When I found out that Intercultural Training was an actual job I was over the moon. I could finally put my mega multicultural background and language-learning obsession to good use, helping people learn about and settle into their new hometowns, no matter where in the world they were coming from.
I was especially looking forward to helping kids and teenagers adjust to their new locations, smoothing and enhancing the process for them by sharing my own experiences and what I had learned. It isn’t always easy, moving as a kid, and even the most well-intentioned parents aren’t always able to explain all the changes to them.
When I told my playground friends in Barbados that I was moving to La Côte d’Ivoire with my parents, they promptly replied ‘Africa? You know there are bears in Africa. They’re going to eat you.’ I was five. First I spent a traumatic summer in France where my parents were enrolled in an intensive language course, and I was placed with a babysitter that reminded me of Ursula in The Little Mermaid and then a bilingual school where the ‘bilingual’ bit of the title was a lie.
To top things off, when we finally landed in Abidjan it was night time and as we drove into the city I spotted a glowing red sign that said ‘hell’ because the ‘S’ in the Shell Oil building sign wasn’t working. We went for a walk in the neighbourhood the next morning, and the only word I was recognising on stores was ‘pain.’ I was deeply concerned about my parents’ decision-making process and wondering how I could make it back to Barbados by myself without offending them.
Fortunately, Abidjan turned out to be an amazing place to live, I developed a resilient character and forgave my folks for their nonchalant approach to relocating their child and her overactive imagination. Many countries and years later, after a training course at International House in London, I started my career as an intercultural trainer. I have now worked with almost a hundred families from all over the world, supporting them as they head somewhere new, return to their roots after years away, or land in an unfamiliar land and language. It is something I really enjoy doing, especially after so many (99% fantastic) international moves with my own family.
The bulk of my intercultural training work has been with BGRS, a real powerhouse of talent mobility, who kindly connected me to Global LT when I told them about Sisters Only Language Summit. Global LT is a leading language company with over 40 years of experience providing language services for executives and families relocating globally. Their primary focus is people. Throughout the unprecedented and unsettling times faced in 2020, Global LT customized virtual language journeys for their learners. In 2021, they are taking this even further to ensure that everyone connected to Global LT maintains a wonderful human experience and success in their personal, linguistic and cultural competence goals.
Ever since we connected Global LT have been enthusiastic and supportive of SOLS, promoting it to their internal teacher networks (15,000 strong!) and extensive international community. They have shown respect, interest and support for our vision, and individual employees have reached out to see how they can further contribute to the success of our growing event.
We are so grateful, with this just being our third edition, to be partners with a long-standing, far-reaching company like Global LT as it encompasses so much of what SOLS is about. Global LT is an extremely inspiring one-stop-shop for any and all needs related to relocating. They have been empowering professionals and their families to live, work, and communicate successfully everywhere and anywhere in the world, in any language, since 1979. We are so glad to have their belief in us and what we are trying to achieve with the Sisters Only Language Summit. With partners like Global LT, it is even more likely that SOLS will be going strong decades from now.
We thank you!