The typical Third Culture Kid has moved at least once by their 5th birthday, and will move at least four times in their life. They speak at least two languages and have a 4-year college-degree. Data based on an informal online survey of 200 Third Culture Kids.
Denizen’s writers recall where they were when the Sept. 11 tragedy happened, and how it changed their lives.
As diplomat kids, missionary kids, corporate kids or whatever else living abroad, we were expected to represent the United States on our teenage shoulders with everything that we did. To others, we were America. To us, we were American by passport, having grown up abroad.
So, here are our words of advice, the things we would’ve told our freshman year selves, if we could. It’s not dressed up, it’s not loaded with research. Honest thoughts, in our own words, from real Third Culture Kids.
I’m not pretending to be an expert, but for international students moving to the United States, there are many factors to consider that may be obvious to American students but not as clear to those coming from abroad.
It may seem obvious, but taking the time to say proper goodbyes is critical. So, instead of clocking out from your relationships early, make a point of letting friends and family know just how much you care.
You may not know how to drive, but odds are your new American friends will be more than willing to drag you on a crazy cross-country bender courtesy of the nation’s interstate highway system. Adventures and hilarity will surely ensue in the land of Route 66.
As TCKs, we’ve been blessed with a lifetime of unique cultural experiences. If we use that same awareness that we’ve developed and keep an open mind, it can go a long way towards making the transition easier – and maybe even fun.
You’re a freshman now — no obligations, no history — you have a blank slate in a new place. That is an incredible opportunity.
If you expect others to understand your unique TCK background and experiences, then you should also take the time to understand and appreciate their background, too.