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.

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