Author Archives: Angie Weinberger
4 C’s Calculate – Choose – Change – Create

Guest post by Val Bath

Our ability to build culture mastery doesn’t rest only on knowing about another culture, but also on our ability to appreciate what values, habits and behaviors affect that culture.

Given this challenging year and the need for cross-cultural understanding, the ability to regulate one’s emotions when working with others from diverse cultures is critical. The Culture Mastery 4C’s Process™ surfaces the “why” behind the cultural differences and responses.  In this article, we will explore the 4 steps in the process which brings together the practice of coaching and intercultural training.   The goal of the program is to teach coaches and other leaders in talent development to guide their clients on a journey from identification of cultural preferences through the establishment of real-world solutions. 

Culture consists of many things.  It encompasses tangible elements such as food, language, customs, religion, and dress as well as intangible elements such as values, beliefs and traditions.  These intangible elements are often full of emotions.  The emotional component frequently gets overlooked in most models and most informational cultural presentations – but that’s the one component that is the most critical when you get to the core of succeeding in another culture.  This emotional undertow often makes changing and working with other cultures a struggle and will define how difficult or easy it will be for anyone to adjust to the habits and behaviors of the new culture. 

Culture manifests itself in the interaction between individuals.  Our culture reflects both our values, our dreams, and our beliefs, and it reflects our talents, our skills, and the habits we learned from our surroundings. Similarly, our counterparts also exhibit their values, beliefs, skills, talents, and dreams, through their culture manifestation.  When we interact with each other (and if we are observant) we will discover our own values, behaviors, perspectives and their values, behaviors, perspectives.

Our journey to understanding another culture and to culture mastery consists of 4 phases – 4 C’s – Calculate – Choose – Change – Create.

Calculate Choose Change Create

The process starts with the first C – Calculate.  You calculate your preference on the continuum of each cultural variable and thus learn your own Cultural Blueprint. You then compare it with the Cultural Blueprints of your co-workers/staff/clients/ partners from another country/culture and calculate the gaps between your preferences and theirs.

The second C – Choose – takes you through the process of choosing your negotiable and non-negotiable variables.  Making that choice from the perspective of your values will allow you to understand which behaviors/habits you can adjust.

The third C – Change – teaches you the process of changing your cultural attitudes, habits and behaviors when dealing with negotiable variables.

The fourth C – Create – helps you create cultural alliances and agreements for those variables that are non-negotiable.

The following ICF coaching competencies are incorporated into the Culture Mastery 4C’s Process:

  •         Coaching Mindset: Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others.
  •         Co-Creating the Relationship: Seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  •         Coaching Presence: Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded and confident.
  •         Communicating Effectively: Considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating.



Val Bath

Valerie Bath is a recognized authority on cultural relativism and its impact on the productivity and profitability of individuals and global organizations. She has trained consultants, coaches, and employees from multinational corporations over the past 15 years. Previously, she had a career at Accenture and for scientific technology leader Texas Instruments Semiconductor. In both organizations, Valerie designed and implemented enterprise-wide multi-continent systems solutions working with clients and colleagues in the US, Asia, and Europe.

For more information about the Cultural Mastery 4Cs Process::

Please watch the testimonials: 

in English, French, and German.

#crossculturaltraining #crosscultural #coaching #CultureMastery #CCE #ICF #expat #culturaltraining

Are you one of those settled professionals who suddenly had to get out of the last job? Did you love to write as a high school senior but figured a career in journalism would take too many years of crafting the art?

Maybe this is the time in your life when you want to get back into the habit. Perhaps this is really the time when you want to consider starting a writing career in Switzerland. 

Seven Reasons to Start a Writing Career in Switzerland

1)   You cannot handle frustrating meetings any longer

2)  You don’t want to conform to the typical 8 AM to 5 PM working day

3)  You’ve decided that you finally want to feed your passion and earn an income out of it

4) You’ve always been good at telling stories and want to do it more consistently

5)   Your values constantly clash with your company’s values

6)   Parenthood completely overwhelmed you

7)   Your partner got a wonderful –it-was-always-my-dream-to-move-to Switzerland-Singapore-Santa Barbara-kind of job offer and you are in a new country without a professional network.

How many of these points can you tick? If you can relate to at least one of them, I encourage you to keep reading what comes next. 

Four Signs You Feel the Urge to Develop Your Creative Side

1)   You neglected writing in order to earn a living but you always journal during your holidays.

2)  You did not know you were more creative than others until a psychologist told you.

3)   You are bored and need to do more than painting your nails, cooking and washing clothes to satisfy your creativity.

4)   You are going through a transition and that triggers the urge to WRITE, PAINT, SING, PLAY AN INSTRUMENT…

Your writing could become a new source of income for you. You will probably not land a bestseller overnight but even publishing a book has become rather easy in the age of kindle desktop publishing.

It is important that you have the skill of language composition and you know your grammar well.  Unless you wish to become a literary fiction writer,I don’t think you need a diploma in writing though.

Three Tips to Start a Writing Career in Switzerland

#1 Guest Blog

You could guest blog for “Hello Switzerland” for starters or submit your articles to They also have good writing tips there.

You can also check the categories on our website to see if you would be a good fit as guest blogger for Global People Transitions. We’d be happy to read your content! Write to if you’re interested. 

#2 Join a Community of Writers

As a large and international expat hub, Zurich has a great community of writers and independent authors and there is a lot to learn.

#3 Educate Yourself with a Good Mentor

If you need a kick in the b… I recommend you read Jeff Goins’ blog. He is a motivator for aspiring writers and authors.

What’s your experience with blogging and writing?

Please share with your best friend. You can also leave us a comment below if you feel like sharing with our Club Sandwich readers. 


Choosing home and school languages How will my child learn German best now we have moved to Switzerland? Which German should they learn first, Swiss German or High German? Living with several languages forces you to juggle your child’s needs and your family’s future. In this talk for international parents with young children, Monica Shah Zeeman will present strategies that will help you plan your children’s language learning in the multi-lingual school environment in and around Zurich. 

Why parents should choose early education Learn about brain development and the foundations of your child’s learning in this talk about how to fulfil his or her individual potential. Preparing your child for a brighter future and school success is not always easy but once you know what to look for in your child’s early years learning environment you are well on your way. 

Choosing between school systems in Switzerland Should parents choose a Swiss or an International School? And what is a –Swiss International school? There is a great choice of schools here, each with their own curriculum, language/s and culture. The school you choose has implications for your child’s future. Monica Shah Zeeman founder and Head of Children First in Zurich will share her experience of the pros and cons of each and explain some of the differences between schools and routes to university. 

Reflective Parenting and Presence Play We all want to be engaged parents once we get home as well as keep energetic at work. Children keep you on your toes, they are a challenge as well as a joy! In this talk Monica Shah Zeeman founder of Children First Association presents new strategies including Reflective Parenting and Presence Play to help working mums and dads to act confidently in unpredictable situations and to develop their children’s independence. Sometimes being a parent is harder work than going to the office but no-one gives you any training in it. 

Career and Children: Is it possible? After having a child, your worldview changes forever. Your career, however, is still a huge part of your identity and which will ultimately benefit your family greatly if you pursue it. Many new mothers deal with guilt and the pressure to juggle it all perfectly. With many flexible options and changes in the workplace today it is more possible than ever not just to have a job but to pursue a meaningful career. Having the right network and strategies in place will be key before finding the right job or starting your own company. Monica Shah Zeeman 

will teach you how to manage family expectations, find a support network while living abroad, arrange childcare and important considerations in building your career path in Switzerland. 

Daycare languages How many languages should my child learn at once? What’s the difference between one daycare and another? What do they learn in the early years? If your preschool child is growing up with more than one language come and hear early years expert Monica Shah Zeeman talk about daycare with a difference. 

How to choose a bilingual daycare Developmental daycare is an early years setting where the teachers care about how your child is developing and learning as an individual. Language adds another dimension in a social group. 

Choosing the best school for your child There is a great choice of schools, each with their own curriculum, language/s and culture. The school you choose has implications for your child’s future and ability to realize their educational potential. Get informed from the get-go! 

Parenting Multi-lingual Children We meet parents whose children could speak 5 languages – how to choose which one to encourage first, in which order can they learn to minimize confusion, how can we get results that suit our individual family? This talk can be arranged with individual families. CHF 50 per 30 minutes. 

Choose Zoom or a talk in your company (distance due to Covid regulations apply). 

About the speaker: Monica Shah Zeeman, Children First Association, Founder and Head 

Monica Shah Zeeman has been working with international families since 2006 to support their lives abroad. Founder of Children First, her diploma from the renowned Tavistock Clinic in London informs Children First care and educational services and she runs parenting courses and workshops for teachers in Zurich, Switzerland. 

Monica is the Education columnist for Family Matters (an online magazine in Switzerland) and author of Heinemann Management series ‘Working with Parents’ for secondary school teachers. 

September 2020


A natural consequence of the international professional, accelerated in recent years through increased globalisation and advances in Global Mobility, is the rise of Third Culture Kids, or, children who have grown up in cultures that weren’t the passport cultures of their parents. This term originated through the work of American sociologist Dr. Ruth Hill Useem in the 1960s. You can read more about her legacy here.

Given that the term has been around for so long, some of these children have now grown up and are referred to as ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid). Therefore, it is important that their unique experiences and those of current TCKs are recognized and better understood, as they will be shaping the future. I’d like to do just that.

TCKs Have an Expanded Understanding of the World

Research has clearly demonstrated that TCKs are more tolerant of other people, their beliefs and cultures because of their broader world views. This allows them to build relationships with all cultural backgrounds, which makes them great international assets as professionals. However, They Can Suffer From Identity Crises

A person’s self-esteem and identity is intrinsically linked to their attachment to the social constructs of culture, the sense of belonging that comes from such an attachment can often be lacking in TCKs, given that they are uprooted from their origin culture at a young age and thus they can become culturally “homeless” if their transition into the new culture is not smooth.

Often, the reverse can happen as well, with the TCK adjusting smoothly to the new culture but becoming alien to the original one. This fear is something expat parents frequently bring up with me and I always suggest that parents try to maintain a link between their children and the culture of their homeland. A great way to do that is through books, particularly those that spark the imagination of inquisitive young children. In fact, Cukibo has a range of delightful and enchanting books geared specifically for expat children that will help them learn and remember what makes their home culture so wonderful. Do read more about this series, it is called Journey to Another Homeland.

TCK’s Identity Issues Lead to  Difficulties

These identity issues, at such a critical time of psychological development, can lead to further problems down the road for TCKs. They have trouble adjusting to adult life as the feeling of not having roots like those with cultural “stability” can lead to frustration and a further loss of self-esteem. Their values can be compromised as well, particularly if the home and expat cultures have complementary cultures.

TCKs Develop Excellent Intercultural Competence

That is solely due to how the Global Mobility has changed in recent decades. Previously, most expats moved once, overseas, and built a life there. That is no longer the case, with expats moving multiple times and bonding with more and more diverse people. It is not uncommon for TCKs now to belong to 3 or more cultures, and as part of their upbringing they develop the capacity to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.

TCKs Also Boost Global Mobility

Surveys have shown that TCKs retain a desire to travel and move once they reach adulthood. Their professionals careers, consequently, have a focus on international travel and mobility. The influx of these ATCKs into professional spheres is pushing greater mobility and emphasis on the international aspects of their development: multilingualism, high cultural intelligence and sensitivity.

There is no denying that TCKs face the kind of challenges that non-expat children do and by overcoming those challenges, they grow up into the kind of three-dimensional and evolved professionals and human beings that are slowly ushering the world into a new era of globalism and open-mindedness.

Schools are also taking the TCK’s into account more and more. You can read more about how international recruiters can solve the family education and support internationally mobile families here.

I sometimes fear that I am becoming one of those people, who are always the victim. Those who complain all day and then never change anything. Those who say and know that they are overweight or drink too much but then cannot stop eating or drinking when they are stressed. Sometimes I am worried about not looking after myself enough or that I look really old now. And when I feel like that I know it’s time for a “safety stop”, because for me this is usually a sign that I am exhausted. I don’t let myself burn out anymore. I have become wiser but I know that a lot of you suffer from the obligation of working like a slave. You think you have to work 50 to 60 hours to be a good expat. You think you have to see your families during home leave to be a good daughter or son and you think that you have to shoulder all the responsibilities and burdens of the breadwinner.

There might be mornings where you get out of bed feeling like a zombie rather than the energetic superheroine you identified with a few years ago. You also don’t fit into those power outfits any longer that made you feel invisible.

If you can partially or entirely relate to this, or if you know an expat fellow who might do, you will find it worth it to stop and read the following lines.

1 – Why are expats more vulnerable than home country professionals?

You don’t need me to remind you that your life took a totally different turn when you decided to pursue your expat life. And that your responsibilities and worries would be very different if you had decided to remain in your home country.

You’re probably now dealing with more workload than you’ve ever done before, you’re still trying to get adjusted to the ways of doing in your host country and you might need to learn the local language. You’re also trying to expand your circle of friends and don’t want to give up on your social life. You might be feeling overwhelmed but in order to keep up with everything, you might be neglecting your sleep.

You also might have noticed the same things you used to get done very easily in your home country might have become a real burden in the host country and getting that medicine for which you didn’t even need a prescription has proved like a mission impossible.

You need to remember that you’re human. You’re a human who relocated to a place with a different climate, language and cultural code. Accept that this “new you” may be more vulnerable than the “old you.” Allow your mind and body to adapt to the new environment and ways of doing. This transition will require time and you’ll probably start reaping the rewards for your patience after the first year on assignment.

2 – Why do expats burn out more often?

I bet it didn’t take you long to realize that your stress levels increased the moment you decided to embark on this expat adventure. Even before making the actual move, for the first time you found yourself stressing out about issues you had never encountered before: handing over all your work, emptying your office, shipping your house goods to another continent, supporting your spouse, looking for a new school for your children, and whatnot.

Now that you find yourself in the new country things that stress you out are even more numerous: you work crazy hours, you struggle getting things done in a language different than yours, and you don’t have the same social support network you used to and you feel it’s too soon to ask your new friends for personal support. Like many other expats, you probably strongly identify yourself with your work where you want to perform at your best, and this often brings you to set aside your hobbies and interests.

You have obligations towards your spouse and children, no matter whether they relocated with you or remained in your home country, and your parents might be in an age group where they need support. You want to care for all of them and you perhaps forget that you need to take care of yourself too if you don’t want to suffer from a serious burn out with a potentially profoundly negative impact on your personal and professional life.

3 – How can expats overcome feelings of light depression?

If you’re still in your first year of assignment, the likelihood is high that you’ll suffer from culture shock and adjustment issues. Culture adjustment symptoms can be very similar to those of light depression: feeling isolated or helpless, sleeping longer or getting tired more easily, getting irritated over delays and other minor frustrations, suffering from body pains and aches, longing to be back home, etc. On top of that, the considerable amount of stress you are dealing with, will just make things harder to handle.

In order to relax, many expats choose the wrong shortcut and start overusing substances such as medications, alcohol and drugs. This is particularly frequent among single expats and those who live in a compound.

If you are over-stressed, I advise you to try out for yourself the following:

  • Exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean that you have to train for the next marathon, but it’s important you are consistent. Take a 20 minute walk every day, possibly without your smartphone.
  • Take a whole weekend off and go offline. It might not be easy to achieve but you will come back with a better focus. If you’re on assignment with your children and partner you could even start an offline challenge together.
  • Try out a relaxation method. You can try listening to classical music or bird music while working, or practicing Feldenkreis breathing exercises by @ryannagy. You could also try working through Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
  • Practice active meditation. I have created a short video to show how to start, and there are many more on YouTube.

It might also help you if you analyse your current situation and lay out concretely the next steps you want to take. Try answering the following questions.

When was I in a difficult situation already? How did I overcome it? Where am I at now? Where do I wanna go? What resources do I have to get there?

How can I adapt my strategies to the new cultural context so I can still be effective and culturally appropriate?

Just because it feels harder than usual doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

4 – What are signs of clinical depression and when is seeking help the best thing to do?

However, those self-help tools don’t necessarily work for everybody, especially if you realise too late that you should have acted before.

If you think you might have developed clinical depression, it’s important to seek the right kind of professional help.

The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely, however, some of them are very common among the majority of people who suffer from this condition. If you’re always in a bad mood, feel tearful, anxious, or irritated, if you have sudden change in appetite and weight or develop disturbed sleep patterns, reach out to a trusted professional without waiting any longer.

5 – What’s the reverse culture shock and why do expats suffer from it?

You might not have yet heard about it, or at least not as much as culture adjustment, but reverse culture shock is a real thing too. Others prefer calling it “re-entry shock” but in substance, we are dealing with the same thing.

If you haven’t gone through it (yet) you may be downplaying its consequences. After all, why should you worry about having to adapt to your home country? You lived there for many years and know well how things work.

Well, you might be wrong. Imagine what it is like to end your assignment and come back, after five years – let’s say – without a proper network of friends, a different management thinking at work, and a partner who can’t find an equally good job in what you called “home” before going on assignment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about reverse culture shock and its stages, I invite you to go through Vanessa Paisley “5-V Repatriation Model”. It will enlighten you on why this topic deserves more attention than it is currently given.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to admit that things aren’t going great. Not even to ourselves. But it’s important to be honest and identify WHAT makes you feel unwell. Without this first step, you won’t be able to work on the issues that bring you down.

If you can relate to any of this, at least you now know that you’re not alone. The challenges you have are the same that many other expats face in their extra busy lives.

At Global People Transitions we are experts in Cultural Transitions. If you’d like to receive advice and support on the topic, feel free to contact for a brief chat.

Resources and further reading
Link to Video by Johann Hari

Link to Expat Health Podcasts by Angie Weinberger

Part 1:

Part 2:

Link to Expat Health post on NIZ: 

 -> Zurich International Therapists


Expats and COVID 19 – Five Steps To Avoid Burn Out

-> Zurich International Therapists

Sind Sie Kind, Held, König, Weiser?

My favourite Productivity Hacks – Seven Tips to claim back your Diary

The Rise of Weinberger – Building up Strength during the Pandemic – Part 4

The Passion Games – Playing yourself through the Pandemic – Part 3

Sleepless in Switzerland – Getting Through the Pandemic – Part 2

Angie Alone At Home – Managing Yourself Through the Pandemic – Part 1

Weinberger, A. (2019). The Global Mobility Workbook. Zurich: Global People Transitions.

Link to Global TV Talk Show with Ed Cohen.