The first thing you learn as a TCK who lives a nomadic lifestyle is that everyone has different styles of keeping in touch. Some are great at it, others you know better than to expect to hear from them. We went through our own friend list to cull this list of “Third Culture Kids Styles of Keeping in Touch.”
As a TCK, whether you like it or not, you end up becoming an ambassador of the places you’ve lived in, the cultures you were a part of. I’ve always believed that one shouldn’t shy away from these frank conversations as it is entirely possible that you could change someone’s perception, probably for the better.
I couldn’t make a decision about what city to move to. When I asked my mom, she simply said, “Stop moving and stay where you are.”
Having grown up in India, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey – countries where there is immense awareness about Islam – my most unique experience as a TCK Muslim was when I was studying abroad in Shanghai.
A simple classroom question suddenly became a personal question of patriotism.
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.
I am half-Chinese, half-German and have never been anything else. It never occurred to me that this would be an issue to other Chinese.
As I frantically searched in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest, I was devastated. Had I lost it in the village we had just visited, a day’s canoe ride away? Had it slipped from my open bag into the muddy river waters, to gently settle on a sleeping stingray?
I was born on vacation. My parents – Armenians from Iran – didn’t want their first-born child to be saddled with their politically unfortunate nationality from the get-go, so they chose the most innocuous of jus soli granting states and planned my birth accordingly. By this logic, I’m Canadian.
My Indian family’s reaction to my monolingualism was an almost distressing medley of amusement, incredulity and borderline contempt. As I grew up, the question ‘Do you speak Kannada yet?’ began to punctuate our family visits with wearying regularity.