Watch the video below or here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrG5AKZZD98, which is an example of several resources we’ve provided about defining the realities of TCKs. Check out the Additional Optional Resources section of this course for more!
If you have difficulty loading the video above you may read the transcript below
“It is a well-known fact that of all the species on earth Homo sapiens is among the most adaptable.”
A Gengleman in Moscow
Here’s a question for you, where is your home?
Debra O. Osawo: I’m 27 years old, I’m Kenyan, but I spent part of my life in the UK
Danielle Dikoko: I was born in Congo, but I’m American
Rory Kolkman: Well that’s really difficult. I mean when I’m in Dubai I say I’m from Holland and when I’m in Holland I say I’m from Dubai. I tend to be on answering that question to a Dutch person, so they’re getting it back from me in Dutch, which means they already understand that I have a Dutch background.
Danielle Dikoko: We’ve moved around like a lot of places, like, we’ve lived overseas for the majority of my life. So every time if someone asked me where I’m from I never have like a specific answer.
Debra O. Osawo: I spent my formative years in the UK, that’s when I went to live with my mom. And a lot of what she taught me was British, like, even with the way she spoke like the way I got used to speaking while I was there.
Claire Gilbert (Narrator): I am a third culture kid or a TCK. I have had many homes and yet I have no home. I can fit in anywhere, but at the same time I never fully fit in in any one place. Here is my own, well here’s one of the. This is where I lived until I was 8 and then we moved here for 3 months, and my fourth grade teacher was mrs. velov. Then I lived here until I was 10 and went to school in a military base. Then I lived here for the next two years and was the star pitcher for my softball team. Then we moved here and that was the year my grandmother passed away. [something in spanish]. Then we then we moved to Florida, we don’t talk about Florida. Croatia was next and I lived there the longest after New York. Finally Here I am now in the Hague trying to make sense of all the moving. Third culture kids are people who grow up in a country different from the one that their parents are from or that is different from their own passport country. Let me explain, imagine you’re a circle person from the country of circle land and it’s a round place with a spherical culture but suddenly, for some reason or another, you have to leave circle land and go off somewhere else. You end up in square land. It’s edgy it’s sharp, in short, it’s everything circle land isn’t and even though you’re completely different when you get there, after a while you start to change, maybe you eat dinner at square time or you start speaking square. Whatever it is, you lose a little roundness, you gain some edges and you become a triangle. Then you leave square land one day and find yourself back in circle land but, you’re not a circle anymore and looking back at square land, you’re not a square either, you’re somewhere in between. Now imagine that you’re a circle child and your circle parents do the same thing our other circle friend did. They leave circle land for an edge of your country and bring you with them. When you go back to circle land you feel even more out of place than your parents do. Maybe they even gain back some of their roundness, but you, you’re different, you feel a kind of pull between the many places you’ve lived, but in the end your parents are the ones who stay triangles. You’re actually a star and that star right there is a third culture kid. You take the best of the two cultures you’ve grown up in and create your very own, third culture. That’s why you’re a star and there’s plenty of other stars out there who feel just as you do, but it’s kind of hard to find them sometimes, especially in circle land. I started making YouTube videos out of high school about being a third culture kid. I made a connection with so many other people, who also don’t know how to answer the simple question, where are you from? I wanted to talk to a few people like the ones that I connected with on YouTube and find out how they felt about being a third culture kid and what they’ve gotten out of it. Ultimately seeing if our experiences matched up and going back to our home countries and trying to fit in and belong. All of us have problems getting used to our home country.
Danielle Dikoko: In some ways I did give up a normal lifestyle. I had to get used to different things that I know, like people back in the states wouldn’t understand
Claire Gilbert (Narrator): And we’ve also missed out on a lot in our home cultures.
Rory Kolkman: I suppose I missed out on, like you know, very typically Dutch times of year and seasonal things, but for what I got in return, yeah I don’t really regret it.
Claire Gilbert (Narrator): We appreciate all of the things that we’ve gotten to do and see in our lives
Debra O. Osawo: I appreciate things that other people look at like, ‘oh well, this is how it’s always been, nothing unique, nothing special’
Danielle Dikoko: Yeah I’ve just learned to appreciate things a lot more as well.
Claire Gilbert (Narrator): And we all have people ask us ridiculous questions, like the time someone asked me if I had ever been to Prussia, or if I could take a plane to Italy if I was in Spain. For one thing, Prussia isn’t a country anymore, and for another planes can take you anywhere in the world, so yes?
Debra O. Osawo: The one about animals like, you know, lions, like use the same roads we do.
Rory Kolkman: I was also asked if ,like, I had a camel.
Danielle Dikoko: I’ve had so many weird things, like, said to me or asked about. Like, I know, of course going back to the states, like, when we lived in Nigeria, I had cousins asked me if we had internet.
Debra O. Osawo: I think they think we live amongst animals. So I didn’t even know how to explain it because, I don’t know exactly how other people think.
Rory Kolkman: If I lived in the desert, like amongst bettawins and stuff, like that’s sort of the impression they had of where I lived. Like you know some sort of war-torn state.
Danielle Dikoko: Or when we lived in Gabon, people asked me if we lived in like those huts or whatever, or I don’t know just a lot of crazy things, where you’re just wondering, like, where do you get this information from?
Debra O. Osawo: Yeah people seem to assume that animals just kind of around Kenya, like on the streets, on the roads, like everywhere, like you open your front door and there’s a lion right there.
Rory Kolkman: Please just like they typed Dubai into Google
Danielle Dikoko: I wish that my family in the States could have experienced how I’ve grown up but, at the same time it’s kind of nice to have that American side, so I don’t lose that part of me as well.
Claire Gilbert (Narrator): If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from being a third culture kid. It’s that there’s always going to be something that you’ve missed out on in life. There’s always a trade-off, there’s always going to be a trade-off and we can’t know what we’ve missed out on if we hadn’t made that exact trade. If I had stayed in America for the past 13 years, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. This year I’m going back to my home country indefinitely. It’s gonna be a big change. It’s gonna be different and I’m going to have to adapt. But, we’re pretty good at that by now.
Created by Claire Gilbert
The TCK Triangle Concept is the original idea of Mission Training International.