Your ultimate guide to thriving as an expat student

By Dannielle Miller and Dr Prue Salter

Beyond coping –
Soar shows expat teens how to thrive

Are you are an international school educator, or a parent raising a teenager who has moved overseas to study, or a corporate looking to support your expat families?

Soar ensures teens make the best possible start to their high school education – whether they are new to a country and needing support to best settle in, or experienced global learners beginning secondary school for the first time.

What is it about?

Well, first let us tell you what it’s not about. It’s not a travel guide about the new country your teen is now living in. We don’t cover languages, the climate, cultural differences and so on. There are many resources out there already to help young people learn about the place they are now living. We also think discovering these things for oneself is part of the joy of this new experience.

Nor is it a book about ‘third-culture kids’. You might have heard this term already – it refers to children who are raised in a culture other than their parents’. Again, there are already many books on that topic.

This book is the book that the teenagers, and the international schools we have worked with, told us was missing.

It is a book that supports young people with the issues they told us were important to them the moment they entered the school gates. It’s a guide to how to make (and keep) healthy friendships, how to appreciate the experience of studying and living overseas, and how to do their best academically.

We reveal the most effective secrets to studying and show teens how to:

  • Get up to speed on the system at their new school
  • Set up a workspace and study routines in their new home
  • Use planners to prioritise their time, plan assignments and prepare for exams

But life is about more than assignments and tests, right?

We offer practical advice on:

  • Making friends and resolving conflicts
  • Enjoying the expat experience
  • Staying grounded and positive through gratitude practices, visualisations and affirmations

Throughout Soar we pose questions, and there is room for students to write their own responses; we want them to be able to customise the book to suit their unique situation.

Schools may choose to make a time where they sit down with new enrolments and review their responses to ensure they feel supported and settled. Parents may want to work through Soar with their child so that they better understand the journey too. Or, it may simply be used as a resource for teens to work through independently.

However Soar is used, we know that it will become a much-loved go-to guide.

Recent Reviews

Teenage-hood can be a stressful and bewildering time as young people forge their identity and make sense of the adult world to which they are approaching. Combined with a move overseas, this passage of development becomes even more stressful with answers being sought to questions not yet known. Soar not only provides the answers but helps frame the questions, giving clear, sensible advice, arranged in a logical manner, and easy-to-locate answers to questions not necessarily arriving in a linear time frame. It is a lovely, readable, personable approach that draws the reader in and makes you feel like the authors are your new best friends, helping you navigate your way through the plethora of social and study issues.
Andrea Stanberg
Teacher  - United World College of South East Asia
I think Soar will be invaluable for kids of all ages to navigate their way through, what can be, a very daunting transition into expat schooling. My kids loved their international adventure and this resource would have helped to alleviate some of that natural angst that goes hand in hand with changing countries as well as schools. I will definitely recommend it to my friends.
Selina Baxby
Psychologist and mother to expat students who have studied in Shanghai, Geneva and Singapore
Although Soar is aimed at students who are new to the expat school system, it will be just as useful for those who have been studying overseas for years. Ultimately, all young people can benefit from learning more about how to make positive friendships, how to be more thankful, and how to manage their own learning.
Kelly Valder
International school teacher, Dubai
Both enjoyable and practical, this book helps prepare for one of life’s biggest transitions, a new country, culture, and school!
Michael Johnston
Head of School  - Colegio Maya International School, Guatemala
This book is filled with lots of practical, helpful and interesting tips. I wish my children had a copy when they were introduced to their new schools!
Fiona Martinelli
Drama teacher at various International Schools, and mother of five children - all who have studied in five different countries as expat students
This book is a go-to not only for students transitioning into a new school abroad, but also for parents in support of their students to help make the change to a new country, school and system a smooth and successful one. Having been an international student on two separate occasions at two different points in my school life, a book such as this would have offered the necessary advice on how to best manage and cope with the changes, socially, emotionally and academically. To be honest, advice such as this is highly relevant to students everywhere, whether they are starting school in a new country or local students in their regular system.
Ali Horii
Former expat student in Singapore/Japan and teacher in Japan
This is an essential and engaging guide not only for expat teenagers but also for parents with a teen studying (or about to study) overseas and their corporate employers. Global assignments are growing and can be exciting for the individual and greatly beneficial for the organisation. But, they are risky too, with failure rates as high as 50%, often due to unexpected pressures. It’d be great to see some clever corporates provide this book to relevant staff. ‘Soar’ is an exceptional resource to help families with teens to settle (or resettle) into a different study context.
Dr Natalie Ferres
Director and Chief Connection Officer at management consultancy  - Bendelta Pty Ltd
SOAR, a practical guide to support students moving country and changing schools. This constructive text provides students with sensible advice to support the move. Written in a down to earth way, this book gently guides the reader through some of the obstacles they may face along the way, and provides support through practical solutions. Helpful tips on making friends and tackling the demands of a new curriculum make it an invaluable resource for young people and their parents. Including comments from students who have already made the move and the A–Z of Study Skills Secrets, this will certainly support students with being able to “soar" in their new surroundings!
Jacqui Hills
Deputy Head (Curriculum)  - Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong

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