What It’s Like To Be A Third Culture Kid

You were raised in a different country than your parents. You have several nationalities by blood and another by birth. You have more than one passport and you identify with multiple cultures. You speak in numerous languages and you know phrases in many more. You’re a third culture kid, a global nomad, and a citizen of the world.

You were born into the culture of travel and you flew before you could walk. You know your way around airports like the back of your hand and you’ve seen more places than most adults have in their lifetime. You’ve been exposed to both poverty and extreme wealth and you’ve learned to appreciate what you have.

Your friends also have ownership in multiple cultures and are from countries unheard of by many. Your mind is open to different religious and political views and you’re culturally adept. You know how to adapt because every few years your friends came and went. You now have connections in all corners of the globe.

You’ve lived the fast paced lifestyle of an expatriate and you are privileged. You’ve learned in the racially diverse environment of an international school. You have an extensive knowledge of the world. You’re nationalistic and patriotic about the countries you’ve lived in and you have stories to tell of the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met.

You felt the need to experience your passport country at some point, so you moved to pursue further education. You joined clubs and societies, you go out to eat and drink and you live like you usually do. But your seemingly exotic lifestyle — the one that intrigues the people you meet — is not as glamorous as it seems.

You may come across as arrogant to some but you don’t mean to. You actually dread being asked where you’re from because you don’t know and it takes too long to explain. You lack a true sense of home and you feel like you belong both everywhere and nowhere. You don’t have a permanent address and you’re an international student in your own country.

You’re in a long distance relationship with your family and you’re forever working out the time difference to keep in touch. Your closest friends are scattered across the globe so you often have to wait years before seeing them. You may be used to leaving things behind, but sometimes you still feel lost and confused.

You say you’re from your passport country when you’re outside of it, but when you’re in it you feel like you’re from anywhere but. You become accustomed to the culture that should be yours but you miss the ones you adopted along the way. You look like you belong but you think very differently — you’re a hidden immigrant.

You don’t fit anywhere really but you find a sense of belonging to the culture of geographically rootless people just like you. You’re part of an expanding population of global citizens but it has its ups and downs. You’re capable of finding home in places that others can’t, but you face a lifetime of balancing worlds.

You may have an identity crisis and you may feel misunderstood. But you’re not alone and you will find third culture kids wherever you go. You will also meet incredible people who, although very different to you, will help you create a sense of belonging in a new place. You may feel homeless at times, but just remember that you’re lucky to have connections to so many places that you could call home — and never wish that it were different. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Shutterstock

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