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Updated 20 Apr 2012

As a mother of two expatriate teenagers, I was very curious about “Expat Teens Talk”. Dr Lisa Pittman and Diana Smit, by writing this book, have filled a gap in the market. 

They have talked to expat teens from around the world about the challenges and issues they face in their transitional lives. Next they presented these issues to three different groups of people and documented their answers. The result was this resourceful book. In “Expat Teens Talk”, Lisa and Diana provide a wealth of ideas, advice and solutions to the challenges facing expatriate teens:  Firstly, from the perspective of expat peers, secondly, from a parental perspective, and thirdly, from a professional perspective. 

This book brings to the reader’s awareness that for an expat teen there is no simple answer to questions like “Where is home?” and “Where are you from?”. These issues, plus a host of others, such as not being able to fit in, pressures of adapting to new schools, worrying about being able to make friends, learning a new language, as well as sex, drugs and alcohol are discussed in this book. The authors added an interactive dimension to the book by having a blank page at the end of each chapter to allow the reader to note down their personal reflections. 

Reading “Expat Teens Talk” has spurred a number of useful and interesting discussions in our household. My 18-year-old daughter, who is leaving to go to university next academic year found the advice particularly valuable. More importantly, it made her realise that there are so many teens around the world just like her.

I recommend this book to all families, whether they live a life in transition or not. Perhaps, on reading this book, local teens can have a better understanding of what life is like for an expat teen, and therefore be less judgemental and dismissive. 

I think a copy of this book should be in every international school library’s collection.

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