parents, graduates, and other friends now living across North America. Outreach efforts are currently underway in most major US and Canadian cities with ACS Alumni and Friends chapter launches coming soon, including those this May in Chicago and Houston (see details below).
Look for ACS on the Road Spring 2018
During this spring, ACS representatives will sponsor, exhibit, and present at key relocation and related events. Please catch up with us here:
National Foreign Trade Council’s International HR Forum
March 21st -22nd in Houston, Texas
British-American Foundation of Texas Awards Ceremony,
April 24th in Houston, Texas
New Jersey Relocation Council Spring Conference
April 26th in Kenilworth, New Jersey
We are Family Foundation Gala
April 27th in New York City
ACS Alumni and Friends Chapter Launch
May 8th, Chicago, Illinois
ACS Alumni and Friends Chapter Launch
May 16th, Houston, Texas
Forum for Expatriate Management Americas Summit + EMMAs
May 23rd – 24th in San Diego, California
The team here looks forward to seeing friends and colleagues across North America and to making new connections this year, next, and beyond.
UK Relo round up
By Caroline Breeds, ACS Corporate Relations Manager
Last month I was delighted to welcome to the UK my colleague Andrew Kittell from our North American office, we enjoyed spending time together making off site visits to a cross-section of clients, from Embassies and corporates, to relocation professionals. We had the pleasure of meeting old and new contacts, giving us the opportunity to learn more about the latest trends within different organisations and how ACS can best assist expatriate families when relocating to the UK.
We also had the pleasure of giving presentations to relocation professionals at their offices, continuing to knowledge share, and enabling ACS to be a school of choice when relocating to the UK. We were thrilled to receive great feedback and we are looking forward to welcoming our contacts to campus later on in the academic year.
Due to the chaos caused by the snow at the beginning of the month we had to take the decision to postpone our relocation event until May, please let me know if you like to receive an invite for our next event at ACS Hillingdon, it promises to be a good one!
Relocate Magazine held their annual event at the IOD the evening before Worldwide ERC London. This is always a great opportunity to network with mobility professionals from the UK and around the world. We were able to hear from some of last year’s winners at the Relocate Awards about what the award meant to them and their business’. Relocate Magazines latest partner AOEC also talked about how coaching and leadership development can support transformational change in different organisations. ACS International Schools are very much looking forward to entering the awards this year, excited to be entering one of the new categories, specifically for Schools! We will look forward to seeing many of you in May for the Awards ceremony at this year’s venue, The Globe Theatre.
Last week I attended the Family in Global Transition conference, which took place in The Hague. FIGT has been at the forefront of global mobility, cross disciplinary research and dialogue, reaching from grass roots - those in international transition, whether as short term assignments or as migrants and refugees - across to those who make policy decisions. It has provided a voice for the people who populate a unique global nation - those who bridge borders and cross cultures on a day to day basis.
FIGT conference attracted a range of 600 delegates to the annual event, all eager to learn more about one subject, helping expat families relocate internationally. I was thrilled to be able to listen to some outstanding speakers. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart was particularly interesting, especially when describing how Outposts developed, with significant assistance from his wife. Listening to his stories it was fantastic to hear what an advocate he was in wanting to help in assisting families when relocating Internationally.
Another fantastic speaker was Robin Pascoe she was among the first wave of expat writers to create and promote the language we use to understand the strengths and challenges of the globally mobile family. Robin shared stories over the past 20 years including a clip from CNN when she was interview back in 1993! Very interesting to watch and can be found on you tube. Robin clearly enjoys sharing many stories some from years ago that are still relevant with expat families relocating today.
As well as having the opportunity to hear keynote speakers, we were also given the opportunity to listen and get involved with kitchen table discussions. One of my favourite was ‘The art of a ‘good’ good-bye – and what constitutes a meaningful and effective farewell’. This was thought provoking, many were able to share different stories around how they cope with saying goodbye to family and friends. The first evening we took the opportunity to see a snippet of The Hague whilst attending the networking reception at a local restaurant. ACS was delighted to sponsor the event, and we were invited to attend the Presidents lunch where we were able to learn more about the other sponsors at the event, as well as getting to meet the FIGT board. A mixture of sponsors form, Burdick Psychological and placement services, to International Family Law Group, all delighted and enthused to be part of FIGT.
FIGT have just announced that they are lowering fees to their membership – I would encourage you to take a look at to see how you can get involved!
Our next relocation event will now take place at ACS Hillingdon on the 24th May, if you have not received an invite and would like one please let me know.
I will be attending the EuRA conference next month in Dubrovnik, Croatia this year and look forward to seeing many of you there, if you would like a meeting do not hesitate in contacting me directly.
My colleagues and I will look forward to attending the Relocate Awards Gala Dinner in May at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. We look forward to being entertained by professional actors with light-hearted scenes from Shakespeare!
Boris Johnson makes fact finding visit to ACS Hillingdon
ACS Hillingdon received a visit from Foreign Secretary and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Boris Johnson last week, to see the school’s state-of-the-art facilities and hear how students use technology in class and learn about coding in preparation for an ever-changing future.
Mr Johnson (pictured with Lower School students) was interested to experience the school’s facilities first hand, which includes the brand new £10m Science Centre, and visited two classrooms specially equipped to teach STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) subjects.
Martin Hall, head at ACS Hillingdon, commented:
“We know that many of our students will leave us here at ACS and go on to have jobs in industries which we have not yet even been conceived. It is vital that we encourage students to pursue their curiosity, develop creative thinking and hone their technological skills ready for the future.”
As part of his visit, Mr. Johnson met with students, aged seven to nine, using coding to drive robots; an iPad pre-loaded with the codes for the robots was presented to the foreign secretary giving him the chance to drive one himself.
ACS Egham raises £20,000 for Project Nepal with annual dinner dance gala
Known as ‘Project Nepal’, ACS Egham has a long-term relationship with Jana Bhawana primary school and the local community in the Kathmandu Valley.
In the last three years, funds raised by the ACS Egham community has built five classrooms, a community football pitch and installed running water and electricity. Project Nepal has also sponsored a number of university degrees for Jana Bhawana graduates in Kathmandu.
The annual dinner dance kicked off a string of 2018 fundraising events. Guests took part in a charity auction, with prizes such as luxury wine hampers and Judo classes. Many of these were kindly donated by attendees.
Lauren Kelley, Project Nepal Director, commented on the project:
"This is the fourth year of a five-year project in Nepal, following on from the success of ‘Project Kenya’. I’m always extremely proud of our ACS students, parents and staff who commit whole-heartedly to fundraising every year to provide new resources for the school."
Victory for ACS Cobham girls in Bonn
ACS Cobham’s girls’ basketball team reigned victorious at the recent International Schools Sports Tournament (ISST) held in Bonn, Germany.
The basketball team (pictured) played over twenty games this season prior to reaching the championship finals last weekend where they played students from across Europe including the American International School of Vienna; Munich International School; Bonn International School and the American School of London.
The semi-final turned out to be a rematch with the American School of London, the only team this season to have beaten ACS Cobham’s basketball team.
During the final against Frankfurt International School, ACS Cobham led by 20 points at halftime only to see Frankfurt mount a furious comeback in the second half. However, the team regained its composure eventually winning 59-42 and securing a historic victory. In fact, this is the first time an ACS Cobham’s girls’ basketball team has secured the first place, gold medal.
David Schuchter, ACS Cobham’s Athletic Director and basketball coach, commented:
"We’re extremely proud of all 13 girls whose never-ending work-ethic, team work, perseverance and determination has resulted in this season’s fantastic result. There was simply no stopping these young ladies from the moment they stepped on the court! The team are fantastic role models for the whole school."
ACS Cobham students, Ekaterina Bukina, aged 16, and Laura Salo, aged 18, were also selected for the ISST All-tournament team, a special award for their skill and prowess throughout the championships.
ACS Doha teams up with Aspire for excellence in grassroots football skills
Two coaches from ACS Doha International School, kicked off 2018 by showcasing the Coerver Coaching methodology – a globally renowned football-coaching methodology for skill acquisition and increased confidence among young footballers.
Chris Quinn, ACS Doha’s Athletic Director and one of the coaches presenting the Coerver Coaching programme, said:
“It’s a real privilege to be involved in football coaching especially during these important years in Qatar. One of Coerver’s core philosophies is to convey the message that skill is not a fixed quantity but can be learned. Thus, everyone can improve. Educationally, this is an important message which is very much in line with our philosophy and ethos at ACS Doha.”
The values of the Coerver methodology run in parallel with a number of very important modern educational philosophies. Most importantly, that persistence and hard work are key to success. Participants see their level of skill continually placed under graduated levels of pressure, in doing so it stretches the student’s potential for growth. The learning never stops, when fluency in action is achieved it is time to either introduce a more testing competitive format or expose the student to a new skill or combination of skills.