Monday, 24 June 2013

Research Project on Identity: Looking for (Adult) Third Culture Kids!

I received an email from Jo. She's looking for people who grew up abroad and returned to their passport country for university (like I did) or employment. I am posting her request because I am glad that there are people researching this topic. So whether you were an expat kid, a military brat, a diplomat kid, a missionary kid or maybe even an immigrant kid just respond. If you are the person she is looking for please send her an email! Thanks. Any researchers out there, please just keep the research coming and we're looking forward to hearing your conclusions.

"Third Culture Kids: Experiences of Identity Formation
She's conducting a study of Third Culture Kids (TCKs) returning ‘home’ for university or similar

What is the purpose of the study?
This study will focus on third culture kids (TCKs) who have returned to their parental passport country in the last 8 years to attend university or seek employment. The purpose of the study is to understand the experiences of TCKs returning to this country and look at the resources such as possesions, media, people and activities you have used to help you understand your identity.

Have you lived outside your parental passport country for at least four years?
Returned to you parental passport country for university or employment?
If YES she would like to hear from you
For more information on the study please contact:

Jo Withers: jo.withers2@googlemail.com

The research is being conducted as part of an MSc Psychology course at Oxford Brookes University"

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sharing a Secret on Raising Resilient Kids

Recently I did a guest post on Olga's blog The European Mama. The interesting thing we recently discovered is that our blogs are about the same age. Olga is "A Polish mother living in the Netherlands with her German husband and three children and she writes about parenting, multilingualism, being European, and much much more."

I liked the interview on the InCultureParent's website of Olga and her husband, if you want to know more about what a real intercultural family is like then you can read the interview here. 

In my guest blog I write about the secret of raising resilient kids. Don't we all want to raise strong healthy kids? Children that can face challenges and overcome them. Children who grow and develop into healthy independent individuals. Well I recently discovered a secret to raising resilient kids.

What is resilience? Resilience is a powerful word. Psychological resilience is an individual's tendency to cope with stress and adversity. So is there a key to raising kids that can cope well with stress and adversity?
If you want to continue reading click over to Olga's blog.

Remember there is still time to leave a comment on my latest post an interview with Apple Gidley and have a chance to win a signed copy of her book Expat Slice. Apple grew up as a third culture kid and she has kept moving ever since.

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Friday, 14 June 2013

Blog anniversary: Interview with Apple Gidley and a giveaway to celebrate!


So it's my second blog anniversary and it's good to celebrate achievements! It's my honour to introduce AppleGidley to you. She's author of the book Expat Life, Slice by Slice. Are you interested in participating in the giveaway? Just leave a comment here and you might be the winner of a signed copy of Apple's book.

1.         Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have lived in many countries, twelve at the last count. All have left indelible marks on my life, some more positive than others. I was fortunate to fall in love with a man whom I met in Papua New Guinea and who has the same wanderlust. I have also been able to find employment, whether voluntary or salaried, in most places, probably because I was prepared to try anything. Our children were born in the Netherlands and Thailand, and despite a childhood punctuated by moves have turned into empathetic adults, with a keen sense of justice and an ability to fit in everywhere. I doubt very much their lives will be static.

2.         Which countries were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was brought up in Nigeria with brief spells in England, then Malaysia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea. My mother was Australian and I went to boarding school in Australia (her old school) when I was ten.

I spend most of my time in America with extended stays in the Caribbean, and trips to England to spoil my granddaughter, though she is about to move to Trinidad with her parents, but home is wherever my husband is, which for now is Houston, Texas.

3.         You raised Third Culture Kids too, what have you learned in the process?

That raising children anywhere, whether TCKs or not, is a tough job but without doubt the most rewarding, and for which no amount of reading can prepare you. The manuals never seem to cover whatever drama is currently unfolding.

4.         What advice would you give parents about helping their kids when moving and adjusting to a new environment?   
Children pick up their parent’s vibes in a heartbeat it seems, so staying positive, excited and curious about a new posting is important – even when you feel like crumbling in a corner amongst the packing cases. That doesn’t mean I’ve always managed to be upbeat all the time. I haven’t. But I am naturally curious and therefore eager to experience new things – I think this rubbed off on the kids. I also believe it terribly important to say goodbye properly. Farewell parties and goodbye rituals validate the children’s, and adults, friendships and allows space to feel sad. If we say ‘goodbye’ well, it clears the way for saying ‘hello’ to new friendships and experiences.

            There are some excellent books on the market for young children these days, the Pixie series by Emmanuelle Payot Karpathakis for example.

5.         What do you think the greatest challenge is when raising kids in other cultures?
            I think finding the balance between the passport culture and the new culture can be difficult. The expectations of new neighbours or classmates can be confusing and divisive for children and teens, particularly for those from immigrant families and those who come from a strong parochial society.

            On the other hand experiencing different cultures is one of the greatest benefits of growing up a TCK. An inherent understanding and acceptance of another’s viewpoint, and learning the art of compromise, can be a huge asset in adult life, both in the workplace and at home.

6.         Where’s home for you?
            Wherever my current base is, which is another way of saying wherever my husband is, as it is his work that has allowed me this privileged life, as an adult, around the world. He is my bedrock.

7.         Do you have any advice for TCKs?
            Yes. Don’t get too hung up on ‘belonging’ to any one tribe. It is natural to feel more comfortable with one kind of person than another, but it doesn’t mean you have to share all the same experiences. It’s fun to have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances with different backgrounds, and it doesn’t matter if they don’t always ‘get’ you.

Everyone has difficult things, or events occur at some stage in life; we have to deal with them as best we can with the tools we have at that time, then move on. Sometimes we get so hung up on worrying about what has happened that we forget to relish what is happening. Life is just too damn short to wallow.

8.         You’ve written the book Expat Life Slice by Slice, could you tell us about it?

            It is a memoir that I hope not only tells some of the events in my life, some humorous, some sad, but also shares lessons learned along the way. Some were learned from my expatriate parents, from other expatriates and from the people whose countries I have lived in, and some were gleaned from experiences, good and bad. It covers everything from TCKs and education to working to aging parents and a raft of things that face us all, whether a global nomad or not.

8.         9. Do you have tips for people who are interested in writing a book?
            Just do it. I wittered on about it for years but it was my husband’s impatience at my procrastination that finally got me to sit down and write. I tend to write what I am feeling or thinking about at any given time, so I didn’t worry too much about continuity until I had the words down. Then I went back and organised it.

           10. I see you have been blogging for My Telegraph since July 2010. How did you become a blogger for that website?
            My publisher, Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing, told me I needed ‘googlability’ before she would consider publishing me, and suggested I start a blog. I had written a few articles for the Telegraph in the UK and thought it would be easier to write on an established website rather than start from scratch, and it gave me exposure to a wide range of people. She also suggested I
focus on one area, such as expatriate or intercultural issues, but I didn’t take that piece of advice as I have a broad range of interests, about which I can normally find something to say!

11.       You tweeted that you have just finished your next book, we want to hear about it!
            Thank you Janneke for asking me that, as I am about to start looking for a publisher! The Twittering of Sparrows, not unsurprisingly as the experts say write what you know, is a novel about four women who meet in Malaysia and continue a friendship through various relocations, and over a span of about fifty years. It covers the ups and the downs of living in a country not one’s own, and has a twist at the end. The name comes from the game they all love to play, Mah Jong.

12.       You lived in the Netherlands for some time too. What did you enjoy here?
            We lived in Emmen, and without doubt it was the generosity of spirit of the people around us, and their willingness to forgive my mauling of their language that helped make my four years in the Netherlands very happy. Even the winters were wonderful, with snow and frozen canals that made me feel I was in a Brueghel painting. I loved the market where the stallholders watched over my pregnancy with delight and advice, and then when our daughter was born, more advice and slices of ham and cheese, which were grabbed by chubby fingers encased in fluffy mittens. I loved the bicycle culture, except on freezing windy nights, but the bitterballen met mayonnaise and jenever helped!

13.       What did you dislike or have difficulty with in the Netherlands?
            Having spent a large part of my childhood in Africa and Asia where ambivalence, obfuscation and subtlety are revered, it took me a while to adjust to the straight forwardness of the Dutch. In time though I came to appreciate it as making life a great deal less confusing.

14.       Any last “food for thought” for us?  
I think amidst all the chaos of packing and adjustments, particularly at this time of year when people are on the move again, it’s important to remember the chaos will dissipate, the groans of reluctant children will lessen and we will find a friend with whom to share coffee or wine.

            Websites like this are an invaluable source of advice and encouragement for global nomads and TCKs everywhere, so I’d like to wish DrieCulturen a very happy birthday! 

          Thank you! To enter the giveaway leave a comment here (with email address or a link to get into contact with you), the closing date is 30th June. Let me know why you would like to win a signed copy of Apple Gidley's book Expat Life. The giveaway is open to anyone living on this globe. The winner will be randomly chosen. I will announce the winner on the 1st of July.

Apple blogs at my.telegraph.co.uk/applegidley. You can follow her on twitter @ExpatApple 

"Apple Gidley’s Expat Life: Slice by Slice is, simply put, one of the very best expat memoirs I’ve read in recent years (and I’ve read many)." Linda from Adventures in Expat Land.

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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Time to look back and to look ahead here at DrieCulturen

"Like flying blogging is an adventure" photo by DrieCulturen
Two years ago I started my blog. Now it's time to look back and share some of the progress I have made. It has been an exciting adventure writing this blog. I've written nearly 200 posts, received many comments thanks to you, my readers. I have received personal emails and I've been on the national radio in the Netherlands speaking about my youth abroad and explaining what third culture kids are.

So what do people read here?

My 5 Best Read Posts:
  1. Top countries for raising kids abroad in 2012 Read more than 2000 times
  2. Top countries for raising kids abroad in 2011
  3. Cultural Identity Confusion and Third Culture Kids
  4. Interview with Graphic Design Student Jessica on Third Culture Kid Book Project
  5. My 10 Disadvantages of growing up abroad
Most of my pageviews come from:
  1. The USA more than 19 thousand pageviews
  2. The Netherlands more than 15 thousand pageviews
  3. Russia
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Germany
I would like to know which post you most enjoyed? Which was most informative or do you still remember? Is there a topic you want to hear more of? Please let me know by leaving a comment. By the way I have a surprise coming up, I hope to have a giveaway on the blog some time soon, I hope this week. So do come back and check the blog again.

I enjoyed writing the post "I'm from....and you?".On my first blog anniversary I interviewed Heidi Sand-Hart author of the book "Home Keeps Moving". I love interviewing authors because it inspires me, remember I have this dream to write a book one day! I wrote about my dream in the post Breaking the Silence. A recent post with quite a few comments was my post on is there a difference between adults and kids living abroad?
So what comes next? The interesting thing about blogging is that I often do not know what the next post will be about. I hope future posts will be informative, useful and inspiring for you. I am adding some interesting links here for you. See you next time!

Related Posts:
I won the Versatile Blogger Award 
Blogging: What's the Point? (JoParfitt.com)
How to make your blogging dreams come true (Problogger)
23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers (Problogger) 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Time for Something New....

Growing up abroad my life changed drastically every 2 to 3 years. Major change was part of my life every few years. It would mean moving house, leaving friends, packing and starting all over again. In between these major moves there would be times of change too, when other families left and went back "home" or on to their next move. Life for me meant change and new things.

Now my life changes a lot less often. I have been living in the same town for quite some years now but there is still that yearning for change and for doing something new or learning something new. At the moment I am changing my day job, I will write more about that in another post. Due to the job change I have less time and energy to write on my blog. I hope I will be able to write more posts this month!

I have started doing something new and I wanted to share that with you. I am following my first MOOC! Have you heard of MOOCs or do you have experience with MOOCs? I would love to hear about it.

So what's a MOOC? Well a few months ago I had not heard of them. "A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students and professors". Wikipedia.

I am following a MOOC offered by edX.org. You can see which courses are offered by edX.org here. Interesting courses that are coming up are: Health and Society, Globilization's Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries, Solar Energy (by TU Delft, a Dutch University), and the Age of Globilization.

The MOOC I am following is Human Health and Global Environmental Change. It is taught by lecturers from the Harvard School of Public Health and I am very enthusiast about the course. Maybe I will write more about it at a later stage. The great thing is that you can watch the lectures whenever it is convenient for you. You can try to get the certificate but you do not have to.

I am still hoping to find a MOOC on third culture kids. If you come across one please let me know!

I think that MOOCs are great possibilities for global learning. All you need is:
  1. A desire to learn
  2. Find a topic that interests you
  3. Have a computer and an internet connection
  4. Find some time to watch the lectures and answer the questions etc. You can watch it in your own time zone, wherever you are on the globe.
So whether you live in Andorra or Zimbabwe there are new learning possibilities for you. Even for expats wherever you live these are new interesting opportunities. I mentioned edX but there are two other websites that offer MOOC's: Coursera and Udacity. Coursera has about 3,5 million students registered who are taking courses. More recently OpenupEd has been launched, it is a European initiative supported by the European Commission. There are about 40 courses available in 12 different languages.

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