A Third Culture Individual is defined as someone who was raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of their country of nationality, and also lived in a different environment during a significant part of their child development years. Life as a third culture kid can be difficult, but there are important things to remember.
Growing up in many different places is no doubt a blessing, but life can seem different to people who have grown up in many different places in comparison to the people in their local area. Here are a few things to know when speaking to a Third Culture Individual and ways cope with your move to university.
Feeling lonely is very relatable feeling and, as third culture individual, you can feel this way a lot of the time. You feel as though you belong to so many different places, you miss these places a lot of the time, and you have friends and family scattered across the world. The dream is that one day you can be close enough to see them all.
Look into flights and start saving up. Remind yourself you can go and see these places again and FaceTime your old friends to feel closer to them and the location. Don’t let your connection to the place fall into the past, keep it in your present.
Growing up this way broadened your mind and has given you life experience that is extremely valuable to you and also to others when you get to share your experience.
Write in a journal all the amazing things that traveling has taught you. Tie it into a university project.
Life as a third culture kid means it is very normal to feel misunderstood by others. Your current friends have watched different shows to you growing up, have different music taste, and rip into your accent for being different from theirs. It is easy to become a bit of a chameleon trying to fit whoever you are speaking to in an attempt to relate to them as much as possible.
Take your friends out for food at a restaurant from a part of your life to really help introduce them to the culture that has made you who you are.
Yearning for the past
You miss the good old days. You are fully aware of the fact that, even if you visit the places where you spent your formative years, they will have changed drastically, and your friends and family may have moved. Remember this still wouldn’t change the feeling of nostalgia when going to visit.
Keep your memories precious to you. Form a scrap book of these places and a photo collage to keep them in your heart.
University is one of the best places to work through these feelings and learn that you are allowed to be different. You are aware that universities are places full of people from different cultures and backgrounds who may have had a very similar lifestyle to yours. Living in a metropolitan city may be best for Third Culture Individuals as they contain a lot of influence from many different areas of the world.
Never forget how lucky you are that you get to educate others about different cultures and be a spokesperson against small mindedness.
Read next: Why I Won’t Be Moving Home After University