“A third culture kid, TCK, is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture”

Being taken out of my so-called home country at the age of 10. Spent a significant part of my developmental years in a multi-racial country while attending an International School. Currently studying university in another region. Has made me become one of the many third culture kids.

However, recently, I have been seeing an increase in popularity of articles and posts about third culture kid. I am constantly flooded with endless amount of such posts from my High School Friends. Whether it’s about the benefits, the characteristics, and up to the funny moments of being a TCK. All these posts, make it seem like being a TCK is superior.

The media has made it seems like being a TCK is very luxurious. I could not agree to the fact that being a TCK does open many doors of opportunities for me. I got the best education I could possibly ask for. I got to have the best and most supportive teacher, I was taught in what-to-me is the best curriculum, I was taught to be open-minded at a young age, and I met the greatest and most inspiring people (and most of all, friends). I could not have possibly think of getting anything similar if I was never taken out of my home country at such a young age.

But, there are many hardships of being a TCK that are never revealed by the media. In the end, we are all human. We are all equal. There are so many emotional battles that we need to go through, more than one could imagine. Now, let me tell you few hardships that we need to go through (ones that would even out the fact that we travel a lot). Let me tell you, that in the end, we are NOT anymore superior than other people.

1) We don’t actually know where are we from

Truth is, this fact is not always funny. In fact, it is heart-breaking. To this date, I don’t know where is “home”. Is home where the heart is? Or is it where your family is? Or is it where you passport says it is? Nobody knows the real answer. I don’t see this as something to be proud of. Seeing my friends speak happily and proudly about their home country, do make me feel jealous. You’ll be surprised at how many TCKs wish that they could equally speak with so much pride and joy.

2) We find ourselves disagreeing with our own culture and traditions

Being more exposed to different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking… do end up making us wish that we were brought up the same way. Do you know about the phrase, “the more you know and yet the less you know”. Exactly. The more we know about different cultures and traditions. The less we actually know. The less we know what’s right and what’s wrong.

So? This means, we often find ourselves arguing about these issues with our own family, people from our own culture, or even people who are too open-minded. Sometimes, it is better to not know.

3) We find it difficult to get along with people from our own home country

Moving on from the second point. Because we are constantly arguing on little things, we do in the end find it more difficult to get along. Again, whether it’s from our own country or the more closed-minded people.

Especially when we go back “home”, a place where we did not grow up in. Obviously, we act, speak, and think differently. Some of you, non-TCKs, may think we are showing off or difficult to be friends with. Truth is, we are not trying to offend you, we were just raised differently. This is very heart-breaking, because fact is, most of the time we don’t get these exceptions. As a result, we find ourself alone in our own “home country”.

4) Our friends are spread out all around the world

Some may say, it’s a very “cool” thing to have, which I do agree, to an extent. Many people don’t realise how difficult it is for us to have a reunion. Many don’t realise how difficult it is to meet our friends again.

Consider this, in High School, I was very closed with one group of girls (there were 6 of us). Now, we are all spread around the world, in different countries, and different regions. Yes, I could see them again. But the chances of us meeting at the same time as a group of 6 again is nearly impossible. Because we are spread around, education system is different. Our vacation ends up at different times as well. It’s not too luxurious anymore, is it? While many other non-TCKs, could easily meet their group of friends again, we couldn’t. It is nearing to two years and we have not even gathered as a group again. In fact, I have not seen most of my good friends anymore.

5) We are used to goodbyes, too many that it’s NOT healthy.

Yes. I believe that being used to too many goodbyes is not healthy. Many of our friends and ourselves have to come and leave. It is not good to be prone to these goodbye tears.

What impact does this make in my life? I am beginning to realise that because of this, I am more scared to be attached to someone. Because I fear of being left once attached. This is a typical emotional problem that many TCKs have to go through, and yes, it is unhealthy.

Well after all, we are just human. We are equal. We are not anymore superior. Don’t let the media fool you. Yes, there are sooo many advantages and endless opportunities that are open to be as being a TCK. Yes, I have experience a lot more than an average person at my age.

But what I’m saying is, this does not make us any less human. There are many hardships for being a TCK too.

With love,

Shannnen ❤