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Barbara F. Schaetti, Ph.D. is Principal Consultant of Transition Dynamics, an independent consultancy serving the international expatriate and repatriate community. She has been active in the field of intercultural and international training and consulting since 1985, with experience in both the private and public sectors. Barbara is also a member of the faculty of the Intercultural Communication Institute and is a founding partner of Personal Leadership Seminars (PLSeminars). She is qualified as a facilitator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

Barbara Schaetti's core philosophy is rooted in the transformative potential inherent in expatriate and repatriate experiences. Precisely because they are fraught with ambiguity, frequently confusing intercultural encounters, and often significant isolation from known support systems, these experiences present us with unparalleled opportunities to become more fully present in our lives and to "wake up" to our authentic selves. Barbara shares with her clients, be they individuals, groups, or organizations, her commitment for each of us "waking up" to the possibility of our lives. She works extensively with corporate and diplomatic families worldwide, with relocation vendors and service providers, and with expatriate and repatriate communities around the world. Her services take many forms, including coaching expatriates and repatriates, mentoring graduate students and professional interculturalists, facilitating and training multicultural work teams, speaking and presenting at international conferences, and systems consulting with international schools and other learning communities. She is a member of the International Coach Federation, the professional association for coaches worldwide.

Barbara Schaetti provides distinctive expertise in the particular dynamics of expatriate families who move to a new host country every 2 or 3 years, influenced in large part through her own experience. Her father, with her mother's active support, worked for a multinational oil company; Barbara grew up in ten countries on five continents, and moved internationally twelve times by the age of twenty-two. After attending host-country schools in the French and British systems, she completed her secondary education in international schools. Barbara has dual-nationality (American and Swiss), and speaks and reads French in addition to English. She holds a Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication with a focus on cultural identity development, an M.A. in Intercultural Conflict Resolution, and a B.A. in International Political Science.

Barbara Schaetti regularly presents at international conferences. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Families in Global Transition Conference, serving as Secretary and a member of the Executive, and was Program Chair for the 2000, 2001, and 2002 conferences. Throughout her intercultural career, Barbara has been actively involved in SIETAR International (International Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research), Global Nomads International (GNI), The European Council of International Schools (ECIS), and the Women on The Move/Global Living conferences. She is a contributing author to several books and professional journals and has been interviewed for such publications as The Washington Post, HR (Human Resource) World Magazine, and The Guardian (London).

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Barbara Schaetti's Core Philosophy

The services offered by Transition Dynamics, including Barbara’s Coaching, her work with Teams, and the Seminars she offers in Personal Leadership are inspired by three philosophic commitments:

  • There is a transformative potential inherent in the expatriate and repatriate experience;
  • Taking an intercultural orientation helps us successfully engage that experience, including our cultural confusion and transitions fatigue.
  • Engaging the transformative potential inherent in the expatriate and repatriate experience, and taking an intercultural orientation to our every-day lives, is a developmental process.

The Transformative Potential

The expatriate and repatriate experience provides you with opportunities to become more fully present in your life. Precisely because they are fraught with ambiguity, frequently confusing intercultural encounters, and often significant isolation from known support systems, they present you with unparalleled opportunities to "wake up" to your authentic self. Living as an expatriate or repatriate takes on a dimension at one and the same time supportive, spirited, and immanently practical when you start to explore ways of being and of interacting with the world that begin from the inside-out and that invite you to disentangle internal experience from external circumstance. You become able to free your attention from habitual patterns, to create shifts in viewpoint, and to explore from a deep place of personal vision the possibilities that arise when you move beyond expectations, limitations, and fixed identities.

An Intercultural Orientation

What would happen if you began to think of yourself as an interculturalist? Expatriate and repatriate lives are filled with exactly the kinds of experiences that the intercultural field is passionate about—international transitions, adjustment to new cultural contexts, cultural identity challenges and multicultural identity development, the complexities of communicating across difference, and living with ambiguity and uncertainty every day.

Cultivating an intercultural orientation requires more from you than taking part in standard pre-departure, on-site, and re-entry services. It requires the commitment to intentionally and purposefully cultivate your own intercultural competence. Doing so is not simply about building a knowledge base of culture-specific information (business or social protocols in Malaysia, for example); doing so is about engaging life practices for self-reflecting, self-managing, and co-creating across cultural differences. At its core, taking an intercultural orientation as we are presenting it here means becoming an intentionally creative and generative force as you live, work, and raise a family among cultures.

Cultivating an intercultural orientation has much to offer you:

  1. The intercultural is about navigating cultural differences, within the multinational expatriate community as well as with host nationals; simply put, you will become more effective in intercultural situations.
  2. The intercultural emphasizes a learning orientation; it reorients you through very practical strategies from being a ‘responder to circumstances’ to a ‘creator of experience.’ Challenges are profoundly reframed into opportunities for personal and professional development.
  3.  The intercultural begins with knowing yourself; it encourages the kind of reflection and purposeful attention that supports you in articulating the life you want to create, and then crafting a life in alignment with that vision.
  4. The intercultural gives a theoretical context to personal experience—your own and your family’s. No longer is your experience terminally unique; you can position it within a research literature and within a bigger picture for your own life development.
  5. With an intercultural orientation, you need never be bored again. The most simple of interactions and experiences becomes fodder for your learning as your daily life becomes your living laboratory.
  6. Intercultural skills and competencies translate out. The intercultural is about communicating across difference; since to some degree at least every interaction involves a communication across difference, taking an intercultural orientation allows all your interactions to take on new power and purposefulness.
  7. Life is about living it at your highest and best, whatever that means to you. Taking an intercultural orientation is about being intentional with your expatriate and repatriate life; doing so directly supports you living from your highest and best.

A Developmental Process

You can in each moment choose to live your life in alignment with your highest and best. In doing so you bring to that commitment everything of who you have been and of what you have learned. You move forward from there to explore the full possibility and promise of your life.

Living in alignment with your highest and best, however, is a developmental process. That is, it takes practice and a commitment to that practice! The good news is that as with any practice, it becomes easier the longer and more consistently that you engage it.

Sometimes it helps to have a coach along the way.

Transition Dynamics' Representative Clients and Projects

Expatriate and Repatriate Individuals: Coaching and Mentoring

  • Corporate, diplomatic, military, missionary, and education- sponsored families
  • Expatriate and repatriate spouses
  • Adolescent third culture kids/global nomads
  • Adult third culture kids/global nomads
  • Expatriate family service providers

Sponsoring Organizations: Training, Speaking and Presenting, and Systems Consulting

  • 3M, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Baxter International, Brussels, Belgium
  • Samsung Group, Seoul, South Korea
  • Shell Oil International, The Hague, The Netherlands
  • United Nations, Vienna, Austria

Expatriate and Repatriate Communities: Training, Speaking and Presenting, and Systems Consulting

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Islamabad, Pakistan
  • London, England
  • Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Paris, France
  • Stavanger, Norway
  • Vienna, Austria

For more information without obligation of fees or expenses, please contact Barbara Schaetti to discuss your interests and our services. She can be reached by email or at the address, fax number, and phone number below.


 2448 NW 63rd St., Seattle WA 98107 USA

fax: by arrangement only

Or call: 1.206.789.3290
during regular business hours
(9am–5pm USA/Pacific Time)

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