J Simens.com

Global Family: Each child has a unique Identity

Balikpapan ExpatsWe are putting on a free webinar this week which would be perfect for anyone relocating anytime. The title is “New Country, New School.” sign up here.  Thursday, 21st at  10 AM BalikpapanTime.


What a wonderful introduction. 


We are very excited to have such a renowned author and specialist, Ms Julia Simens presenting a workshop for our AIS parents and friends, based on the title “Needs of Cross Cultural Kids”. (Being an educator, speaker, author and consultant, this has provided Julia the opportunity to work with over 8,000 families on five continents.  We are very fortunate in having Julia here in Balikpapan and we are thrilled she can share her expertise with us. It should be a very informative presentation. Please check out the link: http://indonesiaexpat.biz/meet-the-expats/meet-julia-simens/

So many of the families I work with want to know a few key things at every presentation that I give. They want to know the correct terms to use to describe their family and children. They want to know what and why transitions are the way they are and how to prepare for them. Then, they want to know how to relate it directly to their own issues.

I am excited to give this presentation to the Australian School located in Balikpapan. You can advance through the presentation below by clicking on the forward button. If you do not want the music, be sure to click the volume button on the lower left side of the presentation.  Videos that are imbedded will not play automatically so you will need to click on they to get them to start.


Activites to do:  Identity and Time Line

To understand why “knowing your child’s identity from his or her view point is important”, please do this activity.

List everything that makes up your child’s identity. Such as:

  • Gender – male or female
  • Cultural Grouping
  • National Identity
  • Religious Identity
  • Passport Country
  • Mom’s heritage
  • Dad’s heritage
  • Identify Identification

Here is an example of a student I used to work with:

He was a six year old male. He lived in a household that was English and Indonesia. His main cultural grouping was Indonesia. He was being raised a Christian. He passport was from the USA.  Mom was American, Dad was Indonesia. He identified with being a basketball player and really good at making jokes.

Then we did his actual time line:

He was six years old so we needed to account for his time and where he lived. When you are dealing with a young child try to keep track of moves by 1 or 6 month changes. Some global families go ‘home’ for 2 months over the summer and that should show up at 10 months in host country and 2 months in ‘home’ location.

Did his parents realize how much "Thai" influences were in their child?

Did his parents realize how much “Thai” influences were in their child?

Born in the USA , spent six months there. Moved to Indonesia and sent 1 year there, family moved to Thailand where they spent most of each year. They did try to spend a month in Indonesia and one month is the USA each year if possible. If you account for each month of this child’s life, his life chart looked liked this. 15% USA, 23% Indonesian and 62% Thai.


Some people quest why this type of break down is important or why they should even think about it in regards to their global family.  Here are the top five reasons why we need to know and understand our child’s own timeline.

  1. Parents might see their child’s cultural identity differently than their child does.
  2. Parents may impose an identity on their child, which many not be the way the child sees him or her self.
  3. Parents must not rely on a school to know the issues their child is having with cultural adjustments, unless they share them with the school.
  4. Many children moving to their passport country are not ‘moving back or moving home.’ Home is actually their parent’s home.
  5. Kids love to be unique so knowing how ‘special’ their own life or timeline is can be a very positive  understanding of  ‘self’  they can be proud of.
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Favorite Food: Indomei (still)

My own child is still less from the USA passport belonging – then where he lived abroad. His time in the USA was limited by a short stay when he was one year old and then summer holidays. He has never lived there for any length of time. This might have brought up the issue of where to go to college or university.  Some global souls do not pick their passport country to go to university. This can be hard to explain to grandparents and extended family.

Global Families should also be aware of this concern. 

(From – Erin Sinogba/Brice Royer/TCKID/ Expatica) Many CCKs also face challenges that unfortunately manifest themselves professionally. Many CCKs are schooled in educational systems that do not translate in their passport countries. A Korean student, who received her education in English while living in Malawi and Kenya, may not perform well at a university in Korea, where she needs to write papers and give oral presentations in Korean.

As a result, her professional opportunities in Korea will not be as wide as those for another Korean student who had been raised in the Korean educational system. This challenge is especially pronounced for CCKs who wish to pursue skilled professions such as medicine and law in their passport countries. Because of their highly specialized terminology, education and proficiency in the language of the passport country is essential for success. Unless CCKs receive supplemental education in these languages, they may miss out on opportunities in these areas.

jackie's time lineAs globalization becomes more and more a fact of life, CCKs are a model for tomorrow’s professionals. It has taken 23 years for our daughter’s time line to show that she is now more USA than any other culture she has lived in. As she heads off into the workforce, she will be equipped with wonderful things this global live has given her. She will continue to hold a special and unique worldview, where she can  self-identify with more than one cultural background.


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