Thursday, 29 November 2018

Shaping Identity between Cultures: A Documentary Concert

This weekend on the 1st and 2nd of december 2018 there is an exciting Documentary Concert called Wings & Roots and it will take place at De Balie in Amsterdam. In this documentary-concert Andrea Voets and the musicians will explore the hidden implications of existing-between-worlds on life and identity.

Andrea Voets is a harpist and a musical journalist. She has brought together a group of third culture musicians. The four musicians carry 12 countries within them. They are guided by the transcultural psychiatrist Glenn Helberg. The questions they hope to answer is:

"How can you find a sense of self when you always relate but never belong?"

"How can you piece it all together?"

After both concerts there will be room for discussion.


In 2016 Andrea Voets made the documentary-concert Xenitia on migration. It contained the testimonies of 18 Greek migrants. The show went on tour in Europe.

I have been wondering about the above questions. They are one of the reasons this blog exists. Personally I had never heard of musical journalism but I am open to discover more about it. I read that musical journalism is a voice beyond words, that sounds very interesting!

Please share the news about this concert with friends and family. There is still time to buy tickets for the Wings & Roots Documentary Concert.

Related topics:

- What do you say to your third culture kids?
- Interview with Jessica Wen on her third culture kid identity books
- Neither here nor there - where do I belong?
- Cultural Identity Confusion and Third Culture Kids

Sunday, 7 October 2018

What do you say to your Third Culture Kids?

A while ago I read a piece written by Rachel Pieh Jones and I just knew that I wanted to share it with you. Rachel lives in Djibouti and has raised her children there. I really like the very honest article she wrote: 15 things I want to tell my third culture kids. At the time her children were about to leave to boarding school, they have now left to university.

The quotes that struck me were "I cry for the choices we've made. And then I defend them with passion". 

The other quote that impressed me was: "I am sorry for the things life has taken from you. The names of all the friends you have said good-bye to are branded in my mind". 


Rachel realizes that she knows what it is like to parent TCKs but she has no idea what it is like to grow up abroad. As you probably know, I grew up abroad and I love the way Rachel tries to understand what it is like for her children and for other kids. A few years ago she hosted a whole guest post series on her blog on third culture kids. She has now made a compilation of these essays, updated the information, added interviews and practical tips and has made it into an ebook.Finding Home. I was privileged to contribute to the series too. I wrote on transitioning globally to university. Many different authors contributed to the ebook: Ruth van Reken, Marilyn Gardner, Mary Bassey, Ma Donna Maurer, Clara Wiggins and Ute Limacher just to name a few.


One of the 5 star reviews said:
"This collection of essays was both relatable and eye opening. As a third culture kid, there was a lot for me to learn and think about after reading each essay. Highly recommended if you want to better understand people who don’t belong in one culture, or if you don’t!"

I would really like to hear what you could say to your third culture kids. One of the things my parents said was that we should dare to be different. Well growing up in Africa I was different, with my blue eyes and blond hair. I actually found it difficult when I was the same as all the other children. I was twelve years old and as a family we spent a couple of months in The Netherlands. I went to form one, but it was a shock to discover that there were three other girls in my class with the same name as I have. I was used to "Janneke" being a really special name, often people had difficulty pronouncing my name. But in the Netherlands "Janneke" is a very common name, especially at that time. There is even a book named Jip and Janneke, Two Kids From Holland. So at the time I had to adjust to the fact that my name was not special at all and even though I looked like the other Dutch girls I was actually different due to growing up in Africa.

What do you say to your third culture kids? 

Related posts:


PS. Have you heard that the next Families in Global Transition Conference in 2019 will take place in Thailand? From April 26 - 28.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Happy New Year and there is still time to register for early bird rate for Families in Global Transition Conference 2018

I want to wish you all a happy new year! I have some dreams that I hope will come true in 2018 and I hope you have dreams too for this year. Today is Epiphany, Three Kings' Day. I was in Gent, Belgium this week and discovered Three Kings' cake in a bakery. I had never seen it before. Apparently there are quite a few countries where they have the tradition of Three Kings' Cake. In French it is called galette des rois. If you want to know more, then here are 5 facts about Kings' Cake. I really like discovering new things! See the image for the cake I discovered.

This year the Families in Global Transition Conference will take place in the Hague, the Netherlands again from 8-10 March 2018. It is still possible to register for the early bird rate, you have until the 15th of January 2018! The theme of the conference is: Diverse Voices, celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives. An adult third culture kid recently asked me if the conference was suitable for adult third culture kids living in their passport cultures, well I would say it is. What I noticed is that everyone at the conference has a unique story, just like I have and you have, and there is room for each story to be told. There are many expats, third culture kids, organizations involved with expats and their children at the conference. At this moment in time there are registrations from more than 31 countries, so it is a truly international conference. If you live in the Netherlands then it is your chance to join the conference. The venue of the next conference will probably be is Asia. Will we see you at the conference?

No idea what to expect? Lucille, an expat mum and storyteller shares her experience of attending the FIGT conference in 2017.

Amy Clare Tasker shares her experiences of giving a workshop at FIGT 2017. The funny thing is that those are my words "Home is where the radishes grow" and I am the blond person on the floor depicting "Home is where the radishes grow".

More news:
New edition of Third Culture Kids Growing up Among Worlds available (Third Edition 2017)

By the way have you ever eaten a Three Kings' cake? Is it a tradition you celebrate? Can you tell us more about the tradition?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Where are the male expat or third culture kid voices?

Recently I heard that the Families in Global Transition conference in 2018 will be held in the Netherlands again. This is good news because if it is so near to home there is more chance that I will be able to attend. At the 2017 conference we heard that the next conference would be in Asia, which meant attending would be more of a challenge for me. The FIGT conference will be held in the Hague, the Netherlands from the 8th to the 10th of March 2018, mark your calenders and maybe we can meet up there. It will be the 20th anniversary next year so it promises to be a great conference. The theme of the conference is Diverse voices celebrating the past, present, and future of globally mobile lives. If you want to submit a proposal it is due before 15th september 2017. First time conference attendees can apply for a Pollock Scholarship, check this link for more information.

On the FIGT website I saw this: The guiding question when considering the applications is, "Who is missing at the FIGT table?"  They are looking for a diverse field of applicants from each of our traditional sectors, (including corporate, diplomatic, academic, military, mission, arts and entrepreneurial) plus voices not well represented, such as those involved in immigration and refugee work, an increase in male voices, and participants from all parts of the globe.

I noticed that the FIGT organizers want an increase voices not well represented including an increase in male voices. While searching the internet this week I noticed two stories both by (adult) third culture kid males so I do want to share these stories. The first story is by Chris Aslan. Chris was born in Turkey, lived in Lebanon and returned to the UK for schooling. He later lived in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. His whole story "Both and Neither: Exploring my Third Culture Kid Identity" can be read here. He writes about feeling in between cultures and not really belonging to either. I like his conclusion. 

"There have been times when I’ve felt a stranger in both cultures, but gradually I’ve learnt to feel at home in both. I’ve discovered that I’m a pretty good bridge that others can use to walk along to have their horizons broadened and to meet people they might not otherwise have met. I’m letting my character and values to be shaped by the best of both cultures. It’s not always as comfortable as being one thing or another, but embracing the concept of ‘both’ is really good, and that’s better than being comfortable."

Marilyn Gardner writes the same in her Thoughts on Entry, Reentry and Third Culture Kids. She says that as third culture kids we should accept that we are a combination of worlds. 

Joshua tells us his own story. He now lives in Suriname but he grew up in many different countries: Egypt, Singapore, and China. He tells about the culture shock he had when he moved to China. He shares what he learnt by growing up abroad. Please listen to his story,  it will take you less than 6 minutes.


Thank you Chris and Joshua for sharing your stories. Will you consider joining us at the Families in Global Transition Conference this March here in the Netherlands? We want to hear more male third culture kid stories. Please let us hear your voices. Come and join us. Do you know male third culture kids or are you one? Let's hear your voice.

Related Posts:

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Families in Global Transition Conference starting 23rd March 2017 in Den Haag

The Families in Global Transition Conference is starting tomorrow in Den Haag, the Netherlands. For years the conference took place in America. This is the second year in a row that the conference will be in the Netherlands. What a priviledge that the conference is close to home for me.

Conference Theme is: Building on the Basics: Creating Your Tribe on the Move.

I will be giving an Ignite presentation on Friday afternoon, you can see the other presenters and their topics here. An Ignite presentation is a short presentation of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. You have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide, the slides are forwarded automatically. I have never given an Ignite presentation before. I have been told that you need to practice a presentation like this many times so that's what I am doing at the moment. I hope the saying is true that "practice makes perfect".

Here's the list of the topics of the Ignite presentations:
  • Exploring the ‘Why’, the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ of Muslim Expatriates
  • The Power of Team Sport to Create a Diverse Tribe       
  • How a TCK English Teacher in a Hungarian Village Created a Globally Local Network 
  • Childhood Losses, TCKs, and Identity Development  
  • Finding Joy and Abundance as an Expat - Planning For Your Fulfilled Life Abroad
  • Finding Your Voice, Your Tribe and Hearing Other Voices Through Blogging
I will be speaking about how I found my voice through this blog and how I heard your voices.
If you are not coming to the conference but you are interested in what is going on at the conference you can follow the hashtag #FIGT17NL 


Want to know how to give an Ignite presentation? Emma McCathy gives advice here.
Her Ignite talk last year at the FIGT conference was on Building a Global Village.


I am a little nervous for my first Ignite presentation ever, but I am also looking forward to what the conference will bring us this year. I would love to know what the Families in Global transition Conference means to you. What does the conference mean to you?

Update April 2017: Terry Ann Wilson wrote a lovely post all about the Ignite presentations.

Related posts: