Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad by Cathy Tsang-Feign, PhD

About the Book

Title: Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad
Author: Cathy Tsang-Feign
Publication: Pomelo Publishers; 3 edition (19 Sep 2013)
Summary: The challenges of living in a foreign country don't begin and end with culture shock. If you're planning a move abroad, you need to prepare yourself for the unique pressures, anxieties and personal and family problems common to all expatriates, which are often difficult to anticipate and a challenge to overcome. 
This expanded new edition contains new information on expatriate relationships and marriage, third culture kids, and a thorough guide to finding help abroad. (amazon)

What I Think

The first paragraph of Dr. Cathy Tsang-Feign's Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad (third edition, revised and expanded) is as concise, true and informative as the rest of her book: 

"There is a lot of romance associated with living abroad. It is often seen as a life of glamour, of white suits and high tea on palm-shaded verandas, chauffeurs and servants and dinners with diplomats, with no problems in store other than a touch of culture shock." (Foreword) 

Culture Shock, Dr. Tsang-Feign says is "better defined as acculturation, [...] a process which can last from six months to more than a year." The process is broken up into four easy-to-understand steps: 
  • Elation - "When first in a foreign country, one finds it quite stimulating that most things are so unlike back home." 
  • Resistance - "Frequent comparisons between home and the host country make everything back home seem so much better." 
  • Transformation - "Individuals feel more familiar with the environment and begin to see the good side of the host country."
  • Integration - "Cultural barriers are bridged." 
Having lived abroad for many years, both as a child and as an adult, I found this theory to be completely accurate. In my experience I have found some countries easier to settle into than others, but the overall process is the same, just slower or faster. 

This book is extremely insightful; it explains theories, shows real life examples and offers helpful advice and tips. I certainly wish I'd read it twenty years ago! However, I know that I can dip back in it as and when I need to. The book covers and broad range of topics, such as: 'Problems of Moving', 'Third Culture Kids', 'Stress at Work and Home' and 'All Alone and Far From Home'. I cannot recommend this book more for people living, or thinking about, living abroad. 

About the Author

Dr. Cathy Tsang-Feign is a leading expert in the field of expatriate and cross-cultural psychology, based on decades of experience working with international executives and diplomats and their families in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. 

She holds Master's Degrees in Counseling and Family Therapy and a PhD in Psychology. She has practised professionally in Los Angeles and Atlanta, as well as London's Harley Street, and currently runs a private practice in Hong Kong. She travels extensively to provide training and assessments for international corporations and government organizations. 

She is a former columnist on family psychology for the South China Morning Post and American in Britain. 

She is married with two children and is an avid gardener and beekeeper in her spare time. 

For more information, visit her website:

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