The author Hfu Reisenhofer explains that the question: Where are you from? Was a difficult one for him. Like it is for many of us. He writes:
"You see, for years I didn’t know who or what I am – at least officially. It sounds like an odd thing to say, but it’s the truth. If you were born in Tokyo but brought up in Hong Kong, have an Austrian passport but feel British, have a Japanese first name and a German last name but pronounce them with an English accent, the issue of where you’re from is not as straightforward as it seems."
A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.
Like Hfu I had an international childhood. I was born in Zambia, lived in Malawi and Zimbabwe but my passport country is the Netherlands. So am I African? Am I Dutch? Am I Zimbabwean? Am I a mix? Well years ago I discovered that I'm a third culture kid too.
I really like the end of the article. He says "So, go on, ask me where I’m from. I’ve finally got the answer."
I am so glad Hfu finally found the answer! I am still concerned because like him I think there are more adults and young people out there who grew up as third culture kids but have never heard the term. Who have not experienced the relief, the validation, discovered that they are not alone in this, and that there are more individuals like them. There is still work to be done. The word has to get out. Will you help spread the word?
How can we spread the word about the term third culture kids?
- Expat parents must teach their children.
- Teachers at international schools must teach their pupils about it.
- We adult third culture kids must spread the word around.
Do you have ideas how we can raise awareness? How can we get the word out?
This is the trailer of the film "Les Passagers" I have shared it before but it is one of my favourites so I will share it again.