If you don’t know Jo Parfitt – you should!
Jo Parfitt’s Expat Book Reviews
Jo Parfitt is the author of several books for global nomads, including Career in Your Suitcase and Write Your Life Stories. She currently lives in Malaysia. With the help of her students she has been invited to provide the reviews you find on these pages.
These are my five favorite books
The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition
Tina L. Quick
300 pages, paperback, €18
Tina L. Quick’s Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition provides crucial guidance for Third Culture Kids (TCKs) who are moving to their passport country for higher education. This guide is thoroughly researched and the American style and content makes it of particular use for a US audience.
Quick identifies the potential pitfalls of university transition and suggests how they can be avoided. As a mother of three TCKs who have experienced living a cross-cultural lifestyle, her knowledge of the topic is evident. Her current work advising international students and on the board of Families in Global Transition, means that the author is an expert in her field.
This guide is ideal for TCKs who are repatriating for university, as the transition process is dealt with step by step in the first five chapters. Furthermore, the inclusion of a chapter dedicated to parents makes this a worthwhile read for the entire family. The summaries at the end of each chapter make this guide easy to dip into, though this can lead to a little repetition. Any teen planning to repatriate for college will find the process easier, smoother and less daunting with this guide by their side.
by Sian Witherden
Home Keeps Moving
By Heidi Sand-Hart
McDougal Publishing 2010
158 pages, paperback £10.99
You own two or more passports. You boarded airplanes before you could walk. And you feel strange surrounded solely by ethnic majorities. If any of these statements ring a bell, you may well be a part of the third culture kids (TCK) phenomenon. Home keeps moving is the penned memoir of a childhood spanning continents, languages, school systems and multi-cultural friendships.
Heidi Sand-Hart’s journey is a touchingly personal account, and yet she stands as a universal voice for all of us who as youngsters knew more about training maids in the Far East than the latest MTV video clips. Combining diary format style writing with chapter headings on specific issues connected to the TCK syndrome generally works well, and is useful when wishing to refer back to certain observations at a later point in time.
Rather than a professional guide, this book rather feels like having a heart-to-heart with your closest girlfriend. We laugh, cry and sigh with Heidi through her frustrations and efforts to fit into each new environment, just as she has adjusted and coped with her current “home”. A must-read for any TCK – I was hooked till the early hours of the morning to finish reading a story so comfortingly close to my own reminiscences.
by Jennifer Reischel (a fellow TCK)
Big in China
My unlikely adventures raising a family, playing the blues, and becoming a star in Beijing
262 pages, hardback, €19.02
This expat memoir is different. Its author is a trained journalist, one-time senior editor of Guitar World and recently crowned Columnist of the Year for his column, The Expat Life, at the Wall Street Journal. Not only is Alan Paul a terrific, acclaimed, writer, but he also has a fascinating story to tell. First, he is a househusband. An expat househusband, and thus shares my own nomenclature of Trailing Spouse. Second, he followed his highly successful wife, Becky, to Beijing on their first posting. Third, his hobby for playing blues guitar led him not only to join but to front a Chinese band and to be their singer too. Again, awards were forthcoming, and Woodie Alan was named the Best Band in China.
So, this is no ordinary memoir. Or is it? For Alan Paul is a modern kind of guy. He is father to Eli, Jacob and Anna and being a father comes first. He is in touch with his emotions and is frank about the difficulties he experienced, his isolation, his culture shock, the difficulty with which he handled his father’s cancer, at a distance and the deep sadness he felt on having to say goodbye and repatriate to America. His story is the story of any expat partner, male or female, musician or not. It is also, importantly, a story of hope and proactivity and will inspire any expat partner to make the most of their posting and become a rockstar in their own right.
by Jo Parfitt
How to Be a Global Grandparent
Anne Huscroft and Peter Gosling
132 pages, paperback £9
For many expats, the fear of their children growing up without forming that ‘special’ bond with their grandparents is not to be underestimated. When there is a physical distance between grandchildren and grandparents the cost of travel and the time and stress involved in keeping a relationship alive can be an issue. This book, written by a global grandparent of 20 years, who has visited his own grandchildren in several countries at least twice a year and the parent of a global grandchild, explains how to create strong and lasting bonds across the miles and generations. Anne, however, has lived in Germany and the Netherlands with her family and is the mother of a global grandchild. Her work as a computer trainer meant that the technology of computers, email, Skype, Facebook and other file sharing and communication tools has made things much easier. Peter, who is an avid Skyper, interviewed relocation and counseling professionals to discover how best to forge those lasting bonds and conducted a survey of global grandparents from several countries. Anne is in charge of the IT section in the book. The result is a useful, inspiring book that will give hope and advice to expat families.
by Jo Parfitt
Third Culture Kids – The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds
Ruth van Reken and David Pollock
320 pages, paperback, €14.50
Two of the world’s gurus on cross cultural children and growing up as expatriates collaborated on this, undoubtedly, the best book there is on what it feels like to be a TCK (Third Culture Kid). Based on experience, research and case study, this is the kind of book that parents buy and then their children read. With stories that will resonate with expat kids the world over, it explains clearly and compellingly not only how it feels to be a TCK, but also what you can do about it. Subjects such as saying goodbye, unresolved grief and identity make this the leading handbook in this field.
Other great books can be found here. All of these reviews came from this great site.