Creating a Strength in Resilience

Creating a Strength in Resilience

Today’s Guest: Dana Nelson

Dana an American counsellor living in Lyon in France and offers counselling services to English speaking expats, international students and others who are struggling with emotional or personal difficulties. Dana has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Penn State University, USA.

Through her work Dana supports client who want to strengthen their emotional resilience, develop greater self-awareness and personal compassion, build more authentic, satisfying relationships and deepen the sense of meaning in their lives.

Dana is also the host of a weekly podcast show – Mindful Expat – recorded for expats and overseas adventurers who are looking for a guidepost for emotional well-being and resilience in their lives abroad

“Our greatest weakness is in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

Sometimes, on a bad day, it can feel as if we are trying and trying and getting exactly nowhere as we strive to set up our new lives abroad and navigate the ‘newness’ of everything – new language, environment, systems and processes.

Many challenges – with few successful outcomes. This is when resilience becomes key. And the good thing is we ALL possess resilience, and we can ALL work on building our resilience in times of stress and overwhelm.

In this weeks podcast with Dana we talk resilience – take a look at the key points:

  • Dana shares her relocation story – see what signs of resilience you can spot in her story.
  • Dana gives us her working definition of resilience.
  • The signs that we are struggling in the resilience stakes and could benefit from reaching out for support and ASKing for help.
  • Factors that contribute to resilience – everyday life and living is one!
  • Why expat life can be a particular challenge when it comes to resilience.
  • What we can do to build our resilience and how others can help us including our companies and organisations.

Your Resources:

“Resilience is not what happens to you. It’s how you react to, respond to and recover from what happens to you.”

Jeffrey Gitomer

Thanks so much for joining me for this episode. If you enjoyed the episode please share it using the social media buttons.

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Leveraging the power of cartoons and gamification to boost cultural competence

Leveraging the power of cartoons and gamification to boost cultural competence

In this weeks podcast Lucy Fogarty and Mohit Rajan founders of Culture Buff Games talk about developing country specific cartoon games to teach adults and teens about cultural values, emerging trends for online learning tools in the intercultural training field, the benefits of cartoons and gamification over traditional learning methodologies to impart cultural knowledge and the drivers behind future demand for online learning solutions in the intercultural field.

Culture Buff Games is a company that develops country specific interactive cartoon games to help adults and teenagers learn about cultural values in a way that is fun and engaging, leveraging the power of cartoons and gamification to boost cultural awareness. Culture Buff Games has a suite of games on American values and British values. Each game has 13 cartoons depicting historical events or contemporary real-world examples to highlight important American or British cultural values.  Culture Buff India and China will be released next year.

During the interview Mo outlines the emerging trends for online learning tools in the intercultural training field

  • Changes in the way we impart and consume cultural knowledge
  • Increase in shorter assignments and need for innovative tools to quickly thrive in new culture
  • Millennial preference for bite size, actionable and relevant knowledge, accessible anytime, anywhere
  • Millennial preference for gamification of content

Lucy talks about the universal appeal of cartoons for both adults and teenagers. She highlights some of the benefits of cartoons as educational tools and their effectiveness over traditional learning.

  • Visual illustrations of cartoons boost retention and recall of knowledge.
  • Cartoons increase engagement by arousing curiosity and facilitate accelerated learning.
  • Cartoons are an effective trigger for opening up discussion and enabling the voicing of opinions.

Mo highlights some of the benefits of gamification

  • Gamification appeals to millennials who enjoy learning via game like experiences
  • Gamification induces a spirit of competition and boosts participation in learning
  • Gamification boosts application of knowledge via problem solving and promotes accelerated learning.
  • Gamification reinforces learning through spaced repetition.

Lucy talks about drivers behind future growth trends in the cultural training sector

  • Growth in the cross-cultural training sector globally over the coming years will be driven by rise in expatriate assignments and demand by corporations for online learning
  • Growth in online learning driven by cost saving, flexibility and scalability
  • Latest trend gaining momentum is gamification of content.
  • Need to find the right balance between face to face training and online learning solutions.

Visit  CULTURE BUFF GAMES to see the preview video and sign up for a free trial.



















Finding Support for Expats When Pregnant Abroad

Finding Support for Expats When Pregnant Abroad

Expat life impacts on every aspect of our lives and no experience can be more personal and pertinent in this respect than pregnancy and child-birth. Arriving in a new location while pregnant can be challenging as I know. We moved to live on the island of Madeira when I was three months pregnant with my second child eleven years ago.

Knowing no-one and not having the normal support systems of parents, relatives and best friends back home, not speaking the local language or understanding the medical systems can add to the stress of the adjustment process. But if you know what questions to ask, and are able to calmly identify what kind of support you want and keep an open mind then there is every chance you will find the care you need. In this interview I talk to Karen Wilmot – The Virtual Midwife. The conversation provides invaluable tips and advice.

Karen has been involved in the arena of women’s health for many years. Working in the Middle East, Karen came to feel that pregnancy and childbirth were not being treated with the respect and honour they deserved – becoming too procedural and technocratic.

Karen wanted to support women at a deeper level and so eight years ago she started to support women her way and a year ago opened a centre for pregnant women in Oman. This is a delightful conversation about the experience of pregnancy and childbirth.

We talk about:

  • The challenges women and their partners face when managing their pregnancy and child birth as an expat.
  • What Karen means by supporting pregnancy and childbirth from a holistic perspective.
  • Karen’s take on FEAR and her suggestions on how to manage those fearful thoughts and feelings.
  • What questions to ask and when.
  • We finish with Karen’s five tips for creating a calming birth environment.

We hope you enjoy this interview and please do share with your friends.

To learn more about Karen and her online programme you can go to where you can also connect with Karen.

At the end of the podcast I talk about two books Knocked Up Abroad: Stories of pregnancy, birth and raising a family in a foreign country and Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists and turns around the globe by Lisa Ferland. You can find them on Amazon and listen to my interview with Lisa HERE

For clarity, these are not affiliate links. These are resources that I believe may be helpful to you. Please conduct your own research to ensure you are making an informed decision before buying. 

Global Mobility: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Global Mobility: Two Sides of the Same Coin

We all know that international relocation can be a challenging and emotive experience. The highs and lows can be overwhelming and while the experience for the majority is generally very positive, there can be days when the going gets tough. It is on those days that the accessibility and quality of relocation support makes all the difference. 

In this weeks podcast Ines Nascimento shares her personal and professional experience as an international HR expert and expat.

When organizational support does not meet expectations the following comments can be heard….

But… they just don’t get it… don’t care…… are not interested…… keep making mistakes…….have left us in limbo.

They being representative of the people who are connected with relocation support either in-house or from any relocation support provider.

Of course, it is not all bad. I also hear stories of fantastic support and great service provision. What differentiates the good from the bad? I believe it has a lot to do with the way in the service provisions are delivered.

Timely provision that relates to the needs of the assignee and family obviously helps. Empathy and compassion provides the icing on the cake. But here’s the catch. Empathy and compassion comes from a place of interest and understanding – an understanding of the employee experience.

This can be a problem when support is provided by people who have not lived abroad themselves or are simply not interested or trained sufficiently to understand the practical and emotional challenges of relocation.

In this weeks, Thriving Abroad Podcast I talk to Ines Nascimento, a global HR mobility professional who truly understands both sides of the relocation coin because both have featured as part of her life.

As an HR specialist, Ines worked in global mobility roles in Portugal. Then she, together with her husband decided they wanted to experience life outside of Portugal. They set off with very clear intentions. To experience life in two widely contrasting cultures.

They moved first to the US, secondly China. Their mission: to get into the real soul of each country. No expat bubble for them. They spent four years in Tennessee USA, and then moved to a Tier 2 city in China.

Ines shares her experience on the podcast saying:

‘It’s a transformative experience in my opinion. A unique way of challenging yourself. Getting to know yourself better. Knowing you can thrive in almost any environment if you put your focus and your energy well into that. It changes you professionally and personally too.

But beyond this, the goal for Ines was to use this opportunity to keep up with her career and add competencies and skills to her CV.

As a result, this expat experience gave her a unique perspective and insight into the experience of international assignees.

Ines conclusion: often the issues of discussion in global mobility seem disconnected to the real issues and lived challenges of the assignee and their family. Ines believes there is work to be done on aligning these two perspectives.. which was music to my ears as co/author of the book THRIVING ABROAD: The definitive guide to professional and personal relocation success.

Ines highlights the three core challenges she believes HR/GM face. As she says, nothing new or revolutionary…. but areas that are crucially important in setting employees up for success during and after their assignment:

  • Identifying the right person to send abroad
  • Adjustment of the accompanying family
  • Repatriation planning

We talk about her perspective on these three challenges and Ines’ advice for both the organization and employee. Ines was keen to emphasise that getting this right depends on both the organization and employee accepting ‘it is a mutual responsibility.’

To learn more about Ines you can visit her website HERE.

To sign up to receive our regular Modern Mobility newsletter featuring the latest Thriving Abroad podcast and global mobility news go HERE.

Buy our book THRIVING ABROAD: The definitive guide to professional and personal relocation success

‘I love this book……. I cannot see how anyone can argue that it is anything other than impeccably useful. It is almost surprising this type of book has never been written before…..this ought to be an industry set text.

 Review in TheHRDirector by Michelle Parry Slater.



Keeping Calm and Serene Amongst the Chaos of International Relocation

Keeping Calm and Serene Amongst the Chaos of International Relocation

It is ‘that’ time of year again. Assignees and their families are embarking on new international moves, others returning after long summer breaks. Settling and adjusting to new routines, schools and jobs can be exciting and exhilarating on the one hand, and if we’re honest, pretty exhausting on the other.

This week on the Thriving Abroad Podcast I talk to Dr Tami Nelson and Dr Kelli Jones Sanness from Therapy Solutions Abroad, our subject is mental well-being and it is a conversation that is definitely worth your time.

The truth is everyone reacts differently to change and transition. Good days filled with excitement and awe at our new experience can be replaced by ones where it can all feel too much. Such is the roller coaster ride of international relocation – it is important to remember it is all a part of the adjustment process:

‘It is natural to feel distress and under some pressure from this huge move.’

As you settle into new routines now is a good time to reflect on your schedule and consider your personal sense of well-being.

A research report by Talking Talent highlighted that in the UK 71% of workers have experienced burnout at least once in their working lives, an alarming statistic and one that underlined for me the importance of being proactive and taking care of oneself as an expat.

Organisations can also help by thinking about the relocation pressure points for assignee’s and their families and providing appropriate and timely support.

So, in the spirit of well-being I encourage you to put your feet up and listen to the advice of Tami and Kelli as we talk about the issue of expat stress and mental well-being.

We encourage you to recognise it is a natural experience to feel distress and under some pressure – for a huge move this is a normal experience’.

During the conversation we talk about:

  • How stress varies from person to person, we are all different after all!
  • What can contribute to a sense of overwhelm and distress.
  • The importance of setting realistic expectations both before and during an international relocation.
  • The symptoms to look out for that may indicate unhealthy levels of stress.
  • Help – and where to find it.
  • How to help yourself including a tip – independence is not always a good thing.

‘If you take care of yourself you have the ability to take care of others. If you’re lacking in that then you’re not going to be able to give anything to anyone else’

To learn more about Tami and Kelli visit their website HERE

Tami and Kelly have also shared links to a number of articles they have published recently: