Planning for change

May 13, 2022

Planning for Change

As the end of the school year approaches, the reality for many children, families and staff is that they see their time at Green Shoots is drawing to a close.  For some, it is time to return to their home country, for others it is time to move to a new city, school, or job.

Dave Pollack, the author of Third Culture Kids, wrote about these types of transitions and how to help prepare children and adults for the changes about to come.   One way is to think of a RAFT that carries people and objects from one place to another. When thinking about transitions, each letter individually can represent:

  • Reconciliation
  • Affirmation
  • Farewell
  • Think Destination

The following descriptors come from Dave Pollock’s work.


Do your best to talk any problems out before you leave. Resolve conflicts. Exiting the country is not a good way to get rid of the problems you have.  You do not want to carry arguments, grudges, or bad feelings to a new place where distance makes them harder to resolve.


“Express your appreciation and love to people that have been an important part of your life.”  A difficult aspect of being a part of an international community can be having to leave it. You do not know when or even if you will see someone again. Make sure the people that have made a difference in your life know it. Sometimes it might feel strange to tell friends and acquaintances that you really value them, but moving to a new place gives you a great chance to do that and it can be a really rewarding process.


It is important to say a good goodbye.   Be sure to say farewell to the people, places, pets, and possessions that have meant a lot to you. Take time to say goodbye to your friends and teachers.  Visit, as a family, that favorite play place, beach spot or restaurant, acknowledging that it will be the last time.  Take photos.

Think Destination

Think about the expectations you have about your destination before you leave.  When you arrive at your new destination, greet it as if you are home.  When you first land, say that you are happy to be home.  Make the decision to actually be in the new place.  Allow yourself to be excited and nervous and acknowledge it.  It is okay to miss friends in Hoi An and at Green Shoots, but don’t let that keep you from being happy and taking in all the new opportunities that are there for you in your new home. 

As you prepare for the end of the school year at home, be it for a big or small move, or perhaps no move at all, as an international community, one family’s move can have an impact on your child’s current relationships and experiences.  Being a values-driven school, and our students' adeptness with the value of adaptability, now is the time to bring to their attention just how prepared they actually are for the changes they may soon experience.

Wishing you a smooth transition as we come to the close of the school year. 

Rick Elya

Head of School

Sources: 2001, Pollock David C and Van Reken Ruth E., Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds 

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