Some of you may not realize that I grew up traveling and moving. I had traveled by car from one side of the United States all the way to the other, multiple times, before I was eight. When I was eight my parents and I moved to Africa. Dakar Senegal, West Africa to be more exact. We only spend four years there but those four years were my formative years. I know for certain that if I had never gone to Africa or grown up there (even for the short time that I did) I would be very much different from who I am today. Traveling and living over seas in a country that was so mysterious and so different from my home country, it was inevitable that the experiences there would opened my eyes to so much. Many of my social and political ideas come from living in Dakar.
The struggle of a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is that they have a home country that they were born in but was not raised in. They have been removed from the culture they were born into and placed in a culture that is new and often times that they stand out in (ex. White American in a country in Africa.) A TCK must adjust to simply always being “weird” or different from what is considered normal in whatever culture they are experiencing. This of course can be difficult for a child to understand and to adjust. Of course this is a much more common situation in todays global society. Though the term TCK was termed by two researchers in the 1950s, it took time for it to become “a thing” that several children experience. Later on another researcher will use the term “global nomad”…which I kind of like better than TCK.
Being a TCK has been both a struggle and a blessing. Not fitting in or getting a pop culture reference can be a bit embarrassing or even lonely. Though, the unique perspective that I received while experiencing a new and very different culture at a young age has provided me with the ability to understand people. Also after “not fitting in” for such a long time it is easy to just not care about certain things that seem to be peer pressured onto others.
I plan on sharing more of my TCK experience because that is a huge reason why I seem to connect to the places I travel (AKA “Travel With Roots”). It is why I felt confident about living in South Korea.
Now a days, TCK is very common. Do you have any third culture experiences yourself? Want to share them with me? Leave a comment. If you would like to read more about my own TCK experiences give this blog a “Like”
Thanks for reading!
**All photos taken and provided by my dad.**