This culture? That culture? A fun Denizen infographic.
At school, it seemed like the kids who were more “Americanized,” those who were more assertive, daring and funny had a much easier time making friends and succeeding academically.
I’m trying to write a story about the first time I held hands with a girl. Simple enough, right? It is, after all, something most people have done.
In the Middle East, I never felt out of place skipping along in my shorts and t-shirt amongst the elegant flutter of women’s burkas.
It is 5 a.m. and I am sitting in a café at Frankfurt International Airport waiting for a flight that will bring me to the United States in a matter of hours. Eight hours! That is how long a healthy person sleeps at night, how long the train ride from Luxembourg to Hamburg takes, how long a typical day at school is. Eight hours and you can be on a different continent with a completely different culture. It’s nothing new: globalization is bringing people closer together, creating more intercultural relationships and complicating the meaning of “home.” Conventionally, “home” is associated with a geographical location. But, what shapes “home” in a world that is more and more connected? What means “home” to someone who has home everywhere? How does a TCK define “home”? The more I thought about this question, the more it drove me nuts. I had touched upon an issue that is omnipresent in the lives of most TCKs – the question about our roots, about what defines us, about where to go next. …
Yes, TCKs may often struggle with identity issues, reverse culture shock, rootlessness, and loss. But there’s much more to the TCK journey than that.
Mean Girls won’t win any Oscars, but peel away the glossy angst, and it is sociologically brilliant. The movie follows Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) as she starts her first day at an American high school. We quickly learn that Cady, a child of research zoologists, spent 12 years growing up in Africa. “P.S., Cady is a TCK” should have gone into the credits. “I had a great life [in Africa]” Cady narrates. “And then… my mom was offered tenure at Northwestern University. And it was goodbye Africa, hello high school.” Sound familiar? The sudden move from one culture to another provides a slew of Third Culture Kid moments, visible from just the first 10 minutes of the movie. On her first day of school in Illinois, Cady’s American parents are thoroughly unaware of how difficult the cultural transition could be for her. Walking up to the African-American students, Cady says “Jambo” in Swahili. She also deals with comments like, “So, if you’re from Africa – why are you white?” (“Oh my god Karen,” …