Before I started this blog I kept another blog, called “Third Culture What“. On there, I talked all about my experiences as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), something that is a big part of my identity. I have not really talked about this part of my life on here much, so I decided that today I would share one of my posts from my “Third Culture What” blog. I plan on writing original content for this blog on TCK and expat life in the future, so keep a look out for that! And if you have any questions about being a TCK or expat, let me know, I’m happy to answer them all.
So, here are the 10 things I love about being a TCK:
- Multiple ‘homes’.
As a TCK, you don’t feel at home in just one place. You have created ‘homes’ in numerous countries, and each of those countries holds a dear place in your heart. And even though you have had to leave those homes, you can always go back. And you know that when you go back, you will feel instantly at home again.
- Expat community.
Wherever you go, there will be an expat community. A community of people that have, just like you, moved around multiple times. Usually, you have an instant connection with these people. You can compare the places you have lived and trade stories about culture shock. Getting involved with the expat community in a new place is the easiest way to create new friendships and get advice on your new home.
- Friends all around the world.
Taking a trip somewhere? Surely you have a friend that lives there, and that will let you sleep on their couch. Maybe they’ll even act as a your tour guide for a day. This is the good thing about friends you meet at International School who constantly moving around: you have friends in the most unique places. Take note though; you will have to return the favour!
- Travel opportunities.
I have always associated being a TCK with traveling. I know this is not necessarily the case for all TCK’s, but in the expat communities I grew up in, everyone seemed to be world travellers. My parents’ logic was that if you lived in a new place, you needed to explore it and its neighbouring countries. Luckily for us, they always took my brother and I along, and some of my best memories are from traveling to new places!
As a TCK you have to learn to adapt. You have to adapt to a new culture, a new language, new people, and a new school. You quickly learn how to adapt fast and effectively. I have recently come to realize that this is not only a useful skill for moving around, but also for various other day-to-day things. As a TCK you learn this skill early on, and you will be eternally grateful for it.
- Close family bond.
I strongly believe that the more you move around with your family, the closer you get. You go through hard times together, and that bring you close as a family. They become your primary support system, and you know they will also be there to lean on when needed.
Most TCK’s pick up the language of the country they live in whilst living there. Even better, TCK’s are usually kids when they learn these languages, and they thus pick them up twice as fast and they are stored in their memory forever.
- Thick skin.
The whole process of leaving your friends and familiar environment behind to move somewhere new is hard. So when you have gone through this process multiple times by the age of 18, you develop a thick skin towards feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness. This is not to say you don’t feel these things at all anymore, but you certainly know how to deal with them better.
- International schools.
International Schools are a whole different experience compared to local schools. Yes, they are over the top and ridiculously expensive, but the experience you gain from attending one is priceless.
Whether you like it or not, being a TCK is pretty unique. There are not too many of us, and often, people find us pretty interesting. This might not always feel like a good thing (personally, I don’t like the attention) but you should not take it for granted. Embrace your TCK-ness!