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When Dr. Paul Vanderbroeck (Dutch/Swiss) contacted knowitall.ch about a new publication that he and Jannie Aasted Skov-Hansen (Danish) wrote together, we were curious to know more. This book shares real-life insights into the challenges and opportunities for International Career Couples (ICC). If you are one half of a career couple, you will certainly be interested in getting your hands on a copy of Here We Are – The International Career Couple Handbook. Read on to enter our competition to win a copy!

He has a background of managing talent in multinational organizations, is an Executive Coach, and a researcher and speaker on gender balance and leadership development. She is a Human Resource professional, specializing in global people mobility, and a founder of a global career consultancy. We thought a few questions were in order to understand more.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
This book is grounded in our personal experiences as partners in International Career Couples, our encounters with the many couples we’ve befriended during our respective stints as expatriates, and our exchanges with talented individuals in our professional roles. From these engagements we learned, first separately and then as a team, that International Career Couples:

  • are distinct from other dual-career couples;
  • are not getting the support they need and deserve—from employers, publications or coaches;
  • provide an opportunity for international talent management;
  • are a complex organisation;
  • can be successful and sustainable if they apply best practices from organisations.

Have you been working on this book idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
Our collaboration, which kicked off two years before the book went to print in December 2020, is itself an example of the beauty of international living. We met through a network connection, which underscores one of this handbook’s main messages: Opportunities arise when you pursue your long-term vision and short-term goals on a global development path—while remaining open to unexpected turns. What’s more, we were ahead of our time, in that we’d been working virtually well before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Independently of each other, we had noticed the growing phenomenon of ICC’s and how difficult it is to keep it going. Once we got talking, the idea of a book quickly emerged.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
We were hoping to base ourself on existing research, only to discover that there is little or none. There is research about expatriates and about dual career couples, but not about the combination of those. So we did our own research, a survey with ICC’s and in-depth interviews.

FINALCOVER.9781999304096 Perfect

Where do you see this publication going? A series?
We have developed a series of worksheets to facilitate working with the tools in the book. Also we offer workshops and coaching for couples as well as for mobility advisers that employ internationally mobile staff.

What is your favorite chapter/quote you wrote and why?
It’s a quote from one of the successful ICC’s we interviewed, it’s about communication within the couple:
"The foundation of our couple is so solid that we never need to question any aspect of the relationship. It allows both of us to direct our energy elsewhere—namely, to our respective passions. We never doubt the relationship, even during a fight. Wherever we fight, we fight within the container of good. Mind you, it’s bloody hard to make it work.”

Here are what others are saying about the book

“Finally a book that recognizes the importance and complexity of International Career Couples. In it, the writers provide useful insights and tools for both: career couples and their employers to extract value of their investment in such demanding transitions and maximize their return for both individual growth and organizational performance. A highly recommended read for both international career individuals, their bosses, and Human Resources professionals.”

Shlomo Ben-Hur, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD

“This book is extremely relevant and will just continue to be so as the world is globalizing and people meet across borders and boundaries. It feels that as part of evolution we keep meeting people with whom we have a common purpose and with whom we might yet be different from in terms of country in which we grew up in. Travelling the world and exploring it together is not only exciting and a way to learn, it can also be challenging when our careers is what moves us. This book brings you insights from the authors who besides having researched the topic, have lived it too. Go get your copy.”

Kristin Engvig, Founder and CEO, WIN Women’s Global Leadership Journey

Anything else you think our readers would like to know.
As we say in the book: “Take it from us: an International Career Couple is difficult, doable and lots of fun!” That expresses how we set up the book: there is no question that making an ICC successful and sustainable is a challenge. We designed a book that on the one hand is realistic (based on success stories) and practical (user-friendly tools). Our designer Anne Bundgaard did a great job in giving the book an optimistic and appealing look and feel.


Paul and Jannie have kindly offered to give a copy of their book, Here We Are: The International Career Couple Handbook, to one lucky knowitall.ch reader, a €21.11 value. Just fill in this form and let us know: What does ICC stand for in this article?

Only one entry per email is allowed. The competition closes at midnight on Thursday, 4 February 2021. The names of all those submitting correct answers will be placed into the digital hat and the winner's name drawn at random on Friday, 5 December 2021. The winner will be notified by email and his/her name will be added to this article after the competition closes. Only valid for delivery to a Swiss address.

Here We Are: The International Career Couple Handbook
Dr. Paul Vanderbroeck and Jannie Aasted Skov-Hansen
214 pages
ISBN: 978-1838174606