Walk into any educational institution throughout the world, and the sentiment is the same — there are those who sit at the cool kids’ table, and then there are those who wish they did. Our desire to be liked and “fit in” is universal.
When it comes to Third Culture Kids and international schools, popularity collateral extends beyond the usual suspects that typically land you on the inside. Good genes, like attractive looks and athletic abilities, or a stylish wardrobe don’t cut it. No, the rules get a little skewed when everyone’s from somewhere else. English language abilities, ethnicity, citizenship, and social class hoard the power.
Just ask Isabelle Min, colleague and friend, proud owner of TCK Institute. Isabelle’s done the work to combat the toxic residue from an international childhood spent feeling very small in an atmosphere where everyone else seemed to feel natural. Now, she leverages those scars to help others.
We all want to belong, and acceptance by your peers is the highest form of currency available. The lonely feeling of rejection lasts long past graduation day, and no amount of success makes it completely go away – unless you do the internal work.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- Developing a protective shield
- The global privilege of language, culture, and passport
- Why history makes some injustices graver than others
- Inferiority vs. superiority, perception and truth
- Always being picked last on the team
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Have you heard? We’re banding together and launching a movement. If you’re a professional passionate about serving expats, then get your seat at our table right here.
- Website for Isabelle: www.tck.or.kr
- Episode 144: Unlikely Connections with Cath Brew and Jerry Jones
- Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
We’re delighted by our recent nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
I’m not biased, I’m not super open and really cultural and I’ve been all over the world. So I have tons of friends from all over, every corner of the planet, I’m just not biased.
This sound like something you could stand behind?
Here’s the thing, I got some news for you, scientists have found a measurable correlation between the amygdala activity and implicit racial and other biases. What we know from the research in Psychology Today that’s been reported by Dr. Bernard Luskin, is that we can actually see a visual brain response of bias, even though an individual is not conscious of it.
Racism, sexism, homophobia and more are measurable, and people who are not consciously aware of it.
Bias is in place whether you’re aware of it or not, and thanks to modern technology it can be measured.
Kind of hard to ignore kind of hard for us to deny when we’re walking around with an amygdala.
However, the good news is that the first step towards neutralizing these types of biases is awareness.
So this episode is an extension of what we started last week with Jerry Jones and Kathy Brew in our episode called Unlikely Connections. That was an invitation to think about your own biases stereotypes and to see what new ways you can create understanding. This episode is an extension of that and one, I have to say, which is very very personal and somewhat vulnerable from my side. Because I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes view of bias as it has played out in my own life.
And thanks to expert Isabelle Min for joining us today and Expat Happy Hour, she and I are going to share with you what happens when two individuals who are focused on culture and communication come together and are honest about our own biases.
Let me tell you a little bit about Isabelle first before she joins us. She is phenomenal. She’s known as a catalyst for individual and organizational transformations, she has been the creator and the one who’s delivered a series of intercultural programs around the challenges for cross-cultural teams, both in and out of Korea. She’s a phenomenal communicator and it comes from her years in broadcasting. She has taught at the Somme Kyun Kwan University as an adject professor. She is a certified professional coach, trained facilitator and leadership competency assessor.
This lady knows what she’s doing. She comes with 30 years of international upbringing and career experience in six countries and five languages around the world. She is the founder and CEO of Transition Catalyst Korea institute and more.
So today’s episode, I’ve invited Isabel to join and give you a behind-the-scenes view of bias and how deeply it can be held whether it’s conscious or not an invitation for you to think of how it plays out in your own life.
Sundae: So you’ve just heard the impressive credentials of Isabelle Min and what she does to serve others, especially in the intercultural and Third Culture Kid space. What you’re going to hear now is a behind-the-scenes view of how I met Isabelle and what happened next.
So first and foremost Isabelle, thank you so much for joining us on Expat Happy Hour. It is such a pleasure to have you today.
Isabelle: The honor is all mine Sundae.
Sundae: I really appreciate your time and I appreciate your willingness to share our experience, what for me, was a deeply personal experience and I’m excited for our listeners to find out how that connects to your work and also to why I do what I do. So let’s give them a behind-the-scenes view. You know, Isabelle, seeing you for the first time in Bangkok at the Families in Global Transition Conference. I was having breakfast with Ruth van Reken, just dropping names there because it’s Ruth van Reken, and you walked by. I believe you were with Esther Tan, is that right?
Sundae: And we said hello.
Sundae So from the outside, it seemed like just a quick hello, you spent some time talking to Ruth and then you went on with your day.
Isabelle: That’s right.
Sundae: Afterwards, what people heard last week in episode 144 with Jerry Jones and Cath Brew, there was this really impactful lightning round, so a speech that Cath and Jerry did together that really created an openness of dialogue in the whole conference around identity and around our own biases, followed by Danau Tanu’s speech about hidden identity. So it created this space where we were thinking and talking about things.
Fast-forward to the rooftop restaurant, I went to the bathroom, walked out and I saw you and Jerry Jones talking, so I dropped by again. All of this seemed just like a normal conference protocol, people are popping in and out, talking to each other. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I want to hear from you, what do you remember? I roll out of the bathroom, I interrupt your conversation with Jerry Jones and then what happened?
Isabelle: I network a lot and I was just talking to Jerry about the impression that he and Cath had created and I was congratulating them for a fantastic job. And then there you walk out and I looked up at you because you’re so much taller than I am, and I think I said something about how unlikely it was for the inner child in me, years ago in Brazil when I was just growing up, to actually approach when I want to talk to somebody new.
Sundae: Right, and so first of all, for those of you who don’t know Isabelle, Isabelle is an amazing communicator, she’s very perceptive. This is what I have of my impression of you Isabelle from the times that we’ve interacted. You’re so observant, so self-aware and courageous in your conversations, and I don’t think I was prepared for that because I was sleep deprived and probably already sort of deeply touched from all these other things that were going on. So you shared that with me, and it tapped into something. I don’t even know if you remember what happened next? Like for me, this was a significant experience, but for you it might have just been a tiny blip.
Isabelle: What I remember is your eyes just grew, almost popped out and then you were saying, “Oh my God, we have to have a moment here.” And you took a picture of the three of us, Jerry, you and I. So I have that moment captured and we shared a few words of course.
Sundae: And so what that did for me was, I was so impressed by one, your self-awareness of like you said the young girl who went through the Third Culture Kid experience. And because obviously you do this professionally, you’ve processed this, you’ve come to terms with this and you use it in your work to support others. But I was hit in the face with that transparency and it tapped into some of my stuff, I’m going to say more about my stuff afterwards. But can you share with the people what you meant by that, what was it? You said I was tall you also mentioned I was blonde and that had a significance for you, tell me more.
Isabelle: Yes, and so FIGT tends to do that to me, it’s one of those places where we can step out of our own cocoon and actually experiment and talk. And yes, I am pretty risky in my communication, especially because I I felt that I could with you somehow, in the way that you’re affably allowing and embracing people. So I felt I was really honest with you, something that I probably would not have done back in Seoul, of course. But I remember saying how, when I went through the American School in Brazil in the late 70s, mid to late 70s, and I was just a teenager, really not fluent in English. I didn’t I feel that I could approach, and you were in my child’s mind. You are that teacher image, long, tall, very outgoing, very kind. But somebody that with my limited English, I could just not approach or feel that as if I would be seen by you that you would take any interest. And of course, this is a collective memory of the many times when I did feel exactly that way, neglected on not seeing, not really knowing and feeling very stupid, so I would have shied away. But there you were and years later, many many years later there I was actually blurting it out. So that is what was happening.
Sundae: I have people that you hear me say this all the time on the podcast, I’ve got chills up my arms, because when something powerful like that hits me my whole body responds. Put this in context, so for those of you who are listening, Isabelle’s experience as a Third Culture Kid with an Asian ethnicity in an English-speaking context International School context, directly ties to the research of the Danau Tanu about hidden identities and hidden racism.
What is going on? This is what I want to know, what is going on, that when blond, tall, outgoing, kind people, probably AKA also white, create an experience inside where you don’t feel seen. What is going on here? And I think that’s what the research shows as well and we’re going to hear about that in next week’s episode. Something is going on, it’s not conscious, it’s not intentional, but something is going wrong.
Isabelle: It’s that feeling of feeling very very small in an atmosphere where everybody else is natural. It’s that sense of not knowing. And the year was actually 1976, the bicentennial year. And I need to tell you, the first day I arrived at school they were practicing the bicentennial parade, you know the Fourth of July independence. And so they were parading with this boy in the front playing the tambourine or a drum and I had no idea what that was. And I felt because of the number of people that were following, I felt as though I should know. And I have no words to describe what I was feeling, shame perhaps. And I wish my parents were there, but they dropped me at school, a very expensive school for the Korean diplomats, you know salary. And I knew I couldn’t run back to my parents and say, “I don’t want to go to this school because I don’t understand.” But there I was, a teenager fully grasping how old or how much older I am than compared to my classmates, because I have been demoted because I couldn’t speak English. I was in fifth grade, but I was already by age a sixth grader.
So well, because I couldn’t speak, there I was and I didn’t know what softball was and so of course when the PE, physical education teacher was there to selecting two best players to pick on their teams. I would be the last one left out, the tall already in puberty feeling very very awkward, not being chosen for the last and not even knowing the rules of the games. So it continued, if there was an International Bazaar I had no idea how this is done, what my mom should be prepared for and my mom of course has no idea either. And I don’t want to embarrass her, I don’t want to embarrass myself, but even the way that everybody is dressed is different. The boys and girls from America from Brazil the very rich resilience.
Of course in every International School locally, you have people who are very affluent, who send their kids to International Schools, but I was not on a par with them. I didn’t wear the Levi’s, I didn’t have the range where you know, this may sound silly even the lunchboxes that we are carrying, I didn’t have those Barbie lunch boxes.
Sundae: So what you’re saying is, I’m going to interrupt you here for a second because this is so interesting. You talked about this being in 1976 and it’s going to be some people are listening who are going to say, “Well, things have changed.” And I’m going to say that’s not true, because I was just reading a book by Catrice Jackson, Antagonists, Advocates and Allies, it is about how in dynamics, where there is a majority and the minority. The majority sets the rules, they set the tone and then the minority scrambles to choose whether they fit in or not.
And this is connected to culture, it’s connected to power, it’s connected to class. And it’s who’s the in-group and who’s the out-group. And especially for any kid who’s in middle school, we know that those things become important and in ways that maybe you don’t realize. So this is about being an insider and outsider whether it’s then and when you were at school or right now in any international school or any cross cultural context, we always have insiders and outsiders. Yes.
Isabelle: Yes, and in those days in American schools, the idea of the insider-outsider was the popularity of thing that you probably are very familiar, but I didn’t experience anywhere else, and it was very apparent that I was not a popular kid. And to not have the framework of the way that culture, the American culture in that case, works is what puts you off because you don’t know where to begin to fit in
Sundae: Right, and your family culture might be in direct opposition of the culture at the school, which would make you successful. So you’re put in this dilemma. And that’s why this conversation is absolutely relevant today in 2019, because this dynamic is happening now. And people like me, for example, who’s part of the majority culture, if we’re at an American International School setting, but there is a lot of, I’m putting this in air quotes normalcy of what I do is what is done. Because it’s from the dominant culture, you make brownies, we do brownies at home, so that’s not a stretch. It would be like if I went to a school and everybody wanted me to bring samosas, I’d be like, “What? How? Do I have to Google that?” There’s this insider and outsider reminder in so many ways, in the clothes that people wear, in the food, the language, everything. And it’s hard enough in the dominant group to find your way in the in and out group, but then imagine all the cultural complexity that’s going on.
Isabelle: And speaking of family cultural ways, yes it was so different. And I remember my Dad years later would tell me, because I was the first and only child who had gone to an American School previously in Italy. My family had sent all the kids to Italian school, we could not as a poor country Diplomat afford to send to international school. So there I was the first child to go to International School with a big investment on my parents side. And at some point they started fearing because I was acting funny at home, I was acting, in my own language egalitarian. I was seeing how certain things were, so I was rebelling and of course remember I was in puberty so that was the age as well. So my dad would many years later recall, “Mom and I we were deeply worried about what you were becoming, of course you turned okay.”
Sundae: So I guess this is what I’m hoping that the listeners will take away, is to reflect on one; if you are part of sort of a minority culture in your school system and your International community, you are not alone. And if your kids are part of that, these are important conversations to have because they might be undetected but still present. The other thing is for those of you who are listening who are part of a majority culture, this dynamic is happening and you are participating in it.
So what can you do? And I’m going to say we because I’m part of a majority culture in the sort of international school system. What can we do to break down those sort of ideas of “This is normal for everybody.” In German we call it selbstverstandlich, like of course you know brownies everybody’s going to make brownies. Because that’s what we do, no that’s not true. But what can we do to be more self-aware as a majority identity that this isn’t natural for everybody.
And this brings me to what tapped in for me when you shared that with me. So we’re back at the rooftop restaurant, you just shared that with me, I had this huge shame storm that came up and there were two things that happen that came in two waves. The first thing that impacted me was, when you shared that I thought about what are the ways in which I do not see people who are different from me. So when you came to the breakfast table, I saw you and I felt intimidated because you’ve got these gorgeous glasses and you look really smart. And I know that you were presenting on Asian TCK identity and I’m in the TCK space, but you obviously know more about that than I do. and all of these things have like, “How do I connect? Where do I connect?”
And I’m going to be really honest, I’m going to say things that people think but don’t dare say. And I could put myself at risk for this but I’m going to say it. I know if you had been a European researcher, someone that maybe spoke German or lived in the country right next to me, I would have naturally felt and more of an ease to find ways to connect. So I am an intercultural specialist, I have a Master’s Degree in this, I teach this, I practice this. And in that moment, I know that was still part of the dynamic, I know that I wasn’t leaping up with an ease and naturalness I would have had with let’s say someone who was from Germany or Switzerland. So, if that’s happening with someone whose job it is to be aware of this, imagine what’s going on inside of each and every one of us in ways that we don’t see. Because it’s unconscious bias, that’s our brain and how it works or it is unconscious and we don’t want to see it.
So what did for me the first sort of shame storm that happened was “What have I done at this conference in the last two days to connect with people that are different from me? And how many times have I been at sit-in conferences and social situations where I didn’t seize that opportunity?” And mind you Families and Global Transition is kind of a place where you kind of reconnect with your online buddies and you’re finally in the same space, so you kind of are selfish with your time. But at the same time, again also being part of a majority identity, was I dropping the ball? And that conversation, that shame storm, that awareness, the laziness I’ll say it, that made such a positive impact on me that the next event I was at in South Africa, which was a very similar dynamic of majority identity, minority identity, I actively sought out to go to women who were very different from me and have those conversations even though I wasn’t sure how I was going to connect, I did it anyway, so I want to thank you for that.
Isabelle: I want to thank you because you are giving me goosebumps right now, what you are saying and the risk that you’re taking. You see, you talk about how the majority should be more sensitive and aware, but that is not how our brains are wired, our brains in my opinion or from what I’ve read, are wired to stay in the comfort zone, not to change, not to risk, you know this better than anybody else. So, to become aware and have that realization at that moment and then follow it up with courage to go a different path, that’s huge Sundae. And for that I thank that moment on the roof.
Sundae: Me too, and now I’m getting all like my throat is like tightening up because I’m really gonna get emotional. So I’m gonna go further now Isabelle, I’m going to go further. So after that, so that was the first wave and we talked and I think at the time I blamed it on being sleep-deprived, but I’m not sleep deprived now and it’s choking me up.
So what happened afterwards, is you walked away, you blew me away and I had to process something that I shared with you later but at that time you had no idea. When you talked about this blond, tall, kind, it totally, this is so embarrassing, it totally triggered stuff from high school and I’m 42 years old and I’m talking about high school, Oh my God you guys. And I’m also self-conscious of people from high school are going to listen to this. So here’s what it triggers, I’m being really real, so what it triggered is, I was the tall, blonde, friendly girl, probably people would say I was in the popular group and I felt so misunderstood for years, because people question my intentions. And I would connect with people who are different from me. I took woodshop, I took art, I like to hang out with the guys that smoked in the back even though I was the good girl, I like people, I’m interested in people and because it’s this classic American popularity contest thing people question my intentions, you know, “What is she campaigning for homecoming queen?” or whatever. Because I would connect with people who weren’t like me. And I remember, this is so embarrassing, this is a funny story, so one really poignant time for me is, there was a group of friends that were having like a grunge concert, you know remember grunge? Like that Green Day’s kind of band that you know represents. It was a school band from high school, they were having this concert in a basement and I’m a dancer, so I love all kinds of music and people probably would categorize me as a Pop music person. We show up and I remember people looking at me like “Why is she here? What is her intention?” I think like get over it. I always felt people were questioning my intentions and because of the way I fit into that American stereotype blond girl, like AKA stupid, yep I’m superficial. I think people always underestimated my depth and my intelligence.
Isabelle: And the pain that both of us are feeling for not being seen authentically for who we are but by being labeled in one way or the other. I mean, I feel your pain.
Sundae: This is very kind of you to say that and I’m going to say I believe it’s different because of the whole power and identity and history and context. I benefit so much as a white middle-class woman, my pain is very very minimal compared to people who have been systematically.
Isabelle: Here’s what I’m going to say, someday when I repatriated it back to Korea at the end of high school, I know what you mean. Perceived as superficial, perceived as privileged, being popular, I was there and still it felt hurtful.
Sundae: You’re so awesome, look at you and you’re still validating that. So what we’re grappling with right now is you’re validating experience.
Isabelle: You cannot compare the depth or the pain, I mean yes, there is more to be done for those who are in the minority I agree. Whereas those who are in the majority have little bit, you know, it’s the self awareness and awakening that’s necessary, but remember at that rooftop my child was meeting your child.
Sundae: This is why you’re so amazing, so right now what you’re doing is you’re reminding me to sort of validate the pain for what it is. And that is true in terms of it’s still something, it’s child like that we’re healing and that’s important. To be seen and understood is so critical and there’s so many ways that were not seen and understood.
I think I’m pulling back from this social justice side and sort of the historical power dynamic side and saying, “Wait a minute, some injustices are different from others because of the historical context in the levity.” So, here’s where this is connected.
So, what happened afterwards is, it just tapped in hard. So I had to pull Jerry Jones aside and debrief this, I was like, “Something just happened and I need to process it.” So, he was kind and took a few minutes and here’s what it did for me and this is what I shared with you in our follow-up call. What it did for me is there was this moment where I tapped into my old stuff, and there was pain there and it was like, “Oh the reminder of I hate it when people put me in a box, I hate it when people underestimate me, I hate it when people see me for something that I not, I hate it when they miss who I am.” And then I was like, “Oh my God, this is just one moment on a rooftop, I haven’t had this moment for a long time, If I were a woman of color, I would have this every single day, and that is not okay.”
That’s what you and I talked about afterwards, where I had tears in my eyes and I have them now, this idea, like I get this as an interculturalist, I teach this. But like an embodied experience of every single day, people who are in a minority situation, whether it’s because of their religion, their sexual orientation, the way they look, their skin color, name it, their able bodiedness or not, like whatever it is, people who are marginalized every single moment. They are put in boxes and sometimes you can’t even hide it because it’s a visible marker and that is not okay. It’s not okay that we do this and I know that our brains do this, I know that biochemically we are programmed to see difference, we’re programmed to be biased and I feel like we can do better.
So that’s what hit me and again I share that
Isabelle: I’m just sitting and savoring this moment.
Sundae: I share that because I feel like it’s gonna put me out with you know, this is not white guilt or white fragility, we need to do better.
Isabelle: It’s the dawning of the realization how we feels like and we can read as much as we want about inequality, about differences and all that. But that was the moment when it really really, like you said it embodied it and that feeling will never go away, that realization of “If this is how I feel imagine if I were in their shoes?” And that’s called empathy. It’s knowing for sure in your body.
Sundae: So that’s the backstory everybody and you can see how amazing Isabelle is and what benefit there is by processing your stuff, the childhood stuff, the identity stuff. And Isabelle, tell us more about you and thank you for just holding space for me by the way. Tell me more about you and what you do for TCK’s and the people that you work with and how is this connected to what we were just talking about.
Isabelle: Yeah, so for me, it took many many years before I could start processing, and of course FIGT has helped me tremendously. But I think the first moment where I realized what had happened to me was the repatriation and then getting married and having a job and I never left Korea after that. I was never an expat, I travelled a lot, I’d go for businesses a lot, but I never had to move all my belongings. But coming back to Korea, to a country that was just at that point in the early 80s budding into a more developed world, and then finally nowadays Korea is much more prominent economically.
But feeling all that, I needed to process what had happened to me, because at some point it was acting as a very painful memory. Every time that people envied me, for example, for having lived abroad I would find myself brushing it off, almost abrasively and saying, “You have no idea what it felt like to live abroad.” And of course in my thirties, I started accepting, “Hey from their perspective that is natural, it is only because I know and feel it that the other side of the coin that I’m saying it.” So then that was the point when I started looking into it and really feeling what had happened to me about the inferiority, the superiority, about the need to normalize the experience and to understand what TCK’s were doing.
So at this point in my life, you know people look at the work that I have done, broadcasting, public relations and marketing and a lot of fancy stuff. But people imagine that I can be very arrogant, that I am all about being vicious. Yes that is true at the same time I would rather say I’m not denying the other side, I have never really had a dream and that may surprise you because that’s not how people perceive. I never harbored a possibility of me ever becoming anything, because if you grow up fifteen years living in that state of minority mindset, you don’t start dreaming. And you’re moving your home every three years, you don’t have dreams. And I was dependent on my parents, so I never made any choice for myself. And of course all these processing came much later in my 40s and 50s you see and even now as I am married, people don’t don’t know how very very submissive in a way, maybe that’s not the right word, but I am so like my mother, not the typical westernized driven person.
Sundae: That is so useful to share, to think about the impact, the unseen invisible impact.
Isabelle: It’s embarrassing, the world expects somebody like me to be aggressive for all the things that I’ve done, but my pursuits have always been to understand what’s happening to me and my dream it has taken me to understanding how do people actually communicate? How can I support people in seeing the difference? Because when people see the difference or embrace, as you are doing right now it heals me, it heals a possible child that may be out there who’s suffering because their pain is my pain, I still feel those pains.
So that’s why I became a facilitator coach and all the things that I still work with TCK’s every chance that I have. I meet parents and I tell them, “Give the TCK’s a language for what they’re experiencing, give them a chance to talk about it because then they don’t have to go through the next 30 years as I have, as successful as I have but internally feeling very very small.” Every time I’m networking and I’m seeing all these great people and I have this child in me that’s saying, “No-No, I want to go home, I don’t want to go out and network.”
Sundae: Well, you brought me to my knees.
Isabelle: Having this feeling internal feeling every moment and to have to fight it even as I have all these successes behind me, imagine those who don’t have it.
Sundae: And your self-awareness, this is what I find is just so amazing. And thanks to the work that you’ve done and to the work that you do, you’ve got that self-awareness.
So what advice do you have for parents of children? Let’s do it like this, what advice do you have for parents of kids that are a bit like you and parents of kids who are a bit like me? What advice do you have based on your expertise and your years of experience?
Isabelle: Parents of kids like me, I would say it’s typically Asian parents are much more hierarchical, they expect their kids to be much more, you know be obedient. Well, that’s all fine, I’m not changing that culture, but be open to what they’re going through, just allow them to speak and be silent as these kids speak about it and normalize their experience. Say “Honey, that is normal, you don’t speak their language and that doesn’t mean you are stupid, just because doing they’re doing a math in a different level that doesn’t make you stupid, it’s just that you’ve changed schools.” So when you normalize all that their self-esteem and confidence can at least grow up normally.
Sundae: So majority culture, so this idea of his like with the research from Danau Tanu. The hidden racism, the ways in which people from dominant cultures silence or don’t see others as children or as parents in the system. What advice do you have for the majority culture
Isabelle: One thing for sure is not to give a guilt trip, “You are so privileged, you all have that.” No, I don’t think that works, be sensitive to realize that very moment, like the moment you had at the rooftop. When you have some experience that gives you the dawning of “Oh my God, is this how the children in the streets feel like?” Let me go first example, let’s say your child is suddenly one day left alone unexpectedly and she goes through a half day of panic and then perhaps as you console and take care, perhaps the kid will say, “Mom is it how kids without parents will feel?” And that’s a powerful moment when you applaud them say “Yes, honey, that is and this is what you can do with it and keep this precious moment with you, don’t forget about it because this is what will help you through the rest of your life.”
Sundae: It’s a big job. We have a lot of work cut out for us don’t we Isabelle?
Isabelle: You’re doing fine, Imagine listening I congratulate you so much and I applaud, this is amazing.
Sundae: So, thank you for being here, I hope that people who are listening start reflecting on their own position and think about where they are in terms of how they see themselves, whether they’re keeping themselves small or whether they’re taking up a lot of space and not reflecting on, at what cost that is for others.
Even people like me that are nerdy and love thinking about cultural differences and intercultural awareness have moments where we’ve dropped the ball, where I allow my brain to take over and I stopped looking in the meta level. And I know that I can do better, I know that we all can do better because our identities are at stake, our self-worth is at stake.
And that’s the whole sort of intention of this series when we started with Jerry and Cath in the last episode of looking how do we see others and what new questions do we have for ourselves and for people who we might not see fully.
So thank you Isabelle for for allowing me to continue that conversation and giving me your time and your wisdom and expertise and making space for that today.
Isabelle: I’m in awe, thank you so much.
Sundae: It’s mutual Isabelle.
So if people want to find out more about you and would like to find out more about your expertise, what is the best place for us to reach you?
Isabelle: Well, you probably can look up my website which is www.tck.or.kr or I am available on LinkedIn and Facebook. My name is Isabelle is spelt the French way.
Sundae: I’ll put that in the show notes.
So anybody who wants to reach Isabelle?, I’ll put the notes in the show notes.
Isabelle, I am going to brag on you a little bit before we go. You are a phenomenal person, I know that you’re a phenomenal coach and that you connect with people in ways that disarms them in the best possible way. So I look forward to seeing what you do next and want to thank you again for being here today on Expat Happy Hour.
Isabelle: Thank you.
So there you have it folks, there’s the peek behind the curtain of one interaction over a series of 24 hours with Isabelle Min. A tiny glimpse of what’s possible when we get conscious of our unconscious.
And what we walked through is to look at how seemingly innocent things, like what they serve at international schools are the lunch boxes that are used can create triggers for in-groups and out-groups.
We looked at how if you’re a minority culture in a school system that you’re not alone. And if your kids are part of that there are important conversations that you can have, because of why it might be undetected but still present. For those of you who are listening who are part of the majority culture, this dynamic is likely also still happening and you may be participating in it or even benefiting from it.
So it’s a case for those in the minority identity to raise self awareness around our impact.
It’s an invitation for you to be honest with yourself. How do you interact differently with others who look and talk differently from you? Whom do you embrace with ease? Wom do you just not see?
And it is an invitation to go a different path, because I believe we can do better.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean, thank you for listening.
It is my internal commitment for us to do better. We have the privilege of living abroad, interacting with cultures from every corner of the globe. And I believe that together we are stronger.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have something behind the scenes that I am cooking up that is just for those who are serving the expat community, because I do believe that together we are stronger and we can together do better.
So if you are a coach or working with expats, check out the show notes on what I’ve got going to bring us together to do better in our own lives and for the lives of others.
I’ll leave you with the thoughts of Edward Everett Hale; “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”