Tag Archives: expat

Health care providers all over the world: help to find, add and rate them

Many internationals struggle when relocating, to find a proper health care provider and this being one of the basic needs one really wants to be met, I was really glad when, a follower of this blog, Jeroen van de Velde, recently offered to write a post about health care providers all over the world Medihoo.com.


With more than 230 Million people living outside of their country of origin one could say the expat-community is the 5th largest imaginary country in the world. For most of these people having access to good quality care is on the top of their priority list, yet finding it seems to be somewhat cumbersome.

  • Where do I find addresses of health care providers in a language I understand?
  • Which of these providers are close to me?
  • Which of them are recommendable? …are just some of the questions many expats pose themselves.

Looking in local listings in a foreign language or getting recommendations from local population is often not really what the expatriate requires.

Medihoo believes that every expat should have easy access to quality care around the globe. Therefore an easy to use health provider search tool has been created under http://www.medihoo.com/search. Here the expat can find, add and rate more thatn 4 million health care providers with more than 1000 different types of health care providers like physicians, opticians, dentists, physical therapists, transport services and many more around the world.

But it is more than just a search tool, it is a health community where expats help each other to find good health care providers around the world. Hence Medihoo’s appeal to the Expat community:

  • Help others to find a good doctor, hospital, nurse, optician or any other kind of health care provider.
  • Share you experiences! Make your favorite health care provider visible to the world.

BECOME PART OF MEDIHOO’S COMMUNITY Improve transparency, accessibility and quality of health care all over the world: • Add good health care providers in your region. • Support good providers by giving them a positive rating. Family, friends, colleagues but also other citizens, expatriates, travellers from all over the world will be interested in providers YOU recommend.

Millions of people use the internet each day. In your country several thousand people will use internet today to find a good health care provider! Help them to choose!

Medihoo’s Motto: Let’s Share Good Care

(this post has been published also on my “other” blog)


How are your children coping?

Many of us are enjoying their holidays on a beach, with family and friends, ignoring (or deciding to ignore?) what is going on in other countries. Being on social media was quite irritating for me in the last weeks: pictures of relaxed children playing in the sand appeared next to news about children shot playing on the beach. Pictures of friends saying goodbye at the airport appeared next to pictures of families who took a fatal flight, the last one in their lives…

With all those wars going on right now and those terrible things happening – I know, they always happen, but sometimes it seems that it happens all at once – I wonder: How do the families who come from those places and live abroad, cope with this?

Living far away from family is already challenging, but when the country you come from is at war, things get much worse. You worry about your loved ones. You won’t probably be able to visit them – and they won’t be able to join you…

Parents will be incredibly worried, trying to reach their families in order to check if they are ok. Maybe they’ll not talk to them for days, weeks. Whether you’re living in a war zone and try to evacuate or you have family in a war zone: it’s an extreme situation and you’ll be in survival mode for a long time. How long can you resist?

And what about the children? Children learn to be resilient in so many situations during their international life, but war is something terrible to live with. They see their parents extremely worried, scared. What do parents tell their children, how do children process this? How can parents – who need help themselves! – help their children to cope with these situations?

Accusing or looking for the person, group or nation that’s responsible isn’t helpful. Being empathetic and listening to the fears children have is incredibly important now. Focussing on the here and now: what can we do today, how can we help eachother today, what kind of measures can we adopt to help our loved ones, our friends?

What should parents tell their children about their country when it’s at war? How can they help them to maintain a positive attitude towards their traditions and values when they see them all questioned by a war?

Children who grow up abroad, often grow up in international settings. What about their friends who turn up being “enemies” all of a sudden? How can they still stay friends if their families are suffering because their nations are combatting each other?

One is for sure: families coming from those countries and living abroad need support.

If you have experienced extreme situations like those evoked here above, I would love your suggestions about how to help children cope with this in the comment section. – Please be aware that I will remove any comments containing accusations or inappropriate language. All I’m looking for are suggestions about how to help these families and children cope right now.

One year expatsincebirth

Bildschirmfoto 2013-08-15 um 11.28.06

Yes, today is my blogs’ first anniversary! It’s been exactly a year since I published my first post and I have to say that I really enjoyed writing every single post.

I’ve started blogging one year ago because I had written about many topics just “for me” and wanted to share them somewhere. To write a book about them seemed very appealing but then I realized that I covered so many different topics, that it would have been like a jack of all trades device. A friend gave me the idea to try to write a blog. But it was a few months later, when another friend told me the same, that I really started blogging. It was during our holiday in Switzerland that I choose the name and the main cathegories I would write about.

Selecting a name for my blog didn’t take that much time. My status as an expat-since-birth did pretty much sum up the topics. I did evaluate the different definitions of Third Culture Kids, Adult Third Culture Kids, Global Nomads etc.  in a post called “expat definition maze” but couldn’t find really a cathegory I could fit in, so I created my own one: expatsincebirth.

About multilingualism:

The knowledge I acquired during my studies about bilingualism and multilingualism brought me to write several posts about these topics in the cathegory being multilingual. As a multilingual person, my home are my languages and when I got children, I had to choose which language to speak to them in our multilingual family. With the  “secret language among (my) twins” I introduced the complex linguistic situation within our family. After pointing our the different definitions of OPOL I wrote about OPOL among multilingual siblings.

I find it pretty interesting that multilingual siblings don’t necessarily have the same language preference and that the initial language plan we usually make when our children are still babies, can change for several reasons when they get older.

There are many myths about bilingualism. I didn’t want to list them all up. There are already many posts and literature about this. But one in particular did intrigue me. It’s about multilinguals having multiple personalities. I’m still collecting answers about this in order to write a paper about it. – You’re very welcome to leave a comment on my post about this.

And then there is the myth about code switching being a sign of weakness. Well, it is not, on the contrary: Don’t worry if your child does code-switching!

Those who know me, know that I’m firmly convinced that reading is very important. And it is even more important for multilingual children to read in the different languages they grow up with. For those who don’t like to read, I wrote a post about how to make our children like poetry (and songs!).

Learning new languages for expats is not always that easy. But there are some tips that can help. I did point out the five more important ones that worked for me and added another post with tips how to encourage children to learn the local language.

There are many reasons to become multilingual at any stage. We don’t have to start at a young age to become multilingual. I shared my multilingual journey and pointed out that the most important thing is to be willing to learn new languages: “When there’s a will, there’s a way to become multilingual“.

About parenting:

In my posts about parenting I tried to give some practical advices. Some more will follow but up to now I gave some advices for when the children have the flu and I shared a first-aid experience I had this summer with one of my daughters, trying to remind other parents about refreshing their First Aid skills regularly.

In the colder period of the year Indoor activities for children become more important and role plays can be fun also for the older ones.

I’m not an over protective parent and like the  Love and Logic approach in parenting which consists also in doing lot of questioning in order to make the children take their own decisions from a very early stage. Also helping less helps our children more than we sometimes think, and it helps us too to realize how independent they can be (even as toddlers).

I’m very interested in e-safety for parents and children and the resources that are available about this topic. I published a few posts about  “How to reduce screen time for children” and about “mobile phones for children“.

The importance to spend one-on-one time with our children and how to manage if you have more than one child is very important in my daily life with my kids. “How to make children listen to us and how to listen to them” and “communicating is listening with empathy” are two posts where I point out the importance of effective communication with our children.

I got a bit annoyed by posts called “What not to say…” and decided to post some about “What to say”: “to parents of a child with a disability” and to a “mum of twins” because I prefer positive reinforcement.

I didn’t write a lot about twins yet, but I’m preparing a whole series about twins “from baby to teen”. The first post about this is called “Twins at school: once separated always separated?

When we spend holidays with our children we sometimes don’t really get to enjoy them as much as we would like. By giving them some chores we can easily get some holiday feeling too.

In order to lead a happier life, despite of all the movings, the changes and having many tasks around our kids, families and work, I wrote a post about the fact that our happiness depends on our selves: if we decide to be happy and take action we will succeed.

As I’m raising my children in a multicultural context and see many different parenting styles every day and I’m really fascinated in the different parenting styles across cultures I wanted to find some answers to the question “Do you think the cultures you’ve been in touch with did influence you in your parenting style?“. I’m still collecting feedbacks which I will publish in a paper. You’re very welcome to leave a comment on the post.

About expat life

I did publish several posts about expat life in general and some specific ones about the Netherlands and Switzerland. I will add some more about Germany and Italy, and maybe some other countries.

About ATCK’s raising TCK’s

Lately I got involved in several discussions about ATCK’s and TCK’s and joined several TCK groups online. I’m planning to write a small book about this and am preparing a questionnaire for ATCK’s (Adult Third Culture Kids) that I’ll soon publish on my blog.

I found out that TCK’s (and expats, global nomads etc.) often “tend to “start cutting bonds around 3 years into a friendship”” and that three is a magic number for TCK’s. Other topics in this cathegory are the good-byes, the ways “people call you“, the impossible question about “where is home” that TCK’s don’t like to be asked and “what kind of memories our kids will share with us“.

If you are interested to participate in my ATCK survey, please leave a message in the responses of my post “Are you an ATCK raising TCK’s” and I’ll get in touch with you.


The most satisfying aspect of running the blog in this first year has been interacting with bloggers and parents from around the world. I found many like minded persons and am having really interesting conversations with people around the globe that I’m really grateful to have found this bloggosphere.

 I’ve joined several groups on the internet and met some of them also in real life. The Multicultural Kid Blogs group on Facebook did even start a own blog that I strongly recommend. Then there are the fb groups Mum knows Mum, Third Culture Kids Netherlands, Expats in The Hague which meet regularly and Third Culture Kids Everywhere etc. that all give me very interesting ideas and inputs for posts.

I would like to thank all my followers for joining my blog and for leaving very interesting comments! The almost immediate response to my writings is amazing and all your feedbacks are very precious to me.

Van harte bedankt – Vielen herzlichen Dank – Con un grazie di cuore –

With a heartfelt thank you – Merci de tout coeur – Gracias de todo corazon!

5 tips for expats about how to encourage your child to learn the local language

If you are an expat and move very frequently, you can get tired to learn a new language every two or three years. This is more than understandable. You probably send your children to an international school because this makes the constant moving easier.

However, if you want your child to learn the majority language in order to be able to interact and play with the children in the neighbourhood or go to the local sport-clubs etc., there are many ways you can help your child. If  you already live in the country of the language your child should learn, it has the great opportunity to learn and use the language in its natural context. You don’t need to hire a teacher for this. You just have to provide your child with a social context that motivates and promotes the learning.

Whether your child is a toddler or an adolescent, there are some tips about how you can help your child to like and learn the local language. And you don’t even have to be good at languages yourself.

1) Learn the language yourself

First of all: be positive and passionate yourself. Take this great opportunity to learn the language alongside your child. Practice what you preach and be a good role model for your child. This is the magic key: if your child hears you speaking the new language, it will be more likely to speak it too. And be careful not to make any negative comment about the language or culture: if you dislike the language, your child will not be keen to learn it.

2) Rhymes, songs, audiobooks etc.

The repetition of rhymes in nursery rhymes, poems or songs is a very good way to get to know a new language. The sentences are often short, understandable and easy to learn by heart. It is a very effective way to absorb a foreign language for all children and adolescents (and even adults!). There are many audiobooks for every yeargroup. Choose translations of books or films your children like and already know in another language. Let them listen the stories and songs over and over again… Go to the local libraries. They often organize readings for different yeargroups. This is a great opportunity for your children to meet peers and have first contacts.

3) Dive into the culture

Taste the local food and surround yourselves with music, radio, TV, typical games etc. Go and visit musea, movies, theaters. It’s the easiest way to get a “language and culture shower” for yourself and your children. If you only stick to movies, music etc. from your homecountry or the countries you’ve been before, you’ll never really feel integrated into the country you’re actually living in.

4) The power of peers or the help of a babysitter

If your child is a bit older and knows already the basics in the foreign language, peers are the best way to practise the language. For younger children, parents often tend to hire babysitters in a language their children already know. If you want that your child learns the majority language, find a local babysitter.

5) Encourage your child and be positive

If you encourage your child and are supportive during the learning period, your child will make the best progress. As I already said in a former post about learning a language for expats: Passion is above all the most important factor in learning any language (or anything else in life…).