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"Bryson and Hoge have given us an excellent plan of action to deal with our own personal and cultural adjustments in the overseas settings."

Thomas A. Rodgers, M.D., Former Regional Psychiatrist, U.S. Department of State



About the Authors


Debra and Charise met while employed as counselors at an organization in Bangkok, Thailand that provides services to the expatriate community. However, our paths crossed and lives touched primarily because we each moved overseas in support of our spouse's career; Debra as a foreign service spouse, and Charise as a military wife.

We both overcame great obstacles to work overseas. Charise created the first overseas internship opportunity for the University of Georgia Social Work Program at the Community Services of Bangkok. Soon after arriving in Thailand, Debra discovered that her husband's employment at the U.S. Embassy as a diplomat prohibited her from working in her profession. This provided the catalyst that propelled Debra to become the primary advocate for spousal employment issues at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. In part, because of her efforts, an agreement was made between the U.S. Embassy and the Royal Thai Government to permit spouses of embassy employees to work legally in Thailand.

As counselors, and as expatriate spouses ourselves, we took a special interest in the concerns of expatriate women. We were distressed to discover the lack of in-depth information available to women about how moving and living overseas affects their identities. We decided to independently research the effect of an overseas move on a woman's identity, and developed a model, called The Wheel, as a way to reconstruct identity in a foreign country and culture. We conducted workshops for women based on our model. Charise also presented our work at the Asia Regional Counselors' Conference, where we received numerous requests to provide written material on our topic. Thus, the idea for a book was launched. After repatriating to the U.S., we collaborated on developing our material into a book format. Our efforts culminated with the publication of A Portable Identity: A Woman's Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas.

We continue to work together and are passionately pursuing our vision of reaching expatriate women worldwide with our model of taking charge of change during an international relocation.



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