Cross-culture students find ‘normal’ to be relative
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Looking up and around at the faces of her peers, she goes through the familiar process of silent goodbyes. Goodbye…. Goodbye… Goodbye… I’ll miss you….
“I’m moving.” she says, the girls at her table look up from their papers. “Where?” They ask, “What town?” “Will you have to change schools?”
Reactions are varied. The empty promises to keep in touch go almost unnoticed; she doesn’t even bother to get their information anymore. This is not a new conversation. Thousands of kids all over the world have gone through it, time after time. Get settled. Pack up. Get settled. Pack up. The cycle goes on and on.
So what makes her different?
She’s a Third Culture Kid; the term given to individuals who grow up international, moving sometimes across oceans and living in a wide variety of different cultures. Though they typically have very open minds, are quick to adapt to change, and accept a lot of different ideas, being a Third Culture Kid (or TCK for short) definitely has its draw backs.
Having all of these different experiences during key developmental years makes it harder as a TCK gets older to ever feel a true sense of “Home”. They often feel the urge to leave after a few years or months in a new town, and typically have a higher chance of Suicide and Depression in their teen and adult years.
If you ever befriend a TCK, be sure to keep an open mind. They are all very different. Some have had rough experiences in countries that somebody who has never left their hometown cannot understand. Some have had wonderful experiences and wish to share their stories. They are not gloating, it’s just their life.
To them, a trip to Paris when they lived in France is the same as a trip to San Antonio for anyone else.
TCKs go through a lot of stress in their everyday life. They often have difficulties with the “Normal” situations, which non-TCKs would not. But all in all, being a TCK leaves a person with memories they can treasure for the rest of their lives.