Third Culture Kids

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What are Terms of Reference (ToR) Journals?

Shades of Noir (SoN) publications exist as a creative, educational journal where ‘identity’ remains at its heart and ‘troublesome’ knowledge presents an opportunity for threshold concepts to be presented through a variety of creative forms. With a specialist Art and Design focus, Terms of Reference (ToR) journals contain a multiplicity of voices, intersectional perspectives and modes of communications, acknowledging global research centres and institutions within each publication. Recognising the historical legacies, existence and achievement of individuals that have impacted social justice is a crucial part of Shades of Noir philosophy in order to counteract the colonial practice of erasure. Building a ToR is an evolving process in which Shades of Noir (SoN) view contributors as ‘collaborators’ who, like us, recognise an absence within wider, public discourse. Within this, Shades of Noir (SoN) work to maintain ‘mutual benefit’ on both sides that elevates the voices and work of marginalised people, providing examples of diverse creative practitioners and professionals to current and future generations of the student bodies. As a result, Shades of Noir (SoN) has amassed (as of 2020) 4 volumes of journals. Not only have they found a home in UAL’s libraries across the institution’s several colleges as the largest subject-specific institution in the world in the area of art, design and communication higher education, but they have also been circulated globally, reaching 6 of the 7 continents of the world. As a result, our ToRs are used as ‘pedagogic tools’ and are archived in libraries such as The New School, Glasgow School of Art, University of Western Cape Town and The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Can I purchase ToR Journals?

No. Unfortunately, our publications, teaching materials and online content (in all formats) are not available for rent or sale and can be accessed online or via institutional library services as ‘reference only’. Institutions can request copies via and we will do our best to accommodate.

Are contributors paid to submit to ToR’s?

Whilst we recognise the need for compensation for practitioners of colour, we do not offer payment for the contributions that are included within our ToR’s. However, we do send a copy of the publication to all contributors although the print run generally comes at the end of a Shades of Noir phase (12 - 18months).

Can I download ToR Journals? We reserve all rights to reproduction.

We explicitly do not allow, accept, encourage the download of our publications digitally, nor do we advocate for publications to be reproduced as ‘screenshots’ or ‘scans’ and an online version of all our of our publications is available only via ISSUU, using the following link:


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Favour Jonathan a multidisciplinary artist inspired by the traditional art of the Bini People of Edo State, Nigeria which is her birth place. She uses her beliefs, cultural knowledge, and traditional values in her work as a way of articulating in the contemporary world as well as her own values and ideas of resilience, strength, and power. Favour recently Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Arts with a BA in Fine Art and is currently working as a content developer for Shades of Noir which is an organisation that champions social justice pedagogy and develops practices which

centre the voices of the marginalised in the arts, culture and higher education for equality, cultural capital and the acknowledgement of those who came before within UAL. Third Culture Kids are children who have grown up having to move from one country to another forming connections with the individual countries but not fully identifying one place as their home or where they came from. Favour created this cover for the TOR layering images of passport stamps underneath the map of the earth in order to show movement across the globe and the colour green of earth to show signs of life.

Public Statement in the Context of the Black Lives Matter Movement and COVID-19. This journal was published during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Shades of Noir (SoN) stands with the global Black Lives Matter movement (including Black Lives Matter UK) to continue to do the ‘work’ to end systemic racist practices, systems, behaviours and ‘fight for freedom, liberation and justice’ for Black people, inclusive of the QTIBIPOC and all intersectional communities globally. The filmed execution of George Floyd on 29 May 2020 and those before and after all around the world, shared on social media are unacceptable acts of violence and cannot be left unanswered. The blatant inequality of the lives of Black people comes as no surprise. This is not a new situation although we recognise the current impacts rippling around the world. As demonstrations take place across the globe, building on the 2014/15 mobilisation of the movement, it reminds us of the many powerful and painful acts of resistance black people(s) have demonstrated as we continue to live, be educated and work in systems which reinforce the intersections of oppression. Despite the huge amount of pain and distrust from the black community, however, there is strength and safety in numbers. We recognise, however, that this is not a time of celebration, as we too manage our pain, fears and anxieties. There is no doubt that we, as a global community, have been severely affected in the pandemic of racial inequality, experiencing continued and/or exacerbated trauma and the huge loss of life resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and looming economic crisis. We recognise the complicity and inherent failure of institutions, organisations and individuals in acknowledging their colonial legacy and overt bias against Black people(s) who similarly remain disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic as ‘key workers’. We too call for an enquiry into British BAME Covid-19 death rate following the news that minority groups were over-represented by as much as 27% in the overall COVID-19 death toll, and that, 63% of the first 106 health and social care staff known to have died from the virus were of black or Asian descent (Health Service Journal, 2020). This points to a growing racial sentiment as Black key workers continue to be abused and devalued whilst working on the frontline. For too long, the emotional labour of black people(s) has been unduly expected and unfairly compensated in order to eliminate racism while ‘educating’ white people in the behaviours they themselves perpetuate.

It’s not enough to be simply not racist. We need to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is an active word which means building policy and building a practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. We must build collective understanding and improve practice in anti-racism through forging intersectional social justice (pedagogy). We must recognise the need for intergenerational discussion, criticism, a space to practice safely self-care and to articulate self-determination in order to liberate ourselves from the struggles of oppressive structures, both in education and society. We must build purposeful, broad-reaching and multifaceted interventions through the acknowledgement of what came before in the transformation and the evolution of institutional culture(s) across sectors. We will continue to support all individuals impacted by the ongoing pandemic and endeavour to mobilise as a community, building upon the work of our predecessors. We welcome contributors to promote coalition and express ‘non-optical’ allyship in supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement and ‘key workers’. Thank you to the Black Lives Matter, Black key workers, families and friends for your strength, honesty and continued commitment to ‘work’ through where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going. United we stand. We Salute You! Copyright (c) Shades of Noir: The Centre for Race & Practice Based Social Justice 2020, all rights reserved.

Press Release. Re: Shades of Noir: The Knowledge Exchange Centre For Race And Practice Based Social Justice. We are excited to announce that Shades of Noir is now formally part of University of the Arts London, as ‘The Knowledge Exchange Centre for Race and Practice Based Social Justice’. Simon Ofield-Kerr, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Mark Crawley Dean of students have worked with Aisha Richards, Shades of Noir founder, in this endeavour. Okfield-Kerr states: ‘This has been an important endeavour and we are very pleased that Shades of Noir has a sustainable place with UAL. The work of Shades of Noir is rooted in UALs history although it is far reaching... Shades of Noir was created by Aisha Richards in 2009. Richards has a unique relationship with the university in that, this is where she studied, taught and practiced for over 2 decades while she spearheaded significant programmes of work such as the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit, the Teaching Within programme and many publications to name but a few. Richards has been appointed as the Director for the Centre for Race & Practice Based Social Justice and Professor of, reporting directly to the Deputy Vice Chancellor and joining the Academic Development Services senior leadership team. Richards states: ‘There is nothing quite like Shades of Noir and this centre will build on this legacy. This is a pivotal moment for both Shades of Noir and the university as the BlackLivesMatter and BlackLivesMatterUK campaigns continue to call for change globally. I am very proud and excited that we are able to build our work further for a better future with this institution. I can assure students, staff and the wider communities that we serve, that we will continue to deliver work with purpose, including being a critical friend. This new and evolving relationship with UAL affirms that there will always be a place for the development of social justice as an academic and creative practice and that our herstories/histories of commitment and approaches towards liberation, through education will continue. We are now, as the university’s first Knowledge Exchange Centre building with this institution. We can now demonstrate even further how we practice intersectional antiracism towards social justice internally and with our many external partners’. As part of the first phase of embedding Shades of Noirs (SoN) antiracism work across UAL, SoNs acclaimed training programmes delivered across the country, will be utilised for our university wide compulsory anti racism training for all UAL staff. This will begin at the end of October with a pilot phase delivered to a range of stakeholders, with the hope for bookable sessions for all staff at the end of November.

Approximately 5000 staff in all roles and departments, including the Governing Board, will receive this day of training across a 2 year period. Naina Patel, Director of HR and Race Champion at UAL who commissioned this work states: ‘It makes sense to utilise Shades of Noirs decade of experience and expertise in this area. I see the training as part of a bigger project and an important step in building and investing in our staffing communities and demonstrate my new appointment as Race Champion as one that is collaborative and recognises our in house specialists and our value of this…’ The training programme is expected to take 2 years to deliver to 5000 staff, with several sessions per week available, during term time only and presented online to accommodate all staff. This provision has additional activities surrounding the university continued commitment to build individual and collective anti-racist competences and capacities. This includes the following work areas: • • • • • • •

Academic Enhancement Model Academic Development Fund Equality & Diversity Unit Group for the Equality of Minority staff (GEMS) Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit Institute for Decolonial Arts TrAIN

For more information please refer to the Shades of Noir ‘Myth Buster’, website or contact us directly on We Salute You! Copyright (c) Shades of Noir: The Centre for Race & Practice Based Social Justice 2020, All Rights Reserved.

Content Disclaimer.

Please note that some of the content within our publications, including the Key Term sections are considered highly offensive to People of Colour (PoC) but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking with the aim of transformation.

Language/ Terminology.

Please note that some of the content within our publications, including the Key Term sections, are considered highly offensive to People of Colour (PoC) but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking with the aim of transformation. Additionally, the terminology and use of language from the collaborators within this publication belong solely to those of each article’s author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Shades of Noir. As such, any discrepancies found herein related to Key Terms and Micro Key Terms are not legally binding or enforceable and are open to interpretation and, in many cases, can be contested.

Special Thanks.

Shades of Noir would like to extend a special thank to the ToR Support Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark and Angie Illman as well as Editors Melodie Holliday and Aisha Richards for their contributions to this Terms of Reference Journal.

Mission Statement.

Shades of Noir undertake practice-based social justice within the creative sector context in partnership with international educational and cultural institutions, as well as creative practitioners and a broad spectrum of organisations. Our aim is to evolve behaviour, practice and cultural value to support a variety of audiences through a broad range of discursive and proactive interventions. We seek to engage and support individuals who make up the sectors through a combination of activities, commissions and resources. We centre the histories, voices and experiences of marginalised communities as a catalyst for transformation of people, processes and policies. This is all in support of our mission to: • Centre the voices, experience and perspectives of marginalised communities to evolve thinking • Create platforms to engage with intersectional experience, understanding and perspectives • Support knowledge exchange within a social justice pedagogical context • Transform behaviours through proactive interventions within a creative educational cannon. • Build social justice communities of change-makers across sectors and countries.

WITH THANKS TO. Contributors: Shades of Noir Team Phase 4 & 5 Peer Reviewers:

Hilary Wan

Shane Sutherland

Dr. Aiysha Jahan

Hope Cunningham

Shannyce Adamson

Ruth E. Van Reken

Iga Sokolowska

Shireen Taweel

Kana Higashino

Solonia Teodros Teja Arboleda

Akshay Bhoan

Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa

Amy Jung

Line Sidonie Talla Mafotsing

Anastasia Goana

Montaz Marche

Angie Illman

Melodie Holliday

Anonymous Contributors

Naima Sutton

Bess Frimodig

Nour Malas


Oz Katerji

Christelle Kamanan

Philip Andersson

Corrina Eastwood

Prof. Usha Natarajan

Danau Tanu

Prof. Ibrahim Awad

Dr. Kwame Baah

Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark

Dr Anisha Abraham

Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan

Favour Jonathan

Samia Malik

Gayle Chong Kwan

Shahzia Sikander

Aisha Richards



The Cairo Reviewer Valerie Wong Valerie Yuwen Hsieh Willow Bascom Yasmine Nasser Diaz Yifan He Yusef Abul Jaleel (Jerrard Scott Joseph) Cover design by Favour Jonathan Design by Safiya Ahmed





A Note From The Leads


Key Questions

22. 27.

Key Terms

Key Data

Peer Review


Topic Breakdown


Expanding The Conversation

Further Resources

154. 340.

TRIGGER WARNING Please note that some of the content within our publications, including the Key Term sections are considered highly offensive to People of Colour (PoC) but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking with the aim of transformation. This includes, but is not limited to, graphic visualisations, explicit descriptions and an extensive discussion of racial abuse, offensive language or the detailing of behaviours of assault, abuse, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia and misogynoir directly related to the experiences of marginalised communities.


“TCKs’ roots, on the other hand, are determined by people, not place. While people often come, they never really go, remaining forever a part of a TCK.” Eakin, 1998. Brought up in another culture or several cultures, TCK’s feel ownership in none. ‘Third Culture Kids’ is a term coined by American Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem in the 1950’s that is often used to define - with a focus on the child’s pre-adolescence maturation - in which are introduced/located within more than three cultures. As such, this definition is often used to classify the following developmental traits in the following upbringings which include (but are not limited to) children from military, missionary, diplomatic and business backgrounds in which they all share a common trait of having spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than [his/her/their] own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture’ (Eakin, 1998). Consequently, Third Culture Kids frequently build relationships with all the host cultures they come into contact with, while not having full ownership in any (Pollock, 2017). Throughout history, the migration of different populations has been tied closely with exchange of cultures - such as the writing of ‘Marco Polo’ which is considered to be one of the oldest examples of a TCK diary. Long before the development of international trade, all people travelled across the globe in search of a better quality of life as immigrants, creating new diasporic cultures around the world; but what for the modern day ‘Global Nomad’? (McCaig, 1984) “Where are you from?” is no longer a simple one worded answer. It is often followed by a city or the name of a country. Where do they belong? There is widely felt to be very clear distinctions in the pros and cons of TCK culture: Often TCK’s are believed to have a more expanded (three-dimensional) worldview and significantly higher levels of adjustment and tolerance to different cultures and people than any group of individuals in the world. With this expansion and contact with many cultures on a micro-social level, they are able to simultaneously occupy provide vivid realities of multiculturalism - which include multiple languages, learning experiences and native speaking traditions - not often felt by others. Being exposed to various languages, learning experiences and speaking traditions including native language - undoubtedly has a positive impact upon the TCK as a result of increase in mobility during childhood. On the other hand, TKC cultures comes with it a painful awareness of the difficulty adjusting to cultures where the one culture dominates. Elaborating further on this awareness, a TCK often forgo long periods of confused loyalties towards an embodied sense of nationality, politics, and culture that in some cases leads to long-term ‘identity crisis’.


With this in mind then, how problematic - in comparison to other acronyms such as People of Colour (POC), Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), Black and Minority Ethnicity (BME) or Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) - is the abbreviation ‘TCK’ in the definition of the identity-confusion of a group of individuals? But, just how big Is the TCK population? According to ‘World Expat Population Statistics’ (as of August 2013) - the term ‘Expats’ in this case is not considered to be synonymous with the TCK’s definition because, among other reasons, it is not only the children of expats who spent their developmental years with globally mobile lifestyles - as of 2013, there are 230 million expats compared to 73 million in 1960, making up 3.1% of the global population. In regards to geographic specificity of the community the top 5 countries with the highest share of expats in their total population are believed to be Qatar, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore. Similarly, according to a 2011 online survey by Denizen - a publication targeting TCKs - found most of the 200 participants made their first move before the age of nine and had lived in an average of four countries, with most TCk’s obtaining degrees — 30% had a postgraduate qualification — and 85% competent in two or more languages. This is an important topic to discuss based on the current political and social environment and in the conversation of social mobility, migration and immigration, because we live in as the world grows ever-increasingly interconnected. One world, one heart or global village. Topics for this ToR may include, but are not limited to: • Identity crisis • • • • • • • •

International and Transnational Experiences Political climate Behavioural Development Influence of / Exposure to Subculture(s) within developmental years Abandonment Statistics and politics of immigrants and diaspora Repatriation Reverse Cultural Shock

• • • • • • • • • •

Third-Wave Immigrant Children’ Parental figure and Influence Cultural Ownership Nationality Native and local experiences Globalisation and Americanisation (Social) Geographic Mobility Mass academic mobility Operating Beyond borders Language Barriers

Do we need a new definition for TCK? If the last definition was created in 1958, then how do we find one and create a new one which resonates with the expansion of migrant narratives hereafter.




Re-defining the global nomadic pre-adolescent, by focusing on the nuances in their transit and destination. Cross-border movement is unavoidable for a Third Culture Kid. Making such a movement, therefore, becomes an essential part of how you adopt three or more cultures. In the preadolescent period of their childhood, a Third Culture Kid participates in both voluntarily or involuntarily acts of travel, transcending beyond traditional cultural borders, ultimately adopting traits from these various subcultures in which they inhabit for periods of time. Currently, the definition of TCK movement is: ‘TCKs’ roots, on the other hand, are determined by people, not place. While people often come, they never really go, remaining forever a part of a TCK’ (Eakin, 1998). It has become clear throughout the process of communicating with TCK’s that a reworking of the original definition is needed to reflect the diversity in reality and categorisation of the Third Culture Kids of today. The direction of this publication is evolving into an active anthology of identities who host another ‘third culture’ as part of their everyday reality. This journal, as a result, emerges as an active resource which is layered with conversations surrounding identity crisis, academic exile, statelessness and international nomadism, testimonies aspects of assimilation, tolerance and repatriation, as well as in the presentation of the benefits and dislocated cultural marginality of being a Third Culture Kid. The assemblage of narratives in this journal are sensitive to change and permeate into zones of conflict.


As ToR lead, I would like to pose the following questions: 1.

How can we specify even further and resist the overarching designation of ‘ethnicminority’ groups?

2. How different is this terminology to the multitude of perspectives from Third-Wave Immigrant Children? 3. What can you (the reader) do to critique your assumptions and bias’ about Third Culture Kids? This discussion is inescapably situated in the current destructive political climate, making this an essential conversation to have. Third Culture Kids meander throughout numerous continents and come into contact with the adjacent political shifts - such as the recent collapse of the social experiment which is the EU, War currently taking place all over the Middle East, and continuing violent perspectives on the intersections of race and religion – only to name a few. The only possible method of knowing a Third Culture Kid is through dialogue. Having a third culture is not a visible attribute, but a transnational narrative. Hence, my positionality within this publication I believe is to facilitate diverse approaches in an area which is increasingly veneering into Higher Education (HE). The intersectionality of TCK’s play a very important role in this discussion as no TCK has the same route of navigation, personal characteristics or class synthesis. It is important to remember throughout this Journal that a TCK has various specific bonds of intersections and this is not just limited to cross-border movement and speaking many languages. The impermanence of being a TCK within a country which isn’t home resonates with the same intensity as the temporality of being a student in HE in an institution that you may not come back to. This is a discussion that aims to transmit reflections of institutional turbulence that will affect us all in some way, even if we are not Third Culture Kids ourselves. Salute! Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan. History Project Researcher.



1. What do you feel would be an appropriate definition for the TCK description? 2. How problematic is the abbreviation ‘TCK’ in the definition of the identityconfusion of a group of individuals? 3. How are we as a society to overcome issues related to a TCK upbringing, such as ‘identity crisis’? 4. What would you define as the mechanism of TCK and how does it work? 5. What are the mechanisms of ‘Cultural Ownership’ and how does it work? 6. What are the pros and cons of (Social) geographic mobility in operating beyond borders? 7. In growing interdependence, how do we define the ‘global village’ 8. As we are seeing increasing social mobility, migration and immigration? 9. What are the strengths of the TCK population? 10. How does discourse explore the ‘embodied sense of nationality, politics, and culture’ in a TCK upbringing? 11. Tied closely with ‘migration’, ‘immigration’ and the exchange of knowledge within/between cultures, how can we begin to define the modern global nomad?


MICRO KEY TERMS. Please note that whiteness is centred with aggregated racial/ethnic signifiers and acronyms as default; therefore, one must illustrate their proximity ‘or degree of’ non-whiteness.

Acculturation Process Acculturation is a process in which an individual adopts, acquires and adjusts to a new cultural environment as a result of extended contact between differing cultures. According to John Berry’s (1994; 2001) model, the Acculturation process has four differing strategies: Integration, Assimilation, Separation, and Marginalisation.

Cross-Cultural Kid A Cross-Cultural Kid is a person who has lived in or meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during their first 18 years. TCKs are a sub-group of this overarching definition of people who live cross-cultural lives. Other subgroups include children of bi-racial or bi-national parents, children of immigrants and refugees, children who cross cultures daily to attend schools of another culture and even children of minorities.


ATCK or Adult Third Culture Kid ATCK or ‘Adult TCKs’ or ‘Adult Third Culture Kids’ are TCK’s who are now adults. It is commonly reported that many suffer difficulties with adjusting to adult life and challenges in developing an identity as well as with a sense of belonging. Feelings of rootlessness and restlessness can make the transition to adulthood a challenging period for TCKs.

Cultural Chameleon The term ‘culture chameleon’ characterises an individual who blends in and can integrate well with other cultures, and has adaptive skills to thrive in cross-cultural situations. The term is being increasingly used to describe TCK’s due to their highmobility status in which they learn to thrive in new cultures.

Cultural Jet-Lag


Coined by Marc Perraud during his research into cross-cultural psychology as the phenomenon of partial socialisation in adults born from bi-cultural/national unions and whose childhood was characterised by nomadic displacement during key personality developmental stages. Cultural jet lag refers to the feeling of disconnect that Third Culture Kids (TCKs) experience in relation to any culture, including the ones from which they stem. This disconnect, also present in adult third culture kids (ATCKs), applies to all the cultures to which they are/ were exposed, whether it be their parents’ cultures or those to which they were exposed during their upbringing through international travel.

Feelers are people who make decisions in a somewhat global, visceral, harmonious and value-oriented way, paying particular attention to the impact of decisions and actions on other people. Feelers prefer the more subjective, values-based reasoning.

Home or ‘Passport’ Culture The term ‘Passport Culture’ is often used synonymously with ‘home culture’ and is a signifier for the country stamped on the person’s passport regardless of how much time they have spent in another country/ culture. Ruth Hill-Useem referred to the ‘first culture’ as that being the passport or home culture.

Global or ‘World’ Citizen (Cosmopolitanism)’ Also known as ‘International Nomadism’ Global Citizenship is the idea that an individual’s identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: ‘humanity’. This does not mean that individuals who define themselves as global Citizens renounce their nationality or other, more local identities, but that such identities are made ‘second place’ to their membership in a global community. It recognises a way of living that recognises our world is an increasingly complex web of connections and interdependencies. One in which our choices and actions may have repercussions for people and communities locally, nationally or internationally.


Hidden Immigrant

Marginality (Cultural)

When a person looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture but thinks and acts differently from it. This can be a very uncomfortable situation because when a person looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture, there are certain assumptions and expectations that are placed on him or her. Even a student from another country who looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture will be placed in this category and does not have the usual grace that would be extended to a foreigner who makes a cultural mistake.

Cultural marginality is defined as ‘situations and feelings of passive betweenness, when people exist between two different cultures and do not yet perceive themselves as centrally belonging to either one’ in the context of immigrant adolescents’ experiences. Marginal living is viewed as a process of being in between two cultures with emphasis on being in transition rather than being on the periphery of one culture. Across-culture conflict recognition is a beginning understanding of differences between two contradicting cultural values, customs, behaviors, and norms. Easing cultural tension resolves across-culture conflict. The factors influencing the process of across-culture conflict recognition, marginal living, and easing cultural tensions are described as contextual/personal influences.

Marginality (Encapsulated) Janet Bennett conceptualised the term cultural marginality as encompassing two outcomes: encapsulated marginality and constructive marginality (Bennett 1993). Encapsulated marginality, according to Bennett’s framework, is indicative of loneliness, alienation, self-segregation, and internal distress. She identifies ‘the degree of similarity between internalised cultures as a factor in the intensity of disintegration for the encapsulated marginal’ (ibid. p.114).


Marginality (Constructive) The second type of marginality, according to Bennett, is a person who takes an active role in consciously constructing his or her identity (Bennett 1993). This type of individual, termed the constructive marginal, is said to move or shift effortlessly between cultural identities and create an ‘integrated multicultural existence’ (McCaig 2000: 13).

PTCK or ‘Parents of TCKs’

Reverse Cultural Shock

PTCKs who have not themselves been TCKs face a formidable task. But while PTCKs who have themselves been TCKs have memories and may have greater insights, they sometimes block out the difficulties they experienced. As a result, they are not always as adept in helping their TCK children as one might expect.

The emotional and psychological distress suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.

Rootlessness (Cultural) The term rootlessness characterises the condition of ‘having no roots’, or ‘having no basis of (cultural) stability, resulting from geographic economic and social change that is felt by some to be at the core of the Third Culture Kid experience in the loss of their ethno-cultural root/ identity (a psychological and socio-cultural caricature).

Second Culture Refers to the culture in which the family currently resides that differs from the home or ‘passport’ culture of individuals living highmobility lifestyles. Second culture acquisition, is often felt to be an integral aspect of the acculturation process, and characterises the adjustment of the immigrant to the dominant culture they now reside in.

Transnational Migrants Transition Cycle Five very predictable stages of any life transition. David Pollock’s model of the transition cycle includes the (1) Involvement stage, (2) Leaving stage, (3) Transition stage, (4) Entering stage and (5) Reinvolvement stage.

Defined as ‘process of movement and settlement across international borders in which individuals build multiple networks of connection to their country of origin while settling in a new country’ (Fouron & GlickSchiller, 2001, p. 60). Transnational migrants work, pray, and express their political interests in several contexts rather than in a single nation-state. These allegiances are not antithetical to one another.


TCK Identity Development

Third Culture

The process TCKs go through in the search for congruence in the sense of who they are. Dr. Barbara Schaetti developed a TCK identity development model (adapted in part from William E. Cross Jr.’s seminal research on identity development) and defines the term ‘identity’ as ‘simply the sense of who each of us is’. Dr. Schaetti’s model describes five stages the TCK goes through in their search for congruence in the sense of who they are: (1) Preencounter, (2) Encounter, (3) Exploration, (4) Integration, and (5) Recycling.

The community of people who share the experience of living outside their passport cultures and are in the process of relating to another culture. Another way of expressing it is the expatriate culture. and although not widely agreed upon by the TCK community, some sources refer to the third culture as the amalgamation of these two to create a third ‘unique’ culture

Transnational Citizenship Transnational Activists On occasion, some transnational migrants can, and in some cases are, more focused on their countries of origin while at others they are more involved in their countries of reception. Similarly, they climb two different social ladders, moving up, remaining steady, or experiencing downward mobility, in various combinations, with respect to both sites. Together, they can transform the economy, culture, and everyday life of whole source-country regions. They challenge notions about gender relations, democracy, and what states should and should not do.


In terms of the categories of social and individual forms of belonging, transnational Citizens are marked by multiple identities and allegiances, and often travel between two or more countries, all in which they have created sizable networks of differing functions. Similar to global or cosmopolitan Citizenship, it is composed of crossnational and multi-layered memberships to certain societies. Transnational Citizenship is based on the idea that a new global framework consistent of sub-groups of national identities will eventually replace membership to one sole nation-state.


Source: Description: A diagram showing the ‘expat’ world population. Did you know that there are 230 million expats around the world. To put this into context, if this were a real country, it would be the third-largest (imaginary) country in the entire world. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 25

Source: Description: A diagram showing Modern TCK cultures. Did you know that on average, one in every several people are likely to be dating a TCK. Over 85% of TCK speak two or more languages, with 47% speaking 3 or more. One in ever four TCK are married, and 60% of people would raise their children as TCK’s. Furthermore, in TCK families, 21% have parents from different countries and 4.6% average their first ‘move’ at the age of 5. Finally, spanning the whole world, 12% have resided in South America and Australia, 20% in Africa, 57% in Europe, 74% in Asia and 81% in North America. 26 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Source: Description: A diagram showing the top three reasons for relocating to Saudi Arabia. 23% of people cite ‘financial reasons’, 25% reasons relating to job prospects in a new country and finally, 10% say that they were scouted by a local community. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 27

DIVERSITY QUESTION. Many individuals and institutions are now tasked with responding to different forms of diversity questions, which take into consideration some of the following elements: • • • • • • • • •

Student awarding gap Student experience differentials Whitewashed curriculums Inclusive pedagogy History/history erasure Staff recruitment Staff progression Staff development Staff experience

Student experience differentials

In response to the above elements many individuals, departments, institutions and organisations contact Shades of Noir to advise, train and support. As such we have developed a series of questions that should help respond transparently, develop a better understanding and build strategies and policies responding to specific contexts for impactful and purposeful changes towards social justice environments.

Who are the voices that you record, why and what happens with the voices and the people behind them? What processes are in place to anonymously record student experiences? How do you level the playing field for marginal communities of students? What are your processes with complaints and do complaints data reflect attainment data? How do you engage with and or embed departments that specialise in supporting vulnerable and or marginalised students? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?


Student Awarding gap

How do you collect this information? Have you disaggregated data by all protected characteristics? Have you collected intersectional data? Have you spoken to students and student union? Have you gained qualitative and quantitative data? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?

Student attainment differentials

How do you collect this information? Have you disaggregated data by all protected characteristics? Have you collected intersectional data? Have you spoken to students and student union? Have you gained qualitative and quantitative data? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?

Herstoy/history erasure

How and where is colonisation represented in the curriculum? What narratives and cannons are valued more? Where do you access history/herstory from? What archives do you use and or engage with? How do you check that your information is accurate, critical and international? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?


Whitewashed curriculums

Who are the authors of the publications that you promote and include within your resource lists? Do your resources include contributions from communities of intersectional protected characteristics? Where do you see social justice embedded in the curriculum? How do you manage misappropriation in the curriculum? How do critical intersectional race theories present themselves in the curriculum? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?

Inclusive pedagogy

What is the data of the representation of intersectional protected characteristics within your team? Have you or your team actively engaged with contributions from communities of intersectional protected characteristics? How do you embed social justice teaching? Where does critical intersectional race theories present itself in your teaching approach? What actions do you take to ensure a supportive environment? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?


Staff recruitment

What is the current and previous 3 to 5 years of data of your intersectional staff data? Where do you share your data? What strategies and or policies do you employ to reduce discrimination and both unconscious and conscious bias? Where do you advertise vacancies to reach the full spectrum of society? What do you articulate and how do you deliver fair recruitment practices? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?

Staff development

Do you collect data on staff development? Have you identified departments, communities and or individuals that either do or do not engage or are unable to access development? Do you have mandatory training for all staff to affirm the ethos of the institution? What are the staff development programmes that counter bullying, harassment and or discrimination? Do you have a clear and transparent process articulating how staff development contributes to staff career progression? Are staff with intersectional protected characteristics leading this work and are they remunerated for this?






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Shades of Noir is an independent programme that supports curriculum design, accessible knowledge, and pedagogies of social justice through representation. For nearly a decade, the programme has reached huge success through research, media, and events through its diverse team of staff and students. However, back in 2009, it was yet a vision. Shades of Noir was founded by Aisha Richards in 2009. It was informed by Richards’s “Any Room at the Inn”, a scoping study that looked into the transitions of art and design graduates from higher education into

the creative industries, particularly graduates of colour However, she noticed that students of colour were increasing across higher education but she had not seen the same developments in the industry. She found it concerning - Where did they go? She interviewed 19 graduates from UAL and found that a majority of these graduates were getting jobs. However, they were concerned about the progression and the glass ceilings for people of colour across the sector as there were very few accessible examples.


Richards concluded that the root of exclusion and inequality within higher education and the creative industry was affected by raced and gendered identities, when at the time, it was mistaken as solely a socio-economic issue. Though her claims were supported by data, her conclusion brought a lot of resistance and hostility. In response, she drafted a proposal for an exhibition that responded to some of her findings. She created Shades of Noir, initially an exhibition featuring artists of colour. Unfortunately, with a lack of financial support, the exhibition wasn’t realised. Rather than just an exhibition, Richards decided that it was going to be a platform. It started with multiple events and panels, featuring Artists of Colour as well as causes around social justice and diverse representation. In 2010, UAL agreed to fund the organisation. They also agreed to fund the original exhibition, that was eventually called “Happening to Be…”. Nothing like this had been done before. A large population of non-white attendees at an art event on University grounds made for some interesting and uncomfortable discussions, behaviours and practices. Alongside the exhibition, Shades of Noir continued to organize and curate other events with diverse panels. Richards believed that not only do people of colour need to be heard, they have to have their cultural capital reflected in every aspect of their educational experience for social justice to take place. So what does this mean for Shades of Noir and what will it be?


Richards decided that it would be a social justice platform that both shared and created content to support and inform. It has become a platform that encouraged discussion, criticism and a place for research that informs the full circle of art, design, communications, higher education and so much more… Alongside exhibitions and panel discussions, Shades has published magazines and has successfully generated a significant online presence. Most importantly, Shades focuses all its efforts on developing and supporting students at its core, with a constant ambition to do more and be impactful through collaboration. With nearly a decade of delivery, the Shades of Noir team has grown and continues to grow in quantity and diversity, with many of the students being part of the change they want to see, as well as building on those that came before. However, our values remain the same Everything we do is for students, in the hope that generations to come will not have to face the same injustices that others before them had experienced and that these students continue to make a change.

Watch here: watch?v=V8owW9vvom4&



SHADES OF NOIR’S STREAMS OF WORK. Shades of Noir’s ‘Streams of Work’ are broad-reaching and multifaceted, supporting the purposeful transformation of people, policy and process. As a community, we centre the voices and lived experiences of students and staff of colour within the focus of social justice. We offer accessible knowledge and visible testimonies that we hope will further inform the evolutions of cultures and practices across the sector (and beyond). For over a decade, the programme has reached huge success thanks to our intersectional team of award-winning staff and students. This allows us to shape our proactive interventions to be purposeful, relevant and effective. As creatives, we take an inherently intersectional and holistic approach, aligning everything that we deliver within the framework of policy, people and process. The following diagram contextualises some of our endeavours. Each line represents the intersection between activities and collective responsibilities, which support meaningful change towards anti-racism as a practice that requires neverending work.





Dr Aiysha Jahan is a TCK who grew up in Dubai and has lived and worked around the world. She enjoys travelling most of all and writes fiction and essays that explore identity and belonging. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and juggles writing, teaching Creative Writing at universities in the south of England and working as a writer in the community with ArtfulScribe to help develop young writers in her local area. She has been published in Bengal Lights, Critical Muslim, Scoundrel Time and elsewhere. She is currently still editing (sigh!) her collection of short stories that explores the Dubai TCK experience and hopes to have it out in the world soon. It’s April 2020 and the world has grown still. Although this opening line may seem bettersuited to a dystopian novel than an academic review, writing it feels apt in a text about individuals who are defined by their mobility. As I organise my thoughts for this review, the UK is in the fourth week of its COVID-19 restrictions. Since I began working exclusively from my computer at home, news websites have become more like desktop wallpaper, updating regularly with corona-virus themed stories. Although this grim slideshow of pandemic news from around the world has served as a bleak backdrop to my time spent pursuing this issue, I am struck by just how


important it is to have evolving and nuanced conversations about the Third Culture Kid (TCK) experience in light of global changes – and challenges. The need to give ‘TCKs’ or Third Culture Kids a name stems from globalisation. The TCK experience is inexorably linked to the increased connections between cultures and places, and the lives lived while creating and learning a culture that forms at the meeting and sharing points between people from different backgrounds. From the Useems’ early observations of expatriate Americans in India in the 1950s, to Pollock and Van Reken’s seminal text on TCKs that has generated ‘countless ‘a-ha!’ moments’, to this Terms of Reference (ToR) – an insightful discussion about personal experiences in a highly-mobile world – the conversations have been evolving. Currently, falling oil prices and COVID-19 threaten to change labour markets in regions where expatriates make up a large percentage of the population. Many children growing up in these uncertain times or Adult TCKs (ATCKs) living abroad will have to contend with the possibility of repatriation to ‘passport cultures’, or these individuals may have to consider more closely what it means to ‘shelter-in-place’ or stay at home in a country that is not the one on their passport.





Hence, conversations within this publication are essential if we are to keep pace with the experience and for the term itself to remain relevant. This issue offers a smorgasbord of voices; each story highlighting the paradoxical nature of the cross-cultural lifestyle, with every benefit presenting a corresponding challenge. Discussions of identity and belonging are at the core of conversations about growing up between worlds in a dynamic ‘interstitial’ culture. While living in a culture between cultures enriches children by imparting an expanded three-dimensional view of the world, it also gives rise to confusion about identity and where their loyalties should lie. The artist Shireen Taweel describes feeling a sense of rootlessness growing up in Sydney. Taweel found herself working with copper as a way to connect with her Lebanese heritage, embracing what she describes as the ‘between and the sense of transience’ in her cross-cultural journey. Yasmine Diaz, the daughter of Yemeni immigrants in Chicago, also uses her art to explore her identity, telling ‘personal stories that juxtapose the opposing cultures’ of her childhood. As daughters of immigrants, Taweel and Diaz are not what Pollock and Van Reken describe as ‘traditional TCKs’, but these women highlight the need, as Van Reken puts it, to ‘enlarge our language’ in order to make room for more cross-cultural childhoods, using the term Cross Culture Kid (CCK) to include refugee children, bi/ multicultural children and others. A cross-cultural childhood can result in a struggle to both define yourself and to find your place in a mobile world. Christelle Kamanan describes herself as a ‘black cultural chameleon’. In her essay exploring her cultural journey, growing up in Europe the daughter of Ivorians, she questions whether

it is possible to feel a sense of belonging in a culture that ‘denies another part of [her] identity’. This question of home and being able to identify where you belong looms large in a TCK’s thoughts, particularly as they can feel culturally marginal in what is considered their passport country. Triebel discusses Marc Augé’s concept of non-place, stating that while the passport country a TCK comes from and the one in which they live can be ‘anthropological places’ for many, providing them ‘with a stable and continuous identity and community’, these very places can be considered as ‘non-places’ for TCKs, as their lives are marked by transience. Hence, although asking a person where they are from may seem like a fairly benign question that is often used to make casual conversation, it can, in fact, be quite intrusive for TCKs. Kamanan says that in trying to handle such a question, she has found it easier to ‘separate cultures’ and hide ‘one or the other depending on context’ instead of providing justifications. The cultural marginality that a cross-cultural individual can feel can be given two dimensions: an encapsulated form, which describes individuals who are at home nowhere because they feel different; and a constructive form, which describes someone who utilises their differences to feel at home anywhere – ‘cultural chameleons’ who can adapt to any surroundings. After her difficult early years as a Swedish child in Norway, Bess Frimodig has lived in seven countries and describes herself as an ‘artist nomad’. She uses the working title ‘Life à la carte’ for her piece to share the idea that purpose could replace place and that a state of limbo can be isolating and liberating in equal measure. Naima Sutton’s conversation with her siblings also reveals something about the impermanence of place in a highly-mobile TCK’s life. Her brother Adam says: ‘moving teaches you not to get attached and…to value THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 41

the things you have more’. Sutton herself highlights that although it is hard to ‘feel like the book isn’t finished yet’, change is inevitable and a TCK is better prepared to weather it. Within this dynamic TCK landscape, a feeling of being at home is sometimes not easily attached to a geographical location on a map; often ‘the sense of belonging is in relationship[s] to others of similar background’. Yuwen Hsieh shares this idea in her article, writing about how a sense of community is created in the most unlikely place as ‘everyone lacks a sense of belonging’. Each TCK experience is distinct as it is influenced by factors such as nationality, age at expatriation, parents’ employment, host culture/s and the number of years spent abroad; however, TCKs – or Global Nomads (GN), as Norma McCaig, describes them – often feel a connection to others who have lived among cultures, even if they have grown up thousands of miles apart. Schaetti and Ramsey believe that ‘change, relationships, world view, and cultural identity’ are four themes that are common to all TCKs. While TCKs can feel a kinship with others like themselves, they may struggle to identify with those from their passport culture. A lack of familiarity with the passport culture can hinder adjustment if the TCK is repatriated, with many feeling like outsiders in their home countries. On the surface, this move may seem no different to any other a TCK has made; however, this is not the case. While it is logical to think that an individual needs time and help to acclimatise to a new place, even the vocabulary used to describe the process of going to a person’s passport country – reentry, reacculturation, repatriation – seems to indicate that they are returning to where they belong. This can be problematic as while such individuals are likely to look like they fit in, they are often quite unfamiliar with the customs and everyday workings of life in 42 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

their passport countries. This leads to culture shock which is harder for fellow members of the place to understand. Returnees are likely to think and behave in a ‘manner that is foreign to their home country’, which makes it harder for them to be accepted by their local peers. Hope Cunningham writes about returning home after a year in Curaçao to find that her friends had moved on and she could no longer fit back into her old life. Although it was only a year, she describes it as the year that ‘washed away [her] sense of identity and instilled in [her] a sense of perpetual unbelonging’. Willow Bascom’s feelings of reverse culture shock were acute when she returned to the US to study. She felt different in so many ways to her local peers, and she also felt unable to share her TCK experiences with them as ‘they seemed fabricated to folks who’d lived within the same cultural space all their lives’. Valerie Wong puts her desire not to return ‘home’ especially memorably when she says: ‘If they don’t recognise me at “home,” then where the hell do I belong?” The voices in this TOR represent a range of thoughts on selfhood and belonging in a highly-mobile world. Amongst them, and also in a bid to further these essential conversations, is my own. I share my thoughts and those of four women who grew up in Dubai, UAE, to highlight a CCK experience that cannot be defined using the traditional TCK model. In countries where jus sanguinis (nationality based on parentage) is the primary means of gaining Citizenship and there is no clear path to naturalisation, many long-term residents may find themselves ‘impossible Citizens’.


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While the children of these families are akin to second-generation immigrants, they must grapple with the fear of repatriation to countries that may be little more than a title on a passport. These individuals, who I describe as ‘denizen TCKs’, are part of the evolving conversations that we must have about cross-cultural experience, while also highlighting the impact that politics and policies may have on CCKs around the world. Syrian artist, Nour Malas’, who was also raised in Dubai, explores the extent to which continuity can be achieved between two societies or beings, ‘amalgamating or interrupting each other’. These explorations of ‘dynamism, or failed dynamism’ give physical form to thoughts about the sometimes-volatile space that is created and shared by children who live between cultures. 44 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

This week Guardian online featured a video in which first-, second- and third-generation immigrant ‘key workers’ recite a poem that challenges the narratives around immigration in the UK. With #YouClapForMeNow trending soon afterwards on UK Twitter, the tweets highlighted that conflict often sits at the heart of conversations about global migration. In 1984, Ted Ward predicted that TCKs would be the ‘prototype Citizens of the future’. Both the strength and vulnerability that a TCK gains while negotiating cultures are valuable examples of how to live with empathy in an increasingly challenging world. Particularly now, in the long shadow that the COVID-19 crisis will cast, it is especially relevant to have conversations about crosscultural exchanges and to situate them within the evolving global context.

References: •

Bennett, Janet M., ‘Cultural Marginality: Identity Issues in Intercultural Training’, in Education for the Intercultural Experience, ed. by R. Michael Paige (Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1993), pp. 109-35 Sachini Imbuldeniya, ‘You Clap for Me Now: the coronavirus poem on racism and immigration in Britain – video’, Guardian, 115 April 2020 < video/2020/apr/15/you-clap-for-me-nowthe-coronavirus-poem-on-racism-andimmigration-in-britain-video> [accessed 17 April, 2020] Marsh, Sarah, ‘You Clap Form Me Now: video hails key workers with anti-racist poem’, Guardian, 15 April 2020 <www. you-clap-for-me-now-video-hails-keyworkers-anti-racist-poem-coronavirus> [accessed 17 April 2020]

McCaig, Norma, ‘Understanding Global Nomads’, in Strangers at Home: Essays on the Effects of Living Overseas and Coming “Home” to a Strange Land, ed. by Carolyn D. Smith (New York: Aletheia Publications, 1996), pp. 99-120

Pollock, David C. and Ruth E. Van Reken, Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds, rev. edn (London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2009)

Schaetti, Barbara F. and Sheila J. Ramsey, The Global Nomad Experience: Living in Liminality (Washington D.C. and Crestone: Crestone Institute, 1999) <> [accessed May 2014]

Sellers, Elizabeth D., ‘Exploring the Themes Evolving from the Experiences of Third Culture Kids’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ball State University, 2011)

Smith, Virginia M. Jennison, ‘Third Culture Kids: Transition and Persistence when Repatriating to Attend University’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University, 2011)

Triebel, Christian, ‘Non-Place Kids? Marc Augé’s Non-Place and Third Culture Kids’, in Migration, Diversity and Education: Beyond Third Culture Kids, ed. by Saija Benjamin and Fred Dervin, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 87-101

Useem, John, Ruth H. Useem and John Donoghue, ‘Men in the middle of the third culture: The roles of American and non-Western people in cross-cultural administration’, Human Organisation, 22 (1963), 169-79

Useem, Ruth H. and Richard D. Downie, ‘Third Culture Kids’, in Writing out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids, ed. by Gene H. Bell-Villada and others (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), pp. 18-24

Young, Karen, ‘How COVID-19 will Change GCC Labor Markets’, Al-Monitor, 3 April 2020 < pulse/originals/2020/04/gulf-covid19coronavirus-change-gcc-labor-marketscrisis.html> [accessed April 2020]




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Ruth E. Van Reken is a second generation adult TCK and mother of 3ATCKs. She speaks nationally and internationally on issues related to global family living. She is co-founder of Families in Global Transition. In addition to other writing, Ruth is co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among World (1999).

Shades of Noir (SoN) is tackling an important and much-discussed question in today’s changing world which questions “what does it mean to be a Third Culture Kid, or, perhaps, who is a TCK?”

Now I would like to write from a personal space, not in terms of trying to be some “reviewer”.


Is it the same as before or what, if anything, has changed?

I guess I work best from this space in me. Although I was given an honorary doctorate degree last year for my work in this topic, I am not a true academic. The point has always been for me that I want folks to know they are not alone. I have traveled to over 50 countries giving seminars, meeting with parents, TCKs, other CCKs and watched the change in people’s faces when they discover that they have a name and that they belong somewhere in this world. Sometimes I have had 30 or 40 or more nationalities and people from all the groups SoN have mentioned in the journal in one place and the magic still happens because we are first of all human beings who want to belong, who have feelings, who want to know our lives have significance even in the context of such a large world around us. For me it’s like thirty-five years ago when those from corporate, foreign service, missionary and military communities thought their stories were so different from each other so that they could not share anything in common, but once the common language of TCKs became known and more so accepted; we could all begin to see that 90% of the experiences we share whilst recognising the differences. When we talk of identity, belonging, loss, hope, somehow this story resonates. It is true as we read on p.17 where MumtazHasan writes that “the direction of this publication is evolving into an active anthology of identities who host another ‘third culture’ as part of their everyday reality”. At the same time, I have become increasingly aware that all the work I have done to date is only a beginning. The story is so large, so big, so wonderful, but often seems divided into pieces. If the pieces could connect, just think

how big the story can become and provide more help for all. Similarly, this statement concludes that “it has become clear throughout the process of communicating with TCK’s that a reworking of the original definition is needed to reflect the diversity in reality and categorisation of the Third Culture Kids of today” - I absolutely agree with that statement. The major concern I have, however, is that without a clear starting point, we cannot legitimately compare and contrast today’s experiences with the past or use lessons learned to build for the future. But with a clear foundation, it is then right to consider how the third culture term, rightly understood and defined anew, still applies and why? My professional interest has grown out of my life story. Not only did I grow up as a white, undoubtedly privileged, US-American TCK in colonial Nigeria, but I raised my own three TCKs in Liberia from 1976 to 1985 My positionality, however, is that I am a heuristic researcher who has been working specifically on this topic professionally but in these past few years, I have tried to help people understand this term clearly — not to stay in the past, but to provide a strong foundation on which to build for the future. I believe as we give language to the emerging cultural complexity we can begin to normalise their experiences so TCK’s can use the wealth of this knowledge contained within the publication in all the wonderful ways that SoN sets forth in their mission statement. A common misconception is that the ‘third culture’ is simply a mixing of elements from all the cultures with which they have interacted with. This is made reference to on p.8 when we read about the way “…in which they all share a common trait of having THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 47




spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than [his/her/their] own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture [Branaman Eakin, 1998].” It was, however, one they shared with others living an internationally mobile lifestyle. The meaning of the third culture was simple, clear, direct, and made logical sense and it was about a shared experience, not an individualistic one. We must also understand that the term TCK has not been a static concept since 1958. Additionally, in the 1980s another pioneer in this field, David Pollock, developed what is often cited as the classic TCK definition as “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background”. Ironically, one of the shared experiences of TCKs is that they incorporate customs from different places into life preferences, such as food or clothing style, but that is not the third culture. Notice the sense of belonging relates to a community whose members have some sort of shared experience. Without community, we never feel that we belong. I suppose the reason for going back to definitions is my attempt to figure out who we are talking about. This term has an ongoing history with many thesis’ written about it. However, without acknowledging the historical roots from which this conversation has emerged, this beautiful conversation I see represented in the stories contained within this publication cannot grow bigger because I fear this may cause confusion about the term itself. In more recent years, an increasing

number of diverse voices have joined the conversation including Danau Tanu (page number), an Chinese Indonesian and Japanese Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCK), who did her doctoral dissertation on Asian TCKs while examining language such as transnational or transcultural kids. In her contribution to this journal, Solonia Teodros (p.34) believes the TCK model seems stuck in the 1980s world and offers the term global citizen as an alternative. Christelle Kamanan (p.43) uses the term cultural chameleon as she explains how she may have Ivorian parents and grown-up between Africa and Europe, but finds herself most at home in Asia. The truth is if we understand that each of the stories in the publication that follows reflects an experience where the writer or artist has grown up in an interstitial or liminal space between different cultural worlds; then the question to pursue is “why such an experience, no matter the details of how it came, result in these common themes of struggles with identity, reverse culture shock, belonging, and loss?” This may be, in the end, where the concept of “third culture” as Ruth Useem (circa 1950s) saw in a specific context, is enlarged or redefined to more clearly include all who grow up in cultural liminality for any reason. When you first invited me to Peer Review, I was excited as I believed this was going to be an opportunity to further the conversation. Instead, I fear it has perhaps put a division and that makes me sad. When I read all the stories within the journal, they were great and they feel familiar and, again, the themes are constant even while the details differ. Through my first attempt at writing this review, I wanted to find a way to join the conversations as mentioned by SoN of those who are refugees, immigrants, minorities, THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 49

international adoptees, border-landers, those with disabilities, linguistic minorities and the individuals who intersect. It is my dream that when all conversations are combined that we can then all learn from each other. What SoN is ongoingly doing is highlighting previously unseen communities or experiences while recognising the differences in the many details of our stories.

*NB* Please note that this Peer Review is the result of a collaboration between Ruth E VanReken and Sabrina Mumtaz-Hasan (ToR Lead). This includes an additional set of questions posed with the aim to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking, directly related to the experiences of marginalised communities, with the aim of transformation.

I just want you to know I believe in what SoN are trying to do and I continue to believe that this global conversation exploring those who are raised between many cultural worlds (for all sorts of reasons) will happen one day as part of the healing our world needs. Through making changes having seen your feedback from my initial attempt at writing a review, I have learned again where my strengths and weaknesses lie, similarly this intervention has allowed me to generate new thoughts about the topic of TCK itself. For me it is important to keep growing as a person both professionally as well as personally, but also to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t.

1. What does it mean to you to create a clear foundation without the expense of erasing some voices?

Questions we would like you to consider within this document are:

I believe foundational clarity is the only thing that ultimately makes true inclusivity possible, even though they had happened in a different context from the original cohort she had studied [...] all these other permutations and growths in our understanding of the wider [context] led to inclusivity, not exclusivity.

1. What does it mean to you to create a clear foundation without the expense of erasing some voices? 2. How can we reconsider this topic more openly which has been rooted in a particular historical cannon? 3. What is the impact of a third culture emerging in native/ national communities and how does this present itself in the publication you have engaged with?


I believe concepts can change a world — a whole world, not just part of it. That is only possible, however, when the original idea has a clear hypothesis and language by which to define and describe it. In other words, once I know what I’m talking about I can consider how this idea might apply in other situations — always my goal. Without clarity, I will spend all my time trying to figure out what we are talking about rather than how to use what we have learned.

I feel so passionately that somehow, some way, there has to be a way to help those of all these backgrounds to understand and normalise their stories in a way that brings joy and an awareness of belonging which then lets them use the gifts of their story and personality in a satisfying way.






Currently I hear many discussions relating to whether or not TCK is an elitist concept since it first described children who were, for the most part, Western, considered privileged and mostly White. Don’t I just reinforce that concept if I insist on keeping the foundation of the term clear? Doesn’t that keep everyone else who didn’t do it exactly the same way out of the discussion? It is my very desire to include others with different experiences of growing up among many cultural worlds which has driven my life for the past several decades. The truth is I have given my life to first trying to understand the TCK story in the original context so that, in fact, we could take what we have learned to understand better countless other stories of those growing up among many cultural worlds for lots of other reasons. For more than twenty years I have specifically tried to find language and ways to expand the principles of why a childhood lived among many cultures and often with some type of mobility results in common themes even when the ways their experience happened was profoundly different. That has been my passion, my goal, and why I was so glad to be invited to write something for you as you were including stories from many who grew up among many cultural worlds besides the traditional TCK model. The problem from the time of Dr. Ruth Useem and on has been the lack of a clear understanding of what we are talking about. Through this interaction with you, I am realising that all the questions and confusion about the TCK term started when we confused being a TCK with the third culture (TC) itself.

‘This is a study of patterns generic to the intersections of societies. We call this complex of patterns the third culture [italics mine], and define it broadly as the behavior patterns created, shared, and learned by men of different societies who are in the process of relating their societies, or sections thereof, to each other…’ [i] Please note the following as it speaks to what is now a common misconception about the TC. ‘The binational third culture is not [italics mine] merely the accommodation or fusion of two separate, juxtaposed cultures. As men continue to associate across societies while engaged in common enterprises, they incorporate into the ethos of their ingroup, standards for interpersonal behavior, work-related norms, codes of reciprocity, styles of life, networks of communications, institutional arrangements, world views, and on the individual level, new types of selves. These composite patterns differentiate a third culture from the cultures it transcends.’ Before they said a word about kids, this is how the Useems defined and described what they meant by the third culture per se. So Dr. Useem began with the cohort with whom she was working when she made her first observations [...] defined as ‘men of the third culture.’ [ii] After defining the third culture for adults, she realised almost serendipitously that there was a pattern of behavior that emerged when children grew up in this interstitial, or third culture, space which their parents had created and were then living in. What she didn’t realise is that this was one of the first assembled cohorts where the soon-to-be new normal of growing up cross-culturally and with different degrees of mobility would THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 53

soon happen for countless others. In reality, the phenomenon she was actually studying was not the expat child per se. Without realising it, she was observing how and why a cross-cultural childhood impacts a child’s development process in ways that are different from a child who grows up in a more traditional mono-cultural environment. Period. Unfortunately, for some, it seems the story got stuck there in its original example of this phenomenon. So too in the TCK story. I have long tried to figure out how to have a more cohesive discussion among the many folks I see who are living the story but not in the context of the original TCK model — a child growing up outside the parents’ passport country because of a parent’s occupation. But as the discussions about who could or could not be called a legitimate TCK seemed to endlessly rage, not only were the lines scrambled and people often excluded, but what frustrated me was that the fight over the term became more the focus rather than trying to discover why so many of seemingly disparate backgrounds appeared to relate to much of the research that had occurred in the TCK realm. What did all or many of the other experiences share with traditional TCKs? I could clearly see the themes of questions about identity being common and somehow most seemed to relate when we also talked about loss… but why? It seemed at time that the term TCK which had helped so many give language and understanding to their story had become a dividing term rather than a unifying one. So how could we move past this endless circular discussion I continually heard in all sorts of ways? The only way I knew to try to break this log jam was to create new language 54 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

which I believed could include everyone who had grown up interacting meaningfully with different cultural worlds during childhood. But how to do it when the conversation seemed so stuck about defining TCKs? I wondered, if we change the language, can we discuss the overlaps in what we both are doing but starting with different lenses? Finally, the day came when I dared to try and this is how the concept of cross-cultural kid (CCK) came to life. At the very heart of that changed language was the deep desire I had to take what we had learned from the traditional TCK model and see how that might apply to those who meaningfully interacted with different cultural worlds in their first 18 years of life for any reason, including minorities who were relating to the dominant surrounding culture. Conversely, I also believed TCKs could learn from others in return. As I have continued using that CCK model, I have seen that for many who struggled to figure out if they were or weren’t ‘legitimate’ TCKs find a sense of belonging and rest to know they are in this model through their experience as much and as equally as traditional TCKs are. I have seen folks who never heard of TCK or CCK see this model in a seminar they may have come to perhaps for their children’s sake they presumed, and come with tears in their eyes afterwards and say, “I grew up in four of your circles. No wonder I have struggled with questions about belonging I have lived with my entire life.” The truth is when I read the many stories in your publication, each story had points of connection with all these wonderful conversations I have had with CCKs and adult CCKs for years where the roots of







understanding things like the impact of how you appear compared to the dominant culture you are in at any given point matters in all sorts of ways.

How do we also recognise the distinct benefits and challenges that might be for a specific community that would differ from another way of growing up among worlds?

Every single story you included had details which were specific to their particular story but reflected themes that are more common than not within the CCK experience.

So what is the problem?

What are some of these themes? The one consistent challenge I have heard from virtually every type of story is the question of identity.

Why has it been so difficult to sit down and look at this topic of children who grow up cross-culturally — yes, including traditional TCKs but also including BIPOC communities, refugees, immigrants, minorities who go to school in a culture different from their home culture, foster children, and countless more? I don’t know the answer.

Who am I given all the worlds I have related to? Where do I belong when the lines are not so clear? I hear and see them resonate deeply when we talk about grief and loss. But in the traditional TCK concept, it generally relates to the losses incurred from mobility. Many CCKs do not make many major geographical moves. So what are they relating to? Are their specific kinds of losses that are in the overall community as a whole or in the subset communities they are in? What about those who are in 5 and 6 circles? What do they do with that increasing cultural jumble? These are the many questions that intrigue me and are still to be explored. For twenty years I have also been asking for others to at least take a serious look at questions such as:

I was so glad to see the types of stories and experiences you were including in your conversations when you first wrote and asked me to do a review. I expected this kind of dialog would be going on. To my dismay and disappointment the major question felt back to square one for me… all these years later the focus was still on deciding what the language meant rather than comparing and contrasting the shared themes of the stories while also just plain enjoying reading each one and seeing how these themes emerged in such seemingly disparate contexts. So I ask myself again in all the soul searching these communications have created for me, what is the problem? Am I crazy? Am I blind? What am I missing? Why can’t others see what is so clear to me? Again, I don’t have an answer.

What are common themes in their stories?’ Why are they common when the specifics of the ways their stories happened were often so disparate? THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 57

I sense many — including traditional TCKs — fear they will lose something of their own identity if others share anything similar. Is that what stops us? Perhaps I have chosen the wrong language for trying to create this bigger umbrella so again the language became the issue rather than the inter and co-relation of the groups I was/am trying to look at? Perhaps some see me as some sort of ‘gatekeeper’ who made up a new language to keep others from being TCKs? As I said above, the point of using CCK was never about exclusion, but trying to find a way to include all the stories in some sort of cohesive whole that recognises and learns from the overlapping places while honoring the distinct things any particular group or individual within the larger whole feels. So if my vision for how to include people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, gender, class and economic levels who have experienced growing up among many cultural worlds for any reason hasn’t worked, where do we go from here? 2. How can we reconsider this topic more openly which has been rooted in a particular historical cannon? To me it is simple. I believe we need to go back to the elemental foundation of the TC and see how it might apply to other stories than just children who are globally mobile due to a parent’s career choice. Then we keep the foundation clear it is far easier to build on that if it is all muddied waters. By looking at the emerging factors we have learned from the TCK story and then listening to the other stories of those who have grown up in any way in our globalising world, we can look for points of connection and mutual understanding 58 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

and growth. The details may be different, but the opportunities and challenges of growing up cross-culturally and factors related to mobility, even if simply the mobility between grandparent’s homes who speak different languages, can be compared and contrasted with what we learned early on in the traditional TCK petri-dish. 3. What is the impact of a third culture emerging in native/national communities and how does this present itself in the publication you have engaged with? I believe everyone who grows up crossculturally during childhood involves being involved in a third culture experience of some sort. I have done the best job I know how to do to raise awareness of the inclusive nature of this topic. I have not been as successful as I hoped, likely because I started one step away from the absolute foundational concept. I thought we would have a fabulous discussion…and hopefully we still are. Just not the one I expected. But it is a topic new to our time and now you and your generation can and must take it further. Thank you for that! My heart has always been to share what I have learned in and from my own more traditional TCK story to others of all backgrounds who seem to feel similar things as I have experienced and let them know they are not alone. I believe on an individual level I have been able to do that for many, but on this more theoretical, academic level, I have not found a way. I trust you members of the next generation will be able to find the right language and means to communicate more effectively than I have been able to do so that we may all build better understanding

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in a world that so much needs it. I have no clear answers but I have some questions or suggestions for the next generation of researchers to perhaps consider: • What is the goal? Clarity of language is needed, but to what end? A purely academic exercise or because it matters to people’s lives? For me, it is the latter. I believe as each of us understands our own stories better personally and as part of a greater whole, we find not only belonging but a deep sense of fulfillment in living out the gifts our experiences have given us. • If language is in the way, how do we find something more useful?

Maybe what is to me the CCK needs a clearer definition or a better label to name this idea of finding a big enough tent to listen to all the stories and grow together. Is it time to find a way to stop fussing about the meaning of the TCK term itself and take a step farther back to look more closely at what the original TC idea was before it was attached to the word ‘kid’? Might that be an important lens through which to look at all these other cross-cultural experiences as well? If we do that, then how do we find a way to honor and recognize all these different stories while sharing the common threads? How do we make sure in our very attempt to be inclusive we don’t inadvertently use terms that are exclusive? These are my questions back to you. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 59


Danau Tanu, PhD, is the author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. She is also the Co-Chair of the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Research Network Affiliate. It encouraged researchers to rigorously consider the analytical usefulness and pitfalls of the concept ‘Third Culture Kid’ and addressed questions such as: “How do I convince my graduate supervisor that ‘Third Culture Kids (TCKs)” is a valid research topic?” “Why has the concept of TCKs taken off in the public realm but not in academia?”

TENSIONS, DIVISIONS, AND SILOS. Danau, an anthropologist, began by pointing out an underlying tension surrounding the use of the term ‘TCK’, between a desire to be inclusive of other experiences — a wider circle that includes other “cross-cultural kids” (CCKs), so named by Dr. Ruth Van Reken, co-author of Third Culture Kids — and the desire to clearly define the boundaries of what constitutes a ‘Third Culture Kid’, especially when it comes to research.


Another peculiar phenomenon Danau highlighted was the way those researching ‘TCKs’ rarely engage with the broader body of knowledge on mobility and experiences of feeling ‘in-between’ and ‘growing up among worlds’, just as researchers in other related fields don’t tap into the growing knowledge and insights on TCKs since the term first entered the public consciousness in the 1970s.

THE HISTORY OF THE ‘THIRD CULTURE KID’ CONCEPT IN RESEARCH Danau began by sharing excerpts from the publications of Dr. Ruth Hill Useem, the sociologist who coined the term ‘Third Culture Children’ in 1973 and who then modified it to ‘Third-Culture Kids’ in a 1976 publication co-authored with Dr. Richard D. Downie. Going further back to 1955, Danau then showed excerpts from the first work published by Ruth and her husband and fellow sociologist Dr. John Useem on westerneducated Indian men and their experiences of crossing culture, some as adults and others as children. What was most striking about these original works was the deftness with which the Useems handled the diversity of backgrounds and experiences among those who practiced the ‘Third Culture’ as adults, as well as those who were socialised into it as children.





The Useem’s (at times with a third colleague) in the 1960s also explored the notion of the ‘Third Culture’, whose diverse incarnations can be seen in the motley (or ‘mix of’) set of adjectives that the sociologist pair attached to the term including: ‘Colonial Third Culture”, ‘Paracolonial Third Culture’, ‘Binational Third Culture’, ‘Global Third Culture’, and so on.

DISENTANGLING THE ‘THIRD CULTURE’ CONCEPT FROM THE ‘THIRD CULTURE KID’ IDENTITY: Given that concepts are merely tools to help us understand sociological phenomena, Danau encouraged future scholars to consider disentangling the concept of the ‘Third Culture’ from the increasing use of the term “Third Culture Kid” as an identity label. She suggests that this may allow for more flexibility in how we study this growing population. When we realise that scholarly fields have much more in common with each other than we currently acknowledge, it may bridge the gulf that currently exists between those studying so-called ‘TCKs’ and those studying other people crossing culture. Advice for Young Scholars by Danau Tanu “...keep in mind that even the notion of ‘culture’ is not set in stone — it is fluid, eternally changing, and hard to pin down — and to not lose sight of the fact that their boundaries are socially constructed.’ As Dr. Ruth Van Reken once advised Danau on how to work through issues that may seem contentious: “Start with the similarities — with what we share — then work through the differences. That way, you’ll be able to find your way back to the similarities.”

Source: • Tanu, D. (2020) “Third Culture Kids”: The History & Future of the Term in Research. Families in Global Transition Research Network Affiliate. [Inaugural virtual seminar, 29 May 2020.]. Available via: References: • Cottrell, A. (n.d., circa 2007) Dr. Ruth Hill Useem – the sociologist/anthropologist who first coined the term “Third Culture Kid”. In TCK World: The Official Home of Third Culture Kids. [Retrieved from www. on 27 May 2020.] •

Pollock, D., Van Reken, R. E., & Pollock, Michael V. (2017) Appendix A: History and Evolution of Third Culture and Third Culture Kids Concepts: Then and Now. In David Pollock, Ruth E. Van Reken, & Michael V. Pollock, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. [See FIGT’s online bookstore.]

Tanu, D. (2015) Toward an Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Diversity of “Third Culture Kids”. In Saija Benjamin & Fred Dervin, Migration, Diversity, and Education: Beyond Third Culture Kids. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tanu, D. (2018) Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School. New York: Berghahn Books.

YouTube, 2020. Third Culture Kids: The History And Future Of The Term In Research - FIGT Research Network (May 2020). [image] Available com/watch?v=zElpWHRQpxk


RESEARCH LIMITATIONS. A JOURNAL CRITIQUE ABOUT ‘FOUNDATIONS’. What does this mean, and at whose expense/ erasure? (Aisha Richards, 2020.) ‘Since the Useems were in India and her first subjects were the children whose expat fathers were then working in what they had already defined as the TC (see above), Dr Useem focused her first studies on children who grow up in this ‘neither/nor world’ by looking at the story of an expatriate, mostly Western, mostly White, children who were growing up in a post-colonial world because that was the population where she first noticed it.’ - Van Reken, 2020. For the story of the African young woman who feels most at home in Asia, I would have explored her story through the PolVan Cultural Identity model we first developed in the late 1990s and have used as a tool for looking at all sorts of different stories in the years since then. The origins of the TCK definition is rooted in the study of children of American families living in India in the 1950s, observing the experiences of expatriate families in India. These children were not Indian, though they lived in India. They were American – though they weren’t experiencing that country or that culture. This childhood experience was neither that of an Indian child nor that of an American child. It was somewhere in between – in a Third Culture. It has been discussed in the past that the characteristics that have been put forth by prominent researchers in the TCK field have only been discussed when referring to [white] 64 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

American children who have lived abroad. However, there has been further research done on TCKs that shows that the same characteristics described by Pollock and Useem in the most prominent TCK literature also apply to individuals from other nations who have also lived abroad for extended periods of time during their developmental years. The term TCKs may be applied to all social classes and although there are certain distinctions between TCKs and immigrants, it can include immigrant and refugee students (Dewaele 8c van Oudenhoven, 2009). We must realize that TCKs maybe, as Ruth Van Reken explains, ‘the first results of a great, but not fully explored, the cultural shift of our changing world- the difference between being raised in a monocultural environment or a many-layered cultural setting.’ Too often grouped by their nationalities, the hidden diversity and experiences of these students are covered up and brushed aside. Source: • Crossman, T., 2016. What Is A Third Culture Kid?. [online] MISUNDERSTOOD. Available at: misunderstood-book. com/2016/07/28/what-is-a-third-culturekid/ [Accessed 28 July 2020]. References: • Lee, S (2011) Third Culture Kids Global Nomads in Search of a Home . CAMD Scholar Project. Available at: panet.andover. edu/bbcswebdav/institution/CAMD/ CAMDModule/CAMDScholars/SeyoungLee. pdf [Accessed 28 October 2020]


RESEARCH COHORTS. DOES THE ‘THIRD CULTURE KID’ EXPERIENCE PREDICT LEVELS OF PREJUDICE? The term ‘Third Culture Kid’ was first coined by researchers John and Ruth Useem in the 1950s, who used it to describe the children of American citizens working and living abroad, following her second year-long visit to India with her husband and three children. 1. Despite the prevalence of (A)TCKs originating from a variety of different counties, the majority of (A)TCK research has focused on US (A)TCKs (Fail, 1996, Hylmö, 2002, Lambiri, 2005, Pearce, 2002). Consequently, a number of (A) TCK researchers have called for further research identifying the differences between US (A)TCKs and non-US (A)TCKs (Hylmö, 2002, Lambiri, 2005): “There should be and indeed there is a growing interest and need for data from other countries […] Because it is such a large and important community, the desire for more information about TCKs outside the US is growing” (Lambiri, 2005, p. 34). 2. Eakin (1998) posits that overt racism is not as common in expatriate communities as it is the TCK’s home culture and warns that the minority TCK may encounter prejudice that he/she is not used to upon returning to his/her culture of origin. A TCK reflects upon these differences: “The contrast between the U.S. racial divide and the open multicultural environment I was 66 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

accustomed to could not have been more stark’ (qtd. in Eakin, 1998, p. 57). 3. Pollock and Van Reken (2001) found that TCKs are often less prejudiced due to their time among culturally and ethnically diverse people. They report that a few TCKs, however, become more prejudiced as a result of their experiences and go on to suggest that this increase is related to their position of privilege in the host culture. 4. Quantitative studies on (A)TCKs thus far have only measured concepts related to prejudice rather than prejudice itself. References: • Melles, E.A.; Schwartz, J. (2013). “Does the third culture kid experience predict levels of prejudice?”. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. 37 (2): 260–267. Available via www. pii/S0147176712000971?via%3Dihub [Accessed 23 Sep 2020]. •

J. Dewaele, J.P. van Oudenhoven (2009) The effect of multilingualism/ multiculturalism on personality: No gain without pain for Third Culture Kids? In International Journal of Multilingualism, 6 (4) (2009), pp. 443-459

Eakin, K. B. (1998). According to my passport, I’m coming home. Retrieved from: paper14.pdf





and unconscious perceptions of immigrants, migrants and expats. Why? Because the construct of race and white supremacy frames Western whites differently to other races.

‘Very often when we talk about British people who migrate [;] we tend to talk of them as expats or expatriates. They are not immigrants’. Emma Briant in Bad News for Refugees (2013)

Does one word only apply to specific races?

The English lexicon for people living outside their country of origin has been shaped by the historical forces of colonialism, globalisation, immigration and war. Class, no matter the race, is a key factor in people’s conscious

Asylum Seeker/Immigrant

It is clear that with each label comes a certain economic or educational status that is further housed under the designation. There has, in 21st-century political discourse, been some commentary about the differences between the terms which matters more now than ever as language can, in some cases, be used as a political tool or to dehumanise.


1. An immigrant is someone (of any origin) pursuing long-term residence or Citizenship in another country.

1. Emigrant refers to someone who has migrated out of a country, but from the perspective of the sending country.

2. Commonly used as a synonym of a refugee claimant in the UK.

2. Émigré historically connotes a reactionary wealthy person fleeing a revolution and has its roots in the French and Russian revolutions.

3. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the top five collocations with refugee in 2015 were Syrian, Palestinian, Afghan, Somali and Sudanese.




1. A migrant is any person living outside of their country of origin, but especially a non-skilled worker moving for economic reasons. 2. This word frequently has a negative connotation, and more generally refers to everyone from poorer developing countries. 3. Foreign nationals from African, Asian, Latino, or Arab, are colloquially said to be immigrants or migrant workers. 4. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the top five collocations with (e)migrant in 2015 included illegal, African, EU, undocumented and irregular.

1. An expatriate is someone staying abroad temporarily or of an undetermined period. 2. The word expat is loaded and denotes anyone with roots in a western country. 3. Historically, the word expat has been reserved for Western whites who are rich professionals and go to work abroad from ‘first world’ or Englishspeaking countries. 4. It carries many connotations, preconceptions and assumptions about class, education, privilege and depends on social class, country of origin and economic status.

Refugee 1. A refugee is someone forced to flee their country of origin, especially because they were being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, membership of a particular social group, etc. 2. The legal framework (defined by the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees) continues today, and most recently was applied prominently to Syrians in Europe since the 2011 outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. 3. It is often hard to draw a strict line between those being ‘persecuted and facing economic ruin’, and those ‘forced to leave their home country’.




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References: • Serhan, Y., 2018. ‘Expat’ And The Fraught Language Of Migration. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: <www.theatlantic. com/international/archive/2018/10/expatimmigrant/570967/? [Accessed 25 July 2020]. •

Language Matters, 2017. Migrant, Refugee, Immigrant And Expatriate: What Is The Difference?. [online] Available at: < is%20someone%20(of,wealthy%20 or%20English%2Dspeaking%20country.> [Accessed 25 July 2020].

Videler, M., 2017. An Alternative Vocabulary For Reporting On Migration Issues: On Politics, Ethics, And The News Media’s Contested Migration Terminology. [online] Humanity in Action. Available at: <www. an-alternative-vocabulary-for-reportingon-migration-issues-on-politics-ethicsand-the-news-medias-contestedmigration-terminology/> [Accessed 25 July 2020].


PEJORATIVE LANGUAGE. The politics behind the TCK Definition and notions of social mobility, migration and immigration are rife in today’s discourse. The shifting language of migration might seem petty to some but to those involved in the debate there is no doubt of its importance. ‘Words matter in the migration debate’, says Rob McNeil from the Migration Observatory. In sum, these terms dehumanise fellow human beings by allowing news consumers to project socially-constructed meanings of these terms, even if they have a stable legal or policy meaning. In addition, these nouns allow people to project onto them whatever feelings they harbor against migration, thereby influencing the general social meaning of the word. Ethnic slurs or ‘ethnophaulisms’ are verbalised slurs designed to insult others on the basis of race, ethnicity, or nationality, as there are clearly those who want to make a distinction between people leaving and entering different countries, that are, or have been, used as insinuations or allegations about members of a given ethnicity, or to refer to them in a derogatory (that is, critical or disrespectful), pejorative (disapproving or contemptuous), or otherwise insulting manner. As such, they often function to dehumanise the individual and generate animosity toward them; take for example the prefix ‘illegal’ which is often a code word for racial and ethnic hatred’. As racially offensive language works to further hold in place the fictional story under the pretext of the term(s) sustain themselves in their negativity.


Where black/brown bodies, in some cases, migrate because of conflict, here too such slurs predicate themselves on the ‘direction of movement’, the colour of the individual and finally the reason for travel. The connotations of the terms listed below and prevalence of its use as a pejorative or neutral descriptor varies over time and by geography. Within the TCK definition, it might be useful to consider why communities visibly black/ brown communities were excluded in the origins of the term too? “It has evolved from its dictionary definitions into a tool that dehumanises and distances, a blunt pejorative.” Barry Malone, Al Jazeera.

Reference: • Videler, M., 2017. An Alternative Vocabulary For Reporting On Migration Issues: On Politics, Ethics, And The News Media’s Contested Migration Terminology. [online] Humanity in Action. Available at: <www. an-alternative-vocabulary-for-reportingon-migration-issues-on-politics-ethicsand-the-news-medias-contestedmigration-terminology/> [Accessed 25 July 2020].







A foreign national, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where he or she is living. Synonyms: Illegal Alien, Undocumented Alien Language: Negative Connotation First Used: Codified in 1790, when President George Washington approved granting limited Citizenship to an ‘alien’ who is a “free white person’ in the original Naturalization Act. Usage: In recent years, the word has developed offensive and dehumanising connotations, but in the US, alien remains the official terminology for any person who is not a citizen or national. Alien was used regularly in the UK press before World War. Although most news outlets no longer use ‘alien’ to describe non-Citizens, the word remains prominent in the far-right media because they prefer language that encourages fear and distrust of immigrants. Quote: ‘The first major immigration act [in the UK] was called the Aliens Act 1905’ - Unknown, undated The Obama administration proposed Dreamers as a new positive way - with its reference to the American Dream - of describing undocumented young people who met the conditions of the Dream act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors).


A foreign national who is permitted by law to be in the host country. This is a very broad category which includes permanent residents, temporary residents, and visa holders or foreign visitors. Synonyms: Foreigner, friendly alien, enemy aliens Language: Neutral Connotation First Used: The legal and ideological expression of humanity toward the alien, however, is generally a relatively modern development as sovereign national states began to develop in modern times beginning in the 20th century. In the United Kingdom, the British Nationality Act of 1981, Aliens Act of 1905, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act of 1914 and the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act of 1919 were all products of the turbulence in the early part of the 20th century. Usage: A distinction is drawn between friendly aliens and enemy aliens, with the latter comprising not only Citizens of hostile states, but also all others voluntarily living in enemy territory or carrying on business there; enemy aliens are subject to additional disabilities. Quote: ‘There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you’ - Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22




A foreign national who is living without official authorisation in a country of which they are not a citizen.

A non-resident alien is an alien who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test used to determine tax status.

Synonyms: Illegal Immigrant, Undocumented Alien, Illegal, Unauthorised

Synonyms: Foreigner, Illegal Alien Language: Negative Connotation

Language: Negative Connotation First Used: Undated. First Used: The term in the United States is inherited from British law, and has been a legal designation for foreign-born residents since the Revolutionary era (1775-1783). Usage: Unknown. Quote: ‘The biggest loophole drawing illegal aliens to our borders is the use of fraudulent or meritless asylum claims to gain entry into our great country’ - Trump, 2018


A foreign national who has permission by the government to reside and work in the country, but does not have Citizenship. Synonyms: Green card, Legal Alien, Foreigner Language: Neutral Connotation First Used: Circa 14th-15th century Usage: In the United States, ‘alien’ is the term used within the immigration laws to refer to a citizen of another country. However, the terms ‘resident alien’ and ‘non-resident alien’ are actually terms from the federal tax laws. Quote: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recorded admitting 1.1 million new permanent residents in the country in 2017, the most recent figures available. 76 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Quote: ‘No human being is illegal’ - Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT (UK/US) A foreign national who is living in a country without having official permission to live there. Synonyms: Illegal Alien, Undocumented Alien, Immigrant, Settler, Incomer, New Arrival, Migrant, Emigrant Language: Negative Connotation First Used: Late 19th century. In 1939 as a slur by the British toward Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and entering Palestine without authorisation. Usage: UK immigration acts through the ages - Source: uk-politics-24463873 Quote: Another criticism of the term immigrant, with or without the word illegal added on to it, is that it is less likely to be used to describe people from Western countries. Some commentators have suggested that Europeans tend to be referred to as expats Koutonin, 2015






The word migrant is defined as ‘an individual who moves, either temporarily or permanently, from one place, area, or country of residence to another’. Synonyms: Immigrant, Emigrant, Incomer, Newcomer, Asylum Seeker, Settler, Expatriate, Expat, Exile / (Nomad) Itinerant, Gypsy, Traveller, Vagrant, Transient, Rover, Wayfarer, Wanderer, Drifter, Displaced Person, Homeless Person Language: Value-Neutral connotation (contested) First Used: circa 1672 Usage: It is used as a neutral term by many media organisations, but there has been criticism of that use. There are some who dislike the term because it implies something voluntary, but that it is applied to people fleeing danger. Quote: ‘It says nothing about their entitlement to cross that border or whether they should be [...] It is being used to mean ‘not a refugee’’ - Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University ‘[t]he umbrella term migrant is no longer fit for purpose when it comes to describing the horror unfolding in the Mediterranean. It has evolved from its dictionary definitions into a tool that dehumanizes and distances, a blunt pejorative’ - Humanity in Action, 2017

Intended as a neutral umbrella term, ‘migrant’ has become largely synonymous with ‘economic migrant.’ For some, the term evokes images of benefit-seeking travelers on a mission to steal jobs and send remittances to their countries of origin, essentially draining the West of employment and capital. Migrants often do not understand the local language and culture, nor will they make an effort to acquaint themselves with either. Societies are dealing with imposters, or so the sentiment goes… - Humanity in Action, 2017


A foreign national who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. Synonyms: Foreigner, Newcomer, Settler, Incomer, New Arrival, Migrant, Emigrant, Non-Native, Foreign National, Alien, Outsider, Stranger, Naturalized Citizen, Expatriate, (informal) Expat Language: Negative Connotation First Used: Late 18th century (1789) Usage: A study by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University analysed 58,000 UK newspaper articles and found that illegal was the most common descriptor for the word immigrants. Quote: ‘The term is dangerous [...] It’s better to say irregular or undocumented migrants. Calling someone an illegal immigrant associates them with criminal behaviour’ - Don Flynn, Migrants Rights Network



A person who is not a naturalised citizen of the country in which they are living. Synonyms: Foreigner, Alien, Asylum Seeker, Non-Native, Immigrant, Settler, Newcomer, Stranger, Outsider

Language: Neutral connotation First Used: Unknown. Usage: The use of the term economic migrant has been much debated.

Usage: circa 15th century

Quote: The term economic migrant is ‘being used to imply choice rather than coercion [...] It’s used to imply that it’s voluntary reasons for movement rather than forced movement’ - Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University



Language: Neutral Connotation First Used: Immigration Act (1999)

Something/something that is clandestine is hidden or kept secret, often because it is illegal; Not recognised as a regular member Synonyms: Covert, Furtive, Surreptitious, Stealthy, Concealed, Hidden Language: Neutral connotation

Asylum seeker refers to someone who has applied for refugee status and is waiting to hear the result of their claim. It is also often used about those trying to get to a particular country to make a claim. Synonyms: Displaced Person (DP), Escapee, Fugitive, Asylum Seeker, Runaway, Exile, Émigré, Stateless Person, Outcast, Returnee

First Used: Mid-16th century (circa 1528) Language: Neutral connotation Usage: In recent times, The UN and the EU parliament have called for an end to the phrase.


A person who emigrates from one country or area to another in order to improve their standard of living, or because the conditions or job opportunities in the migrant’s own region are insufficient. Synonyms: Migrant Worker (US), Emigrant, Non-native, Émigré, Migrant, Economic Migrant, Guest Worker


First Used: The word asylum is dated circa.1430 to refer to a sanctuary or inviolable place of refuge and protection for criminals and debtors, from which they cannot be forcibly removed without sacrilege. Usage: Unknown. Quote: ‘Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale’ - Khaled Hosseini





A refugee, according to the 1951 Refugee Convention ‘is any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country”. In the UK, and other places, claims for ‘refugee status’ are examined before being either granted or denied. Synonyms: Asylum Seeker, DP, Escapee, Fugitive, Asylum Seeker, Runaway, Exile, Émigré, Stateless Person, Outcast, Returnee

‘Even though the term ‘refugee’ refers to a protected status under international law, its socially-constructed meaning too has suffered from the attachment of negative connotations. The refugee in the West traditionally recalls images of helpless foreigners, who lack agency to improve their own situation. Helplessness in need of altruism’ - Humanity in Action, 2017 ‘Refugees are, generally speaking, no longer just perceived as innocent people fleeing war and persecution, in dire need of sanctuary. The refugee is also a threat to (national) identity and (economic) security’ - Humanity in Action, 2017

Language: Value-Neutral Connotation First Used: circa 1685 (Late 17th century) Usage: In Western history, the term was first applied in 1540, and again later appeared in the English language circa.1687 until around 1914, when it evolved to mean ‘one fleeing home’ in the context of World War I. The first modern definition of international refugee status came about under the League of Nations in 1921 from the Commission for Refugees.

FAILED OR ‘REFUSED’ ASYLUM SEEKER The term failed asylum seeker describes someone whose claim for asylum, or claim under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has been refused and any subsequent appeals have been unsuccessful. Synonyms: (ARE) Appeals Rights Exhausted Language: Negative connotation

Quote: ‘Refugee implies that we have an obligation to people.[...] It implies that we have to let them on to our territory and give them the chance to seek asylum’ - Alexander Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. ‘[...] many seem to have forgotten that refugees are also humans’ - Owen Jones, 2015

First Used: Undated. Usage: Unknown. Quote: ‘In short, the difference between a failed asylum seeker and a refugee can often be narrow, and the system that determines the difference is structured against the applicant.’ - New Statesman, 2018



An expatriate (often shortened to ‘expat’) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing, either independently or sent abroad by their employers. However, the term ‘expatriate’ is also used for retirees and others who have chosen to live outside their native country. Historically, it has also referred to exiles. Synonyms: Hero, War Hero, Deportee, Émigré, Evacuee, Expatriate, Refugee, Settler, Incomer, New Arrival, Migrant, Emigrant Language: Positive Connotation First Used: circa 1960s (shorthand for expatriate), Mid 18th century Usage: Racialised usage: Since the numbers of such travellers grew markedly after the 15th century with the dawn of the European colonial period. There has been some satirical commentary about the differences between the terms, but the shift towards the neutral blanket term migrant has been pronounced. Quote: ‘Very often when we talk about British people who migrate [;] we tend to talk of them as expats or expatriates. They are not immigrants’ - Emma Briant, author of the book Bad News for Refugees


A more colloquial description, the term foreigner describes an alien or person that has different customs, comes from a different country/territory, and is different from your own diverse culture, religion, or race. As such, a ‘foreigner’ is seen to migrates away from their home country. Synonyms: Alien, Foreign National, NonNative, Immigrant, Settler, Newcomer, Stranger, Outsider, Visitor, Tourist Language: Negative Connotation First Used: circa 15th century Usage: British slang which, in some instances holds racist connotations in this context. Quote: The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and reduce his basic human dignity’ - Steven Biko

UNDOCUMENTED (WORKER) A term In the United States, the term undocumented worker or undocumented immigrant is a foreign-born person who is not a permanent resident and is not a U.S. citizen Synonyms: Asylum Seeker, Illegal Alien, Undocumented Immigrants Language: Negative Connotation First Used: circa 1880s Usage: Modern usage


CULTURE. The origins of the TCK definition is rooted in the study of children of American families living in India in the 1950s. These children were not Indian, though they lived in India. They were American – though they weren’t experiencing that country or that culture. This childhood experience was neither that of an Indian child nor that of an American child. It was somewhere in between – in a Third Culture. The ‘Third Culture’ doesn’t mean a combination of two cultures to form a third. Many TCKs are connected to more than two or three cultures. The three cultures of a TCK are instead of three types of cultures.

Legal Culture The first type of culture is the Legal Culture. These are cultures to which a person is legally connected – a passport, or permanent residency.

Remember: • The Third Culture is not about where you are from, or have lived but about what you have experienced. • There is comfort and understanding in having a shared culture when you feel out-of-step with both your Legal and Geographic cultures.Growing up in your legal culture means a comprehensive connection. which Third Culture Kids don’t generally have. Instead, it is in the Third Culture they find the comfort and connection of shared experience. For them, the Third Culture is a place of belonging. • The Third Culture is neither a legal nor a geographic entity – but it is real.

Geographic Culture The second category of cultures is Geographic Cultures. These are cultures a person is connected to geographically – by living there (a person’s legal culture might also be a geographic culture, but not necessarily).

Relational Culture (Third Culture) A Relational Culture woven together from overlapping experiences of life lived in between. It embraces people who share a childhood not geographically but experientially. It may be different to legal and geographic cultures, but it is just as much a source of identity.



Adah recalls the memories of her trials with anxiety at the age of 16. Now 28 years of age, Adah is a huge advocate for mental health access, frequently blogging about her depression and anxiety. Adah’s parents emigrated from Mexico to the United States in the 80s and then obtained dual citizenship. Adah grew up in Chicago in a predominantly Mexican neighbourhood. The community was tight-knit, but even with the support of friends and family, she knew something felt wrong. She didn’t have the words to describe it - and that only made the terror worse.


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‘I was sad all the time. I was having intrusive thoughts that I didn’t want to be thinking, and everything scared me and I was unable to sleep. Finally, when I got to the point of having a breakdown, I told my mom what was happening. She was really scared because she didn’t know what was happening either and the only thing she could think of doing was to take me to the nearby Catholic church’. As a result, Adah was connected to a nonprofit facility in the neighbourhood which serves lower-income families; this was her first introduction to the [mental health] industry’.

Whilst Adah’s parents were highly supportive of her treatment, ‘as a child of an immigrant, it is not easy for kids to see their parents struggle, and draining family finances is not an easy to be complicit in’, admits Adah. Additionally, Adah cites separate cultural stigmas attached to seeking therapy within her culture. ‘Immigrants who are in a small community may not want others to know their business they may also be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their private details with someone they see as a stranger. In some cases, family members are explicitly against my decision to seeking medical help for mental illness’. Adah also remembers an incident surrounding a friend named Victoria who mother emigrated from the Philippines after meeting her father, who was abroad serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. ‘I remember we had to hide it from her parents because he claimed that the counsellor was ‘brainwashing us to hate him’, and for a number of years instead choosing to use her physical therapy sessions as a cover.’ Adah remembered her friend’s dual feelings of guilt and acceptance as a complex form of

baggage that has, in some ways, manifested in growing resentment towards her parents which is common for a number of members in Adah’s friendship group. Now older, and growing out of adolescence Adah’s recognises what it means being able to advocate for yourself and your needs.

References: • Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 1(1), 16–20. •

Punjabi, R., n.d. Why Is It Still So Hard For Young People Of Color To Get Therapy?. [online] Available at: <www.vice. com/en/article/zmpwva/why-is-it-still-sohard-for-young-people-of-color-to-gettherapy> [Accessed 28 October 2020]. 2019. Mental Health By The Numbers | NAMI: National Alliance On Mental Illness. [online] Available at: <www.> [Accessed 28 October 2020].

American Psychological Association. (2018). Demographics of the U.S. psychology workforce: Findings from 2007-16 American Community Survey. Washington, DC: Author.

‘It was a relief knowing there is something wrong isn’t the same as having the tools to fix it. The idea of healthcare for mental illness might seem completely inaccessible - or the concept of mental illness itself completely foreign - to immigrant parents, which means that their children often aren’t able to seek treatment until they are legal adults and able to advocate for themselves.’


TOPIC BREAKDOWN. CCK Definition “A Cross Cultural Kid (CCK) is a person who is living/has lived in – or meaningfully interacted with – two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during the first eighteen years of life.” Ruth van Reken, 2017 This group includes: Traditional TCKs Children who move into another culture with parents due to a parent’s career choice Bi/multi-cultural/ and/or bi/multi-racial children Children born to parents from at least two cultures or races Children of Immigrants Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally Citizens Children of Refugees Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to unchosen circumstances such as war, violence, famine, other natural disasters

Children of Minorities Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group which is not part of the majority race or ethnicity of the country in which they live International adoptees Children adopted by parents from another country other than the one of that child’s birth Domestic TCKs Children whose parents have moved in or among various subcultures within that child’s home country Families in Global Transition / FIGT Children whose parents live globally mobile lifestyles., be it due to factors relating to corporate business, small business entrepreneurs, international schools, relocation, diplomacy, not for profit, academia, media and the arts.

Children are often in more than one of these circles at the same time. This helps us understand the growing complexity of the issues we face in our changing world. Please note that whiteness is centred with aggregated racial/ethnic signifiers and acronyms as default; therefore, one must illustrate their proximity ‘or degree of’ non-whiteness.




Socialising often means telling where you are from. Answering this genuine question activates a certain panic in a Third-CultureKid’s brain. “What do you mean by where do you come from? Does it refer to my place of birth, my administrative address, the pass I often use to travel, the native country of my parents...” When answering this question is obvious to many people, a Third-Culture-Kid must consciously work on one’s cultural diversity to come up with a personal answer. It often depends on the context or the people. It is not lying, it’s choosing the part of the identity to introduce at a certain moment and under certain circumstances. A Third-Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who grew up in at least one country other than their parents’ native country. They are also described as hidden immigrants, global nomads, cultural chameleons, and cultural composites. – Gina G. Barker The term cultural chameleons seems more appropriate. On one hand, it underlines the cultural diversity and on the hand, it shows the metamorphosis phenomenon of these global nomads.


This affects one’s identity. Born in Paris, from Ivorian parents, and raised between Europe and Africa, I particularly feel connected to my cultures when I am in Asia. “They are confronted with cultural walls or pitfalls at every turn. Unable to completely relate to their parent’s culture and yet at the same time labelled as “different” from the mainstream culture they are encouraged to belong to, they are basically cut adrift and left to float in a sort of “twilight zone” state. They form a cultural hybrid, a blend of cultures that can be interesting, but also confusing and frustrating to them.” — Nick Voci Growing up in places where Caucasian people are the majority and the “standard” is particular for an African descendant. First, you regularly face questions about your origins. Then, as a woman, you must also deal with the perception of women in these different cultures. African parents may be away from their native country, but they still want to raise a “good girl”, which does not necessarily emphasise bring a glowing, educated, self-confident woman up. Even though people are questioning some traditions affecting women in Africa, the



pressure to get married and be a mother is still existing. Thus, the female African cultural chameleon can be a brilliant student and she still may have to learn to be a good housewife, a mother and to conform to her parents’ cultural traditions. At school you learn to interact with your pairs, adults, respecting rules and adopting certain behaviour patterns. As a person with an African background, you start questioning the Eurocentric education and culture you are absorbing. Africa and everything related to it have been so much looked down on. What is your place in this culture? Can you allow yourself to belong to it and embrace it with love when it denies another part of your identity? While among African people or in Africa you face another type of awkwardness. “You behave like White people”; even though you know that European people don’t act as you do. Inevitably, you have adopted some patterns labelled as occidental behaviours. Usually, you face several emotional states as long as you develop your awareness and knowledge. Trying to separate your cultures by hiding one or the other depending on the context. It seems easier to avoid questions, comments, justifications and so on. Who wants to introduce one’s family background, lifestyle and childhood every time! It is when a global nomad needs adults support, dedication and consciousness to deconstruct clichés and the pain of the lack of understanding of having a multicultural background. Then will follow the ability to learn more about these cultures, to explore the roots and family history and to finally embody various cultures. A third culture is born.

Parents who are not aware or informed about cultural chameleons and, or who are not familiar with what their child is experiencing, may not be able to support them. Things like body expression can be challenging. For instance, in European cultures, you should look at people in the eyes while they talk to you, otherwise, it is considered rude. On the reverse, you don’t look at adults in the eyes while they talk to you, at least in West African cultures. The education received at school doesn’t match the one at home and neither teachers nor parents may fully understand this duality. Even though there are more people moving around the planet, school systems or structures in European societies in general struggle to create a safe place to welcome people with other cultural backgrounds. It has been obvious with the recent arrivals of migrants in Europe. Not last in importance, teenage girls encounter important physical changes that directly affect their identity. Going through this phase without viewing similar people among your friends or even in the media doesn’t help. Nowadays, Black skin people are more visible in the media, however, it’s not the case for Black teenagers. It is well-known that teenage is a natural period of an identity crisis. Acknowledging, loving, embracing and respecting one’s new body becomes a real challenge. Usually, physical activities help. How this could work when even there your body is again an exception?



Considering that being represented in the public space matters to anyone, imagine the impact it can have one someone who is already dealing with cultural belonging issues. At the moment social media influencers are the ones, who actively make all types of diversity visible in public space. Some are encouraging and mentoring teenagers to accept their differences. Nevertheless, is it the option that society would like to offer to people with multiple backgrounds? How can nomadism be accepted and seen as an advantage in settled societies? With a highly globalised world, these questions shouldn’t be neglected.

Citation •

Andrea M. Moore and Gina G. Barker (2012) Third Culture Individuals, Intercultural Communication Core Theories, Issues, and Concepts

Nick Voci (1994). The Vancouver Sun, 22 Apr. 1994

Image Citation •

Alexandr Ivanov,, December (2019). Available via: ivanovgood-1982503/ [Accessed 5. November 2020]


CODAS AND TCKS. [NB: In general, ‘deaf’ (lowercase) refers to the biological condition of not hearing while “Deaf” refers to a group of deaf people who share a culture]. For a concise explanation of the differences between writing “Deaf” and “deaf,” as well as other labels, see the FAQ page of the National Association for the Deaf.] Erin Mellett, MS, is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology department at Brown University, whose research interests include Deafness and the Deaf community, disability studies, language, and belonging. Erin’s current and ongoing dissertation research with deaf immigrants in the United States sits at the intersection of a number of fields including medical anthropology, Deaf studies, disability studies, linguistic anthropology, and immigration studies.

CHILDREN OF DEAF ADULTS AS THIRD CULTURE KIDS’ It is now felt that Codas — children born to and raised by Deaf parents — who grow up in the Deaf world, yet their ability to hear puts them in a unique position between the hearing and Deaf worlds, Codas as inhabitants of both (or neither) the Deaf and hearing worlds. Despite being biological relatives of Deaf people and being raised by them, Codas lack the biological feature (deafness) necessary to be considered completely part of the Deaf community. At the same time, Codas don’t feel as though they belong to the hearing world either — citing distinctly ‘Deaf’ ways of being that don’t mesh with hearing culture. 96 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

“...all Codas grow up in two worlds, the Deaf world of their families and the Hearing world. Every Coda leads two lives: one as Codas and one as a hearing person. They may choose to only live one life, but all of them have two.” Robert Hoffmeister, professor of Deaf Studies at Boston University and himself a Coda, explains in Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking (2007) Like traditional TCKs, Codas spend their childhoods ‘growing up among worlds’. For example: 1. Both Codas and traditional TCKs have connections to multiple cultures while not fully claiming membership in any. Codas don’t fully belong to their Deaf parents’ culture nor the hearing culture that surrounds them. 2. Both feel a sense of belonging with others who share a similar background. For example, Codas have built a community through organisations like CODA International, where they have the space to explore their identities. 3. Codas can be considered a type of cross-cultural kid (CCK), like children of immigrants or international adoptees, who don’t fit the classic definition of internationally-mobile TCKs. 4. Both Codas and traditional TCKs have connections to multiple cultures while not fully claiming membership in any. Inspired by FRN’s seminar series (in particular, FRN Co-Chair Danau Tanu’s provocations), Erin suggested that instead of trying to


determine whether or not Codas are TCKs or CCKs, it may be more useful to look at the third culture (or interstitial culture) as an analytical concept and to ask: how might Codas’ experience of the third culture be unique?

Source: • 2020. Families In Global Transition - Children Of Deaf Adults As “Third Culture Kids”. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

Erin explained that for Codas, biology (i.e., whether one can hear or not) is integrally linked to a cultural affiliation (i.e., Deaf versus hearing). As biological relatives, but not biologically deaf themselves, Codas do not feel as though they can truly claim their parents’ culture — no matter how intimately they know its language and customs. This means that the space of the third culture — the community Codas create with each other — becomes even more important as Codas try to establish their sense of belonging.

References • Hoffmeister, Robert. 2008. “Border Crossings by Hearing Children of Deaf Parents: The Lost History of Codas” In Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking, edited by H-Dirksen L. Bauman, 189-215. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. •

Clearly, there is more that we need to learn about new ways of living in the third culture. •


CODA International video by Alex Laferrière (2016)

Mellet, Erin. 2016. “Cochlear implants and codas: the impact of a technology on a community,” Boston University School of Medicine. Pollock, David C. and Ruth E. Van Reken. 2009. Third Culture Kids: The Experiences of Growing up among Worlds. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Preston, Paul. 1994. Mother Father Deaf: Living Between Sound and Silence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Preston, Paul. 1995. “Mother Father Deaf: The Heritage of Difference.” Social Science Med 40(11): 1461-1467.

Preston, Paul. 1996. “Chameleon voices: Interpreting for deaf parents.” Social Science and Medicine 42(12): 1681–1690.

Arya urged us to take more time to consider the vast similarities between Children of deaf adults (Codas) and expat TCKs, immigrant children, and so on, to avoid the trap of feeling ‘terminally unique’, a sense of feeling that one is ‘so different no one else in the world can understand them’ (paraphrased from Third Culture Kids, 3rd ed.). She suggested that the experiences of Codas from culturally or ethnically diverse backgrounds may shed more light on the ways in which Codas are similar to other groups that experience that interstitial, third culture in childhood. Arya was born to a matriarchal extended family. Her mother is German, who met her father when worked as immigrants. Her father was sent to work abroad by his own hearing father to get the proper education for his only deaf son. At the time, the German oral education system was praised as being the best and her father was proud to be the first deaf Turk in monocultural and Catholic Bavaria. He was entirely cut off from his parents and 8 siblings at age 11. He can not sign beyond small talk, neither does he know German or Turkish, but he is a hard-worker. Arya’s mother married her father to get out of the confining patriarchal structures in her home country. She went to the local deaf school and then to boarding school before the reach of oralism (which defines the education of deaf students through oral language by using lip reading, speech, and mimicking the mouth shapes and breathing patterns of speech, which was in popular use in the 1860s).

She read and wrote Turkish, was an exceptionally gifted sign language interpreter and storyteller. She had two other siblings who were deaf and the whole family signed. The make-up of Arya’s family is that her parents are deaf and her siblings are hearing, however, her parents only understand German, Turkish and German sign language. Arya grew up multilingually family, raised by both her grandmother and aunt who taught Arya German, English, Russian and French in addition to the Turkish and the Turkish and German sign languages. Arya was fluent in pretty early and as the eldest child ended-up being their primary interpreters in social settings. At the age of six, Arya life radically changed: not only did she begin to feel, and learn that her parents’ deafness was looked-down upon by her community, but she became increasingly aware being Turkish and Muslim was, too. As such, she faced for many years increasingly levels of discrimination well into her adolescence. Now an adult and having had kids of her own, Arya has often reflected on her own personal history and admits that she has found it hard to separate the consequences of immigration from the consequences of having deaf parents.


Source: • coda+. n.d. Third Culture Kids (English). [online] Available at: < new-page/identity/tck-english-i/> [Accessed 5 November 2020].


CODA COMMUNITIES IDENTITY AND THIRD CULTURE. CODAs - A child of a deaf adult, often known by the acronym ‘coda’, is a person who was raised by one or more deaf parents or guardians. In many ways, children who grow up crossculturally - who add one or more cultures and languages o their deaf and hearing heritage - whilst also participating in the sphere of

CODA and/or other realms of disabilities is yet to be explored. In many ways, to explore the plurality of experience in relation to CODA communities alongside and within TCK culture is to, in many ways, go beyond traditional categories of diversity/difference like nationality, class, race or ethnicity and to look at the shared commonalities of the experience.

Types of Codas:

Codas of Refugees: Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to circumstances they did not choose, such as war, violence, famine, or natural disasters.

Multiracial Codas - Children from bi/multiracial homes: Children born to parents from at least two races; this may or may not be of the same culture.


Immigrant Codas - Children of immigrants: Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally Citizens.“ Although those parents who inhabit Deaf Nation clearly don’t even have full Citizenship in their host country, they would not call themselves immigrants.

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TCKs testimony about their awakening to their own ‘Third Culture’ shares many commonalities with the Coda experience. Yet, at few points in the history of TCK research is there a mention of Codas or even disability in their discussion of the diversity of experience, and the unique culture of codas identity.

References: • Coda+. 2020. Third Culture Kids (English). [online] Available at: <signsandwords. com/new-page/identity/tck-english-i/> [Accessed 27 October 2020].

To consider the consequences of immigration for those who add another culture, race or ethnicity (with multicultural codas) to the deaf and hearing antagonism in coda identity would offer valuable insights into TCK discourse surrounding the intersections of identity.



Keywords: Immigration; Transnationalism; Pan-Africanism; Intersectionality; Migration; Society; Segmented Assimilation; Gender; Postcolonial Why is it that time and time again we see the erasure of women of colour - especially young women and children - in the narrative of the reconstruction of British national identity in 19th and 20th century postcolonial migration research? In a British context, there are only a few researchers working today who look specifically at the contribution and migratory patterns of black/brown women in a postcolonial context. In my own quest to find out why there is such a visible lack of resource on this elusive sub-group, I happened upon the research of Montaz Marche; Marche, as I later find out, becomes a gateway to not only better understanding the experience within this context, but further provides evidence of the presence of black people(s) or Black ‘Britons’ dating back to the early-18th century. More specifically, Marche’s area of focus illustrates a seldom explored perspective of modern black British History and the concomitant, ongoing racial politics of black women not only in the UK but with high-levels of specificity London itself. As such, we can all better understand the ‘transnational 102 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

movements and connections of migratory subjects, especially young women and children, [who attempt] to re-envision their world and build strong diasporic homes and ties outside the boundaries of [familial ties], motherhood, race, gender, class and nationality’. In this respect, Marche draws comparisons to a ‘wandering womb that resisted fixity and rootedness’, making reference to the Rhizomatic Womb-Space framework rooted in hybrid postcolonial migration and feminine theory and the role it plays in the mobilisation of agency both within the transition and integration of Africans into Western ‘host’ societies. In creating new spaces for minority voices to be heard and their stories to be retold, we are afforded the ability to reflect upon the many ways they sought to reconstruct their social identities through different contacts, connections, and routes rather than roots within a particular home country or ‘national’ culture. On this subject, Montaz builds upon her 2019 research at UCL titled ‘For a Sable Venus to Move: An Analysis of Black Female Migration between Britain and the British Caribbean, 1700-1850 and the Politics of Black Femininity’ in order to further look at the lost legacy of this community; this will be documented in her upcoming PhD thesis at Brighton University, tentatively titled


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‘Mapping the Dark and the Feminine’: An Examination into Black Female Visibility in Eighteenth-Century Britain’ which continues to explores the presence and significance of black women in eighteenth-century London and its environs, alongside her supervisors Professor Karen Harvey and Dr Sadiah Qureshi. So, in an attempt to reflect upon the history of minority and indigenous peoples in the United Kingdom, most records - though their reliability remains contentious, to say the least - divide communities of colour into very strict levels, geographical-based areas of categorisation that include Afro-Caribbean (Black British), Chinese, East-African Asian and South Asian. One such example of this comes courtesy of Minority Rights which can be used to deem the following about migratory patterns and socioeconomic conditions of the aforementioned four-communities in the UK: 104 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

BLACK BRITISH (AFRO-CARIBBEAN) 1. This subgroup was predominantly made up of descendants of immigrants from the West Indies and Africa who migrated to the UK from the 1950s onwards; as such, most live in large cities. 2. The centuries-long history of black people in Britain began with the Roman conquest, with evidence to suggest the presence as early as the twelfth-century. 3. There also remains strong links between black presence and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade which saw the influx of black people(s) being brought to Britain. As such, by the eighteenth century, there were distinct African communities in London, as well as in Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool,

which were the main slave-trading ports - it is thought that by the end of the eighteenth century, at least 10,000 black people were living in London with a further 5,000 in the rest of the country. 4. The first wave of mass immigration to Britain began during World War I when Afro-Caribbeans arrived to join the armed forces and to work in the war industries and merchant navy - a similar pattern was repeated during World War II, of which the most famously cited examples include the 492 Jamaicans who came on the ship Windrush in June 1948. By 1962 there were around 250,000 Afro-Caribbean migrants who had settled permanently in the UK. Most of those who came were young women and men in their early twenties and almost all found work for which they were overqualified. 5. Until 1962 all Commonwealth citizens could freely enter the UK to work. However, the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act subjected Commonwealth citizens to immigration controls. Similarly, The 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act required immigrants to show a close connection with the UK. Despite this, immigration from the West Indies and also African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria continued. 6. Black British people have, and continue to make significant contributions to all walks of life in the UK, but also continue to face very considerable levels of discrimination. 7. The way that the UK’s history of racism continues to profoundly shape the experiences of black people in the UK today is illustrated by the challenges confronting many members of the

‘Windrush generation’, named after the ship that brought one of the first groups of Caribbean immigrants to the UK after World War II.

SOUTH-EAST ASIAN (CHINESE) 1. According to official data, Chinese communities now make up the largest group of immigrants from any country into the UK. However, there is an increasing number of undocumented Chinese immigrants, who face exploitation, poor living conditions and invisibility. 2. There are three main linguistic groups: 1) Cantonese, 2) Hakka and 3) Mandarin - though there are, of course, many more dialects spoken. 3. The Chinese community is widely dispersed throughout the UK, but the main concentration, around half, is in London. There are also established Chinatowns in large cities, such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. 4. Historically, Chinese seamen were employed on British ships from the 1800s onwards. As such, the first permanent large-scale settlement of Chinese occurred in the 1950s, when Britain’s economic boom and labour shortages led to a relaxation of immigration laws to encourage immigrants from overseas British and Commonwealth countries.


5. In the 1990s the second wave of immigrants from Hong Kong came to Britain following the British handover of Hong Kong to China. Higher education is a key component of this exchange between countries with UK universities hosting 120,000 (international) students from China in 2019 alone. 6. The issues confronting the community are shifting as well, with high rates of debt bondage, that often sees victims being trafficked to the UK and ending up in modern-day slavery, with many cases going unreported. 7. Additionally, a key and growing issue for the UK’s Chinese community is a hate crime. According to media reports based on police records, the number of hate incidents against Chinese in the first three months of 2020 was triple that of the same period the year before, both with regard to trade, and also the Covid-19 pandemic to which they have blamed on China for its spread. This has led to fears that racism against British Chinese is going unaddressed.

EAST-AFRICAN ASIANS 1. East-African Asians include Gujaratis and Punjabis who had migrated from the Indian subcontinent to Africa and then from Africa to the UK. Between 1968 and 1974, the main immigration period, over 70,000 Kenyan and Ugandan Asians arrived in Britain. As such, East-African Asians are not distinguished from other people from the Indian subcontinent in official figures.


2. Historically, the British rule in East Africa enhanced the position of Gujarati entrepreneurs who had operated there for centuries, and also introduced a large, though mainly temporary, the population of Punjabi labourers. Following Ugandan independence from Britain in 1962 and Kenyan independence in 1963, the governments introduced ‘Africanisation‘ policies; of which it is often felt that wealthy Asian middle class were the obvious target. 3. During the 1960s thousands of wealthy, middle-class Asian families from East Africa migrated to Britain but found their British status did not allow them to enter Britain freely. 4. The 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act subjected Commonwealth citisens to immigration controls for the first time. Alarmed by the influx of East-African Asians, the British government tightened controls in 1968, requiring immigrants to show a close connection with the UK. As such, a few years later in 1972 immigrants had to obtain work permits unless their parents or grandparents were born in the UK 5. The community has faced racial discrimination from the start. Those of the Muslim faith, like other Muslim communities in the UK, now have to cope with increasing levels of social prejudice since the 11 September 2001 Al Qaeda attack on the United States, the 2005 London public transport bombings and subsequent violent incidents.

SOUTH ASIANS 1. In the UK, the term South Asian usually refers to people from the Indian subcontinent. As such, South Asian minority groups include Indians at a rate of 1.45 million (2.3 per cent), Pakistanis at a rate of 1.17 million (1.9 per cent), Bangladeshis at a rate of 451,500 (0.7 per cent) and other Asians, which include Sri Lankans, as well as third-generation Asians, Asians of mixed parentage, people from Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldive Islands and some from the Middle East. 2. The main religions are religious following are 1) Islam, 2) Hinduism and 3) Sikhism. The Indian community is Hindu, Sikh and Muslim. The Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are each predominantly Muslim. There are also Jains and Buddhists. 3. Most of the community comes from three areas of the subcontinent: Punjab (Pakistan and India), Gujarat (India) and north-east Bengal (Bangladesh), of which the majority of South Asians live in the major cities and large towns throughout the UK. There are significant differences between and within the various South Asian communities, including between first and subsequent generations. 4. Historically, South-Asian servants and seamen - also known as Lascars - were employed by the East India Company, and theatrical performers lived in Great Britain from the seventeenth century onwards, and life was initially very hard because in effect for a long time was a ‘colour bar’ that forced many into poverty and begging as a result which often got them in trouble with the police.

5. The 1660 Navigation Act restricted the number of non-English sailors employed by the East India Company to one-quarter of their crews in order to limit the number of Asians left stranded in London. Pakistani and Indian men were recruited mainly from Punjab in the 1950s and 1960s to resolve manual labour shortages in the post-Second World War reconstruction of Britain. During their time of employment, most sent money home to their extended families and, from the 1960s, the families began to join them in Britain. 6. The events of 11 September 2001 in the US have affected the South Asian community, who account for most of the Muslims in Britain. Racist incidents against South Asians and those who appeared to be Muslim increased, as did police surveillance of the community, increased with the launching of the ‘War on Terror’, along with the 7 July 2005 public transport bombings in London. Racist incidents against the Muslim community, including violent attacks, continue to rise. 7. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, hate crimes have increased against Muslims, particularly those belonging to South Asian communities, due to the fact that they have borne the brunt of numerous conspiracy theories and been falsely accused of having contributed to the spread of the virus.


BLACK BRITISH AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC TESTIMONIES ON POSTWAR MIGRATION AND THE MIGRATORY SUBJECT In an attempt to reposition black women in post-war British society, it is important to recognise the sociopolitical, economic, familial and cultural factors informed, and impacted upon, these women’s migration stories in their attempt to forge new diasporic homes in Britain. Undeniably, amidst their gendered suffering and continued racial marginalisations, we often find a unique form of resilience that helped these women to survive. By engaging with the autoethnographic testimonies of particularly young black women and children, we can better understand the formation of post-racial and multicultural British society that, in essence, needs to consider the multiplicity, divergence, connectivity, and the quest for change of this community, in particular, differentiated from migratory ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors more generally during this period. Even, some of the littlest members of this invasion were very young girls and teenage women whose stories have yet to be fully told; in most cases, their stories have thankfully been preserved in their own words that further illuminates the contemporary dialogue about fractured race-relations now more widely explored under the broad scope of topics now called ‘urban - showcasing the diversity of these women’s experiences in shaping the modern Black-Britons experience.


Whilst most migrants left their homes as families, single women outnumbered men (except during World War I), as they sought out the growing – though limited – economic opportunities - though widespread competition made it increasingly difficult for Black women to secure jobs. Although in the present day, economic migration has somewhat overtaken asylum-based migration, where the population is predominantly made up of those deemed of prime economic ‘active age’ (aged 25 to 54), the majority are female. However, for many, the rising levels of racial discrimination, along with segregation and over-crowding resulted in a migrant experience that was challenging and, at times, overwhelmingly disappointing. This, as a result, led a vast majority of female migrants to enter into the domestic service industry as many others industries were often closed off to women of colour Black-British citisenship in the late-19th century onwards saw an intense struggle for full citisenship and racial equality for migrant communities, in which historical census microdata showcases distinct racial and gender disparities that largely depended on marital status. As such, consistent with the ‘tied-migration’ thesis, while married women had destination outcomes that were similar to those of husbands and/or partners, single women found that they had a greater propensity to reside in metropolitan locations where economic opportunities for women were more plentiful. Although many African women migrate with their husbands and/or children in an effort to improve their economic situation, not all African women migrated specifically for material gain. Some women of colour left their ‘home’ countries to escape unsatisfying relationships and to increase their personal autonomy; they hope to gain greater control

over their labour, their lives and often those of their children (Boyce Davies 2007). Even when women of colour migrate along with their families, living in the host society usually involves some renegotiation of gender roles that often benefits women (Kibria 1994). From the 1980s to the present day, the political and socio-economic conditions on the African continent have also served as major ‘push’ factors for increased migration to Britain and the US, in particular. This included, but are not limited to increasing levels of globalisation, political and economic instability, corruption, famine and war, civil unrest, natural disasters, and/or poverty (asylum/refugee) If anything, Migration Studies enables us to acknowledge and afford agency to the global movements of populations involved in multiple sites and/or stages of migration around the world. It also provides researchers with the tools to comprehend how the current phase of globalisation presents a whole new set of new ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors for diasporic migrants; this is perhaps best understood through the concept of transnationalism - in which transnationals maintain ‘identities that extend across national borders and involve participation in both their home countries and new societies of settlement’ (Swigart 200, p3). ‘... multi-stranded social relations along family, economic and political lines that link together migrants’ societies of origin and settlement. In this way, migrants are said to build transnational social fields that cross[es] geographic, cultural and political borders’ (Basch, 2001 as cited in Foner 2001, p9)

relatives in their home countries - as migrants around the globe remained dedicated to assisting in the development of their homelands - and often represent a critical means of support for many poor families ‘back’ on the continent, as well as functioning as major contributors to the economies of their ‘home’ nations. In their travels back and forth between their home or ‘primary’ residence and secondary ‘host’ nations, transnationals carry both in both directions their cultural and political attitudes which, as a result, are ever-changing. As opposed to older models of assimilation, sociologists now begin to increasingly recognise a new, more complex term known as ‘segmented assimilation’ which theorises that different immigrant groups assimilate into different segments of society. They have since gone on to specifically characterise segmented assimilation as: ‘a situation where outcomes vary across immigrant minorities and where rapid integration and acceptance into the mainstream [society] represents just one possible alternative. As a result, even if they so desire, not all groups will be able to assimilate.’ (Portes and Rumbaut 200, p45) This theory maintains that assimilation is not a uniform process that all groups experience equally and not a desirable process on the part of all migrants, especially those who see their stay as ‘temporary’. Further, segmented assimilation allows researchers to study the pivotal role that ‘race’ plays in migratory practice and attempts at assimilation.

These multi-stranded social relations, as discussed by Basch, predominantly involved African migrants sending remittances back to THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 109

Other possible outcomes in their experiences are remaining part of an ‘immigrant enclave’ also known as a ‘minority oppositional culture’ (Ogbu 1978; Portes and Zhou 1993; Portes and Rumbaut 2001) as black/brown migrants more often than not ‘find themselves ‘branded’ [labelled as ‘immigrants’] and thus bond along [specific] racial, regional or pan-ethnic lines’ (1993: 40). Research by sociologists and others has revealed that at a higher level, African migrants do not experience the returns to education that are realised by Caribbean immigrants (Dodoo 1997; Yesufu 2003). In addition to the variable of race, gender, and class further complicates the lives of women of colour and more specifically, the lives of African migrant women. On the subject, feminist researchers have noted that migration is largely a gendered process (Kibria 1994; Purkayastha et al 1997; Yesufu 2003; Boyce Davies 2007; Reddock 2007). Here too, intersectionality plays a critical role in the returns that African women receive for their level of educational attainment in the West. This includes higher levels of discrimination in the labour market since many of them held foreign degrees and had employers who held stereotypical views of black women. Thus, black female migrants had to take into account the impact of the intersectionality in their life chances in ‘host’ countries. Despite this, however, migrant women of colour have continued to demonstrate high levels of agency in establishing their immersion into a community in order to shield them from the effects of the larger society (Purkayastha et al 1997). By ‘giving voice’ to the experiences, migrant women of colour undeniably work to empower future generations of female migrants.


Source: • Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika, Bukola Salami & Ahmad Karimi (2018) African immigrant women’s experience in western host societies: a scoping review, Journal of Gender Studies, 27:4, 428-444.

STATISTICS ON AFRO-CARIBBEAN MIGRATION: • Migration of Black-Africans to the UK started rather later than that of the Caribbean and South Asian people. • Until the late 1980s, total migration was around 5000 a year. The total reached 20 thousand in a number of years in the 1990s. • The number of migrants increased rapidly at the turn of the century and remained around 30 thousand per year during this decade. • Migration from West and Central Africa increased steadily during this period. • Migration from East Africa increased rapidly in the early 1990s, afterwards falling, but increasing again after 2000. • Migration from Southern Africa was highest around the year 2000.

STATISTICS ON ASYLUM MIGRATION: • Migration for asylum was a major factor underlying Africa migration to the UK. • The total number of asylum applications from Africa steadily increased throughout the 1990s, peaking in 2002, afterwards declining. • The peak was 30.5 thousand in 2002. • There were still 8.8 thousand applications in 2007.

• There were a total of 171.5 thousand asylum applications from African principal applicants over the period 1998-2007.

Google Arts & Culture. n.d. The Black Women’s Movement - Black Cultural Archives. [online] Available at: <https://> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

• Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have experienced wars, civil conflict and political unrest since 1990 and have been the source of asylum applications to the UK. • The bulk of asylum applications are from countries formerly colonised by the UK. • Eastern and Southern Africa was the largest source of asylum applications. • The largest individual source of applications was Somalia (43 thousand), followed by Zimbabwe (21 thousand), Congo and DR Congo (both 11.5 thousand), Nigeria (9.8 thousand) and Algeria (8.3 thousand).

Apkan, P., 2019. These Incredible Women Are Reclaiming Black History For Future Generations. [online] Refinery29. Available at: <https://www.refinery29. com/en-gb/black-women-history-uk> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

Women Center, 2018. Teaching Women’s History: Women Of The Great Migration. [online] New York Historical Centre: Women at the Center. Available at: <http://> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

References: • Chatelain, M., 2015. The Forgotten Girls Who Left The South And Changed History. [online] Time. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

UCL. 2019. Uncovering Black Women In Eighteenth- And Nineteenth-Century Britain. [online] Available at: <https:// uncovering-black-women-eighteenth-andnineteenth-century-britain> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

Adegoke, Y., n.d. Have Women Of Color Been Written Out Of The Women’s Movement? - Google Arts & Culture. [online] Google Arts & Culture. Available at: < theme/have-women-of-color-beenwritten-out-of-the-women-s-movement/ IwJyavWeK7cmKg?hl=en> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

UCL. 2019. Black History Month: Montaz Marche, History MA Graduate & Researcher in Black Feminist History [online] Available at: <https://www.ucl.> [Accessed 5 November 2020].

Osirim, Mary J. “African Women in the New Diaspora: Transnationalism and the (Re) Creation of Home.” African and Asian Studies 7 (2008): 367-394.



THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS WHO LEFT THE SOUTH AND CHANGED HISTORY. Image courtesy of TIME Magazine. Full article can be found here: time. com/3857576/girls-great-migration/ A“Northern Invasion” was coming, the Chicago Defender declared in early 1917: that spring, specifically May 15, would begin the Great Northern Drive. Southern blacks would abandon Jim Crow’s regime and seek their economic and social freedoms in the North. And Chicago was waiting for them. The Defender, which was founded 110 years ago this month, was the most influential African American newspaper of the 20th century, not least because its entrepreneurial founder and editor, Robert Sengstacke Abbott, used it as a catalyst for the Great Migration, a movement that would change the color and composition of American cities. Some of the littlest members of this invasion were girls and teenage women, whose stories have yet to be fully told. Reaching across a century, their tale draws a direct line from the desperate denizens of the Jim Crow South to the striving residents of Northern cities—and all the way to the White House. Luckily, their stories have been preserved, and in their own words. In response to Abbott’s call, thousands of letters poured into the Defender’s South Side Chicago office. Would-be migrants sought employment connections, train tickets, and any form of confirmation that ‘up North’ would be everything Abbott promised and more. 112 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Among these dream-seekers who put pen to paper to plan their great escapes were scores of girls and teenage women. These letters, printed in the pages of the Defender, and other reflections from African American girls who settled on Chicago’s South Side, fueled my scholarly search to understand how girls experienced, shaped and understood the mass exodus that roughly spanned 1917 to 1970, during which an estimated 7 million blacks settled in urban corridors. Girls’ letters to Abbott spoke volumes of the struggles of everyday life. Girls revealed the poignancy of being a child while confronting the very adult economic pressures families endured. Girls labored as sharecroppers, domestics and low-wage workers in the post-Reconstruction South, and they hoped Chicago could provide better paying jobs. Older teenage girls shouldered the responsibility of supporting families at the expense of their education. Girls also hoped that they could use the beauty products or attend the dance venues that the Defender advertised. They wanted to remake themselves into city girls—modern, stylish and in control of their futures. Ten days before Abbot’s Northern Migration Day, a girl from Port Arthur, Tex., asked him for money for transportation and ultimately a pathway to transform her life.



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“Dear Sir: I am a reader of the Chicago Defender I think it is one of the Most Wonderful Papers of our race printed. Sirs I am writeing to see if You all will please get me a job. And Sir I can wash dishes, wash iron nursing work in groceries and dry good stores. Just any of these I can do. Sir, who so ever you get the job from please tell them to send me a ticket and I will pay them. When I get their as I have not got enough money to pay my way. I am a girl of 17 years old and in the 8 grade at Knox Academy School. But on account of not having money enough I had to stop school. Sir I will thank you all with all my heart. May God Bless you all.” That same summer, in August, a 15-year old girl from New Orleans pleaded with Abbott: “Dear sir: i am wrighting you for help I haird of you by telling my troble I was to to right 114 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

you. I wont to come ther and work I have ben looking for work here for three month…i am 15teen…if you will sin me a pass you will not be sorry I am not no lazy girl i am smart I have got very much learning but I can do any work that come to my hand.” Some girls sought advice about migration without their parents’ consent, believing that they knew what was best for their families. A teenager from Alexandria, La., risked angering her father by seeking advice about Chicago. “There isnt a thing for me to do, the wages here is from a dollar and a half a week. What could I earn Nothing…I have and a mother and a father my father do all he can for me but it is so hard. A child with any respect about her self or his self wouldn’t like to see there mother and father work so hard and earn nothing I feel it my duty to help…father seem to care and then again don’t seem to

but Mother and I am tired tired of all of this. I wrote to you all because I believe you will help.” Mothers also wrote to Abbott hoping to create better opportunities for their daughters, many of whom began working as domestics in white households before they had their tenth birthdays and rarely attended their one-room schoolhouse during the cotton harvest season.

As producer Shonda Rhimes prepares to bring Isabel Wilkerson’s Great Migration story The Warmth of Other Suns to television audiences and as art lovers flock to New York’s Museum of Modern Art to catch the rare display of all of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series paintings together, we have to remember that we have much more to learn, see and hear from the Great Migration. Girls’ stories, especially their letters, make real the urgency and the hope of the domestic migration that changed the world.

One mother wrote: “Gentlemen: I want to get in tuch with you in regard of good location & a job i am for race elevation every way. I want a job in a small town some where in north where I can receive verry good wages and where I can educate my 3 little girls and demand respect of intelegence.” It’s hard to track what happened to those specific writers, but few, if any, may have imagined that their journey would lead to the monumental demographic shifts that globalized black culture and would yield a black First Lady, the granddaughter of a migrant, who proudly called herself a “South Side Girl” while campaigning for her husband. Nearly a century after the initial call for blacks to seek their destiny in the industrial centers of the nation, the Great Migration’s complicated legacy continues to shape dialogue about race relations and the broad scope of topics now called ‘urban,’ from housing to employment to education.


UNCOVERING BLACK WOMEN IN 18TH AND 19TH CENTURY BRITAIN. MONTAZ MARCHÉ PHD AT UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, UK. Montaz Marché works on modern black British History, particularly of the 18-20th century. Recently, her research has explored 18th century gender, racial politics, and experiences of black women in London. Article courtesy of UCL and can be found here: uncovering-black-women-eighteenth-andnineteenth-century-britain Did you know that the first woman to present a petition to the Houses of Parliament in the 18th century was a black woman, or that one of the most famous prostitutes in London was also black? Mary Prince, the first woman to present a petition to the Houses of Parliament in 1829 and Black Harriot, renounced bawd of Covent Garden and mistress to men like Lord Sandwich in the 1770s represent merely the tip of the iceberg of the fascinating discoveries of black women in the 18th and 19th centuries. Full of vitality and contrasting identities, it is now becoming impossible to deny that black women held a unique and compelling lives in Britain, across a wide spectrum of social classes, experiences and places.


So, to celebrate the diversity of black experience during this Black History Month, let’s look at the lives of black women in Britain and the role that these women played within the social landscape of the 18th and 19th century. As servants, prostitutes, activists, propertied women, mothers, wives, daughters and much more, my recent MA dissertation, ‘For A Sable Venus to Move: An Analysis of Black Female Migration between Britain and the British Caribbean, 1700-1850 and the Politics of Black Femininity’, explored how black women were a fixed demographic in the social landscape of 18th-19th century Britain, with varied social identities. Present and thriving they may have been, but it’s important, first and foremost, to grasp the number of women under investigation. Historians agree that black demographics throughout England in the eighteenth century ranged from 10,000 20,000 people. Judging by the demographic ratios seen in slave transportation, the largest movement of black people in this period, black women were outnumbered by men 2:1. Naturally, it can only be assumed that within the small population to begin with, the number of black women in Britain were even smaller, ranging from 5,000 upwards.

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Still, in my research I uncovered over 100 black women within urban areas of London and the South East of England, in places like Chichester, Bristol, Westminster, Middlesex and Southampton. who assumed diverse roles in society, including as servants, property-owners, wives, and traders, and whose identities and knowledge often stretched the Atlantic world between the Caribbean and England. Their presence in Britain is significant first as an attribute of Britain’s global dominance. The combination of British imperialism and “economic landmark” of the industrial revolution had placed Britain at the centre of a global trading network and a pinnacle western power. Concurrently, the fervent slave trade which transported an estimated 3.1 million slaves from Africa to the colonies and beyond both enabled the expansive development of the empire, whilst also complicating the

experience of black people in England. Unlike the Caribbean, slavery was never codified institutionally into law in Britain. However, the meanings of race in and race relations in Britain were contradictory and in constant flux: on the one hand, the abolitionist movement of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries called for the end of the transatlantic slave trade, while the courts saw continual fluctuations in the legal sphere between the legality and illegality of slavery. Yet, this context of economic prosperity and racial ambiguity provided opportunities for black women to assimilate as servants and contributors to this society, whilst reaping the benefits of their implied freedom as citizens of the mainland, the place where the ‘air was too pure for a slave to breathe’. In my research, I was interested in exploring the significance of migration, an umbrella THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 117

term referring to the variety of black female movement and resettlement, from the British Caribbean to mainland Britain, to highlight how black women constructed their identities in England as ‘free entities’. My research brought out the exceptional stories of Mary Prince or Black Harriot, but also lesser known black women of eighteenth century England, such as the criminal Ann Duck, a self-confessed prostitute and thief who was executed in 1744, or the story of ‘Catherine’, the negro servant of Ralph Paine esq. in 1744. Figures like Catherine who originated from the island of St Christopher’s highlight the significance of transatlantic migration between the Caribbean and England in this period. The differing attitudes towards blackness between the Caribbean and England, despite their unity as one empire, highlights the distinct and rare opportunities for black women in Britain in this period. For example, records of Christian burials on sanctified ground, show how nearly 20 black women from the British Caribbean became propertied married heiresses like Dido Elizabeth Belle, who came to England in the 1760s and became immortalised in a portrait by Johann Zoffany in 1778. The reality of what it meant to be black, to be a woman, and to be British for all black women in Britain was to assimilate into British society. Black women assimilated rather than integrated because integration implies an acceptance of black cultural practices in the British community, which did not largely occur. These cultural norms conflated with traditions of Christianity, gentility and status that British character prided itself upon. Saidiya Hartman states that only through scandal do black people overtly appear in the archives; embracing cultural norms would create precisely the scandal that was inherently dangerous to the security of black female position within the British community. Therefore, the reason why black 118 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

women are so undetectable in the archives is precisely because they desired it to be so. Black women, as social chameleons, uniquely adopted the desired characteristics of British civility, thus becoming undistinguishable from their neighbours and successfully assimilating into communities in Britain, their home. The largest record of black female activity within my research was the record of black women’s baptisms, burials and marriages in parish registers; the actions that were the epitome of common female interactions with society. Baptisms prove how black women actively engaged in a careful process of assimilation, embracing the central pillars of British community imbued within the church. They had to ensure that they were beyond the ‘foreigner’ or the ‘outsider’ stereotype whilst also ensuring a social as well as financial and physical safety, which actions such as this, that paralleled them to their British neighbours, did. Across 70 baptisms of adults and children, black women adopted a clear naming pattern, using names like Mary, Elizabeth and Ann. Yet, many black women sought to define their own assimilation. 20 runaway or Hue and Cry Advertisements indicate that poor or enslaved black woman, who laboured for particular masters, would runaway to free themselves from the confines of a life of accepted but indentured subjugation, whereas free women of nobility, such as Catherine Despard, the black wife to political radical Colonel Despard or Dido Elizabeth Belle, whose prominence stemmed from their marriages or families and who were visible public figures, adopted all the idealistic qualities of femininity in order to assimilate in to the higher social orders of women. The lives of black women in Britain still remain a mystery. Some answers will remain lost to us, by nature of the black female presence in the archives, but some remain mysterious simply because of the uniqueness of their



existence. For example, Charlotte Gardiner was a black woman executed for harrowing crowds during the Gordon Riots in 1780. But the extent of her involvement and her political motivation remain unknown because she presented no defence at her trial. It is also unclear whether she was given an opportunity to speak and refused, or whether she was denied the opportunity to present a defence. Lacking further fragmentary context, she will go down in the record as a political protestor. Yet if black women were an implicit but undeniably present aspect of 18th-19th century Britain, the question must be asked: why are they deemed historically ‘invisible’? Black people often appear as references or as passing comments within the historical archives, demarcated as the “negro” or the “black” and little else. Still in this era of diversity, culture and celebration, my research as part of the building fascination with black British history, alongside historians like Gretchen Gerzina and Kathleen Chater, and heartfelt determination to integrate theories of black feminism and empowerment into Black British historical research, thus begins a the reimagining of black female experience. Within the celebration of Black History Month, I wish to prove that historiographical research into black women has enough breadth, substance and vivacity to engage with the conscious process of black female selfidentification and integration; a process that each and every black woman had to endure and in doing so emboldened a diversified social landscape of Britain that isn’t all that different from the modern day.

women represent social struggles like our own today. In a country where whiteness was the norm, they were the ‘foreigners’ but still they married like their female neighbours, raised children, existing often without the families, support or amenities that we so often take for granted today. In doing so, black women built and secured lives for themselves where they weren’t simply the ‘foreigner’ they were ‘British’. As ‘British’ woman, the ideas of ‘womanhood’ in Britain becomes so much bigger, an amalgamation of journeys beyond the pop cultured ‘big wigged’ gentility. Even more than I ever did before, I see the 18th century in a whole new light, and thus I encourage, advocate and hope to continue building a future where the image of the ‘British’ woman in the 18th-19th century encompasses every story and every shade.

There is no denying, for a research such as this, what is required is a broad and comprehensive analysis of as many varieties of archives as possible. Such exhaustive research is difficult and unrelenting but remains important, nonetheless, for these THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 121


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The ‘expat’ label is often misunderstood and misapplied. Expats are usually perceived as those who have high-powered, high-mobility, often resulting in the label achieving mythical, glamorous, and unattainable status. The truth is that the definition of an expatriate is an easy one. This label can apply to any person who leaves their native country and relocates to another, regardless of the length of time, purpose, or rationale. Whether you move because you’re a diplomat, an educator, an immigrant, a refugee, or a plain and simple adventurer, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re an expat.


Therefore this label applies to such individuals just by virtue of crossing international borders and setting up a home somewhere new. Whilst opportunities for increased global mobility and international access are available to a wider scope of people, there remain few accounts of black expat life. As the visibility of the black expat perspective remains limited it, therefore, becomes important to both highlight and explore the obstacles and challenges of this community that is undeniable complicated further by race and ethnicity.




In this context, it feels important to distinguish between National, International, Transnational and Global migration in order to further define the impact this can have on exposure to and diversity surrounding diasporic cultures when moving to new nations.

Bi/ multi-cultural and/or bi/ multiracial children, the children of immigrants, the children of refugees and the children of (ethnic) minorities.

This becomes particularly relevant with visually marginalised cultures and falls under the following TCK categories:

‘One who is aware of and understand the existence of the various cultures, has pride in one’s own cultural heritage and learns to respect the cultural background of others.’

The definition of an international person as defined by Yuko Shinoda who says:

National versus International

National National means relating to the whole of a country or nation rather than part of it, or to other nations. Nationalism, therefore, characterises the identification with one’s own nation’s customs and beliefs of a particular country.

Whilst national pertains to a single country and involves people from that country only. International characterises the involvement of two or more countries of the world.

International International characterises the existing, occurring, or carried on exchange and/or interaction (in several forms) between two or more nations. International mostly means something involving more than a single country; generally existing beyond national boundaries, this is vital in the establishment of one’s own identity and understanding towards others.


Transnational Transnational characterises relationships and/or interactions in economic, political, and cultural processes extending or operating across national boundaries. The impact of the transnational migration of groups, although different, need to be understood therefore within the context of globalization in which changes created are mutually reinforcing.

International versus Transnational The difference between international and transnational is that international is of and/ or having to do with more than one nation, while transnational is between or beyond national boundaries.

Transnational versus Nationalism Transnationalism is commonly contrasted with nationalism. Here, nationalism is characterised as a strong belief among people who share a common language, history, and culture that the interests of the nation-state are paramount. This requires a strong sense of belonging, identity, and loyalty where the benefits of membership are acquired through Citizenship.


International versus Global

Relating to the whole world and/or worldwide, global is now considered as being closely connected by modern telecommunications and as being interdependent economically, socially, and politically.

Whilst the term international has a smaller scope encompassing only two or more countries, global has a much larger scope which includes the whole world. Although they are sometimes used in lieu of each other, ‘global’ means ‘all-encompassing and worldwide’ while ‘international’ means ‘foreign or multinational’.





TRANSNATIONALISM CONTINUED… Historically, migrant groups moving from one nation to another were expected to prove their belonging and loyalty by adopting the prescribed moral and political values of their nation of immigration. This dynamic gave rise to large numbers of ethnic communities within nation-states, retaining elements of culture in terms of identity yet remaining subservient to national loyalty. Nonetheless, the loyalties of migrant groups often transcend this critical feature of the nation-state with primary allegiance and identity given to religion or their culture of origin. Dual loyalties have led some nations to liberalise their laws regarding dualCitizenship or provide rights and privileges to non-citizen groups who permanently reside within their borders, while others have adopted the opposite position and made their immigration policies more exclusionary. Transnationalism has significant implications for the way we conceptualise immigration. Traditionally, immigration has been seen as an autonomous process, driven by conditions such as poverty and overpopulation in the country of origin and unrelated to conditions in the receiving country. Even though overpopulation, economic stagnation, and poverty all continue to create pressures for migration, they alone are not enough to produce large international migration flows. There are many countries, for example, which lack significant emigration history despite longstanding poverty. Also, most international immigration flows from the global South to the global North are not made up by the poorest of the poor, but, generally by professionals.

The promoters for migration are not only embodied within the country of origin but instead, they are rooted within the broader geopolitical and global dynamics. Geographic migration patterns suggest that receiving countries become home to immigrants from the receiving country’s zone or ‘sphere of influence’. Then, immigration is but a fundamental component of the process of capitalist expansion, market penetration, and globalisation. There are systematic and structural relations between globalisation and immigration. In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organisation has a level of cultural, economic, military, or political exclusivity. The emergence of a global economy has contributed both to the creation of potential emigrants abroad and to the formation of economic, cultural, and ideological links between industrialized and developing countries that later serve as bridges for the international migration.

References: • Black Identity + International Living, available via about-new/ •

Huff, R (u.d.) Britannica Online Transnationalism available via www. transnationalism [Accessed 27 October 2020]


IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEES IN TCK’S CULTURE. TCKs are more often than not distinguished from other immigrants by the fact that TCKs do not expect to settle down permanently in the places where they migrate to. In early research surrounding TCK culture, Pollock describes that when TCKs repatriate, they often feel like ‘hidden immigrants’ - though they look akin to neighbouring community members and are in a sense, accepted by them, their thoughts are often vastly different. Due to their lack of language skills or tell-tale accents, deviations from the standard behaviours of that particular society, and often starkly differing values or worldviews, TCKs may feel internally alien and foreign although externally, they fit right in with the community. ‘No longer can we base our paradigms on those learned from the monoculture of our parents’ - Ruth van Reken.

These include: 1. Foreigner – look different, think different. For the Foreigner who looks different and thinks differently, things are relatively straight forward – people know you are different and act accordingly. 2. Hidden Immigrant – look alike, think different. For Hidden Immigrants, such as TCKs repatriated to their home country, things can be rather confusing as people expect you to know the same things and know the language. 3. Adopted or ‘Adoptee’ – look different, think alike. For TCKs International Schools, for example, everyone can be who they want – this is normal. You can’t lose who you are, you can only keep growing,” says van Reken. 4. Mirror – look alike, think alike

As people travel more and trade is being quickly globalised, there are fewer truly monocultural societies. As a result, van Reken and David Pollock defined four basic cultural types that stand alongside the TCK definition.

Nieto (1999), ‘Culture consists of the values, traditions, social and political relationships, and worldview created, shared, and transformed by a group of people bound together by a common history, geographic location, language, social class, and/or religion.’ Hidden Diversity — a diversity of experience that shapes a person’s life and worldview but is not readily apparent on the outside, unlike the usual diversity markers such as race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. (Paulette Bethel & Ruth E.Van Reken, 2003)




THIRD CULTURE KIDS, DO REFUGEE KIDS COUNT? There are clear similarities shared between TCK’s and those (self)-classified as refugees/ immigrants; both have a primary ‘passport country’ and the countries or cultures they grew up outside of the birth country (hence caught between two cultural influences and allegiances). However, the key difference emerges in the fact that refugees are not brought up in a different country or culture because of their parent’s career, but due to political circumstances. There is also undeniably a level of privilege, race-based biases among the traditional TCK definition that refugees do not typically experience. There is cause to say that - through selfidentification - refugees can be classified as cross-cultural kids as they too have lived in - or meaningfully interacted with - two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years. It is clear then that both those termed as immigrants and bicultural kids can also be included under this banner. Here, emphasis on self-identification is key to the evolution of TCK/CCK research terminology. What About Immigrants? ‘Immigration’ was most definitely a keyword in 2016. Articles defaming Syrian refugees, postulating Brexit outcomes, exploration of the European bans on traditional Islamic attire, and the recent U.S. presidential elections showed us how immigration is no doubt a central issue in international affairs. Unfortunately, tensions surrounding immigration are unlikely to dissipate in the future as global warming leads to a rising number of climate refugees in 132 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

search of a new home. It feels that concepts surrounding immigration are highly centralised in political speeches which are full of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ rhetoric. With this in mind, is it possible for someone to identify with both groups? The answer is yes. Most often, they are children of immigrant families, missionaries, diplomats, military personnel, employees of international companies, and refugees. So why are TCKs relevant to discussions on immigration? Their perspective on immigration and global Citizenship are not only eye-opening but highly useful considering the rapid pace of globalisation. Not only do they offer new ideas encouraging us to rethink our overuse, repeated and outdated perceptions on immigration., but most importantly, from a young age, they understand that friendship and respect have nothing to do with skin colour or cultural differences. It is evident that there is much to be learned from immigrant experiences which can help to prevent the negative outcomes and floundering integration perceived as resulting from global migration. Similarly, such experiences can help politicians and organisations to better outline immigration policies in the face of rising xenophobia and nationalism. It is time to revolutionise out-of-date perceptions of what ‘globalisation’ looks like - in racial terms - in the socio-cultural field. At the very least, there is more room for discussion. It seems that those labelled as immigrants/ migrants/refugees suffer from a similar but opposite dynamic than the traditional TCK and/ or CCKs that is embodied, foremostly in their labelling as such. Because TCK as a term was first applied to American Citizens living abroad, the chances of a TCK looking very different

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to the country they’re in is extremely high. Therefore, naturalisation is much harder, as is acceptance of naturalisation. Emerging from visibly minority communities, the resonance in their emotional landscape is also impacted by their visible differences in the host-culture. The larger the difference, the more varied the outcomes due to cultural complexity beyond their control – with all the innate pros and cons that come with it; being seen as ‘foreign’ in a country that legally recognises them. Hence, their intersectional cross-cultural experiences - due to their being part of a minority group, etc. - mean it is vital within research to recognise the distinctiveness of their different cross-cultural experiences and provide a more nuanced range of their experiences as another form of sub-culture in its own right; an intersectional diasporic subculture.

What does TCK culture mean to visible marginal communities? As sociologist Van Reken said, ‘People hear [the TCK’s] name and instantly picture [their] face and form.’ Here, the designation of Cross-cultural intersectionality - as explored by Tanya Crossman in her blog ‘Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century (2019) and the impact of erasure at the hand of the TCK label through looking at the intersections of: 1. TCK + Mixed cultural/ethnic heritage: The key difference is visibility. A child of mixed ethnic heritage may find they look “different” no matter where they are – that they are obviously, visibly “other” no matter where they are.




2. TCK + Immigrant: Immigrant Expat to refer to families who experienced both immigration and subsequent expatriation. These families are connected to the parents’ original culture, the naturalised passport country, and the culture(s) they live in as expatriates. • Returned Immigrant Expats – families who returned to the parents’ original country, but now with foreign Citizenship 3. TCK + Cross-Cultural Adoption: who lived as expatriates, foreign passport holders, in their birth countries Despite cultural adaptability, there are also the limits of that adaptability; the way people perceive black/brown bodies and the way society concurrently views treats and sympathises with a differing culture and race, defies the most basic inferences posed by the TCK classification. Does TCK culture have a race problem? Where are the accounts (including discourse, testimonies and research specifically) of TCK-identifying people of colour? It is evident that much of the early research that remains vital to the TCK definition is undeniably and overly dominated by the experiences of upper-class white people, whilst concurrently, the representation of people of colour under the labels of ‘migrant’, ‘immigrant’ refugee’ and in more extreme cases ‘illegal aliens’ has been tarnished by, and in, the global media reportage. Here too we find that the TCKs, in many respects, has yet to address any correlation between the rationale for the high-mobility of many expats to the history of colonialism and imperialism.

The hierarchy of foreignness exemplified by the expatriate versus immigrant dichotomy is key to understanding what makes a TCK: while ‘immigrant’ is overwhelmingly used to refer to a person of colour living in the west, ‘expatriate’ refers to a white person living in the East. As currently used, expat and TCK are white people’s equivalent for a migrant of colour and their children, used to elevate white migrants’ status and differentiate them from immigrants. Falling on either side of the dichotomy depends on a person’s race and the wealth of native country - Paniz Khosroshahy, 2016 TCK culture is race-blind, but this only leads to it embodying, promoting and glorifying whiteness only. And double standards don’t end here. Much of TCK writing and discussions have a futuristic post-racial aura where nationality, culture and skin colour don’t matter. Except that they do. With the emphasis in the original definition placed on the frequency of travel, as well as the reason for travel, TCK culture seldom acknowledges the threat of physical violence and accompanying dehumanisation that bodies of colour are subject too when entering new cultures, as well as throughout the process of travel. Other juxtapositions include (ibid.): • Expats hang out in ‘bubbles’ while immigrants are often blamed for socialising with their ethnic group, seen as a refusal to integrate.




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• While people of colour are shamed for their subpar English and accents, many expats live abroad without necessarily having to learn the local language. • Not to mention how the TCK hold predominantly American accents while people of colour are often told their accents are not understandable. • While many people of colour plan for their children to be born in the West simply to give them a better shot at life, TCKs born abroad are considered utilising their white privilege saves them from their inferior place of birth. • TCKs proudly proclaim that they are citizen’s of the world, while Muslims are forced to renounce their ties to their religion and homeland to prove how American they are.

Khosroshahy (2016) in their Galdem article declares that: ‘TCK culture cannot see itself as removed from wider patterns of migration, racial profiling, racist immigration systems and neocolonialism. I want white TCKs to take a step back because [...] the experience of people of colour is never packaged as a fancy, edgy title to write listicles about. I want white TCKs to take a step back in conversations about culture, alienation, nationality and migration because some of the worst racism I have experienced has come from TCKs. The pervasiveness of racism in TCK communities are testaments to the inefficacy of “diversity” and exposure to other cultures in dismantling white supremacy’.


References: • D. C. Pollock and R. E. Van Reken (2010) Third Culture Kids - The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. Quercus Publishing: London. •

Asian American Pacific Islander Refugee (2016) Third Culture Kids, Do Refugee Kids Count?. [online] Available at: <aapirefugee.> [Accessed 29 September 2020]. Park, S Y, (2017) Third Culture Kids’ View On Immigration and Global Citizenship’ Special Contributor for Globalization Issues. Available at: < third-culture-kids-view-on-immigration-andglobal-Citizenship>[Accessed 29 September 2020].

Quora. n.d. How Is Being A Third Culture Kid Different From Being A Second-Generation Immigrant?. [online] Available at: <www.> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

Duncan, B (2019) Effects of the Third-culture Kid Experience on Adult Ethnocultural Traits. Roosevelt University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Available at: < 957a36ba1340ea1940d50bcea9a/1?ac countid=10342&cbl=18750&diss=y&pqorigsite=gscholar> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

Ruth Hill Useem, “Third Cultural Factors in Educational Change,” in Cultural Challenges to Education: The Influence of Cultural Factors in School Learning, edited by Cole S. Brembeck and Walker H. Hill (Lexington, MA: Lexington Book, 1973), 122.

These are excerpts from “Phoenix Rising: A Question of Cultural Identity”—an excellent article on cultural marginality as experienced by TCKs. It is written by Barbara Schaetti and the entire article can be found at www.

Globally Grounded. n.d. Cross Cultural Kids. [online] Available at: <globallygrounded. com/third-culture-kids/> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

Crossman, T., 2019. Are Immigrant Kids Tcks?. [online] MISUNDERSTOOD. Available at: < are-immigrant-kids-tcks/> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

Khosroshahy, P., 2019. Immigrant Vs. Expatriate: On Being A Third Culture Kid | Gal-Dem. [online] gal-dem. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

“Children who accompany their parents into another culture [usually for a parent’s career choice.]” — Dr. Ruth Hill Useem, Sociologist, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University, Originator of the term

Terry, J., 2016. Immigrants Are Third Culture Kids Too. [online] The Third Culture Kid Project. Available at: < the-third-culture-kids-digest/august-2016/ immigrants-are-third-culture-kids-too/> [Accessed 29 September 2020].

Plenary talk at ICMK Manila, October, 1984.

David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds, Nicholas Brealey/Intercultural Press, London, p. 53.

Paulette Bethel & Ruth E.Van Reken (2003)




TYPES OF TCK’S. The composition of TCK sponsors changed greatly after WWII. Prior to WWII, 66% of TCK’s came from missionary families and 16% came from business families. After WWII, with the increase of international business and the rise of two International Superpowers, the composition of international families changed. Sponsors are generally broken down into five categories: Missionary (17%), Business (16%), Government (23%), Military (30%), and “Other” (14%). Information sources from www.tckworld. com/tckdefine.html and what-is-a-tck-or-cck/whats-a-cck/ Useem, Ruth H. (1999). “Third Culture Kids: Focus of major study—TCK “mother” pens history of field” URL useem/home.html. Accessed May 27, 2003.

‘BIZ KIDS’, BUSINESS BRAT OR ‘CORPORATE KID’ (whose parents worked with international business) • 63% of business TCKs have lived in foreign countries at least 10 years but are more likely than children in missionary families to live in multiple countries. • Business TCKs have fairly high interaction with both their host nationals and people from their host country. • Some prefer instead to simply be called TCKs or Global Nomads.



(whose parents served in the military abroad) • TCKs who have parents or guardians affiliated with the military have varying levels of exposure to local culture. Military brats are associated with a unique subculture and cultural identity. Military children who are immersed in local culture from birth tend to show an extremely high level of cultural shaping, and upon relocation, they are likely to cling to said culture for years, if not their lifetime. • Within the military culture, the term military brat is not considered to be a pejorative, but rather connotes affection and respect. • This lifestyle may also lead to a separationist and sometimes elitist attitude among some MB’s such distinctions between Navy Brats, Officer’s Brats or Enlisted Brats. • The military brats subculture has emerged over the last 200 years. The age of the phenomenon has meant military brats have also been described by a number of researchers as one of America’s oldest and yet least well-known and largely invisible subcultures. They have also been described as a ‘modern nomadic subculture’.


(children of employees in petroleum companies)



(kids of missionary parents)

• Missionary Kids (MKs) typically spend the most time overseas, of any TCKs, in one country. 85% of MKs spend more than 10 years in foreign countries and 72% lived in only one foreign country; this term can be applied to any denomination of a religion. • Of all TCKs, MKs generally have the most interaction with the local populace and the least interaction with people from their passport country. They are also the most likely of the TCKs to integrate themselves into the local culture. As such, MK’s struggle to adjust to the parents’ culture; the majority of MKs identify mostly with the country in which their parents served. • The term is more specifically applied when these children return to their “home” or passport country (the country of their Citizenship), and often experience various difficulties identifying with fellow Citizens and integrating back into their home culture. The resulting feeling is described as ‘reverse culture shock’. • 83% of missionary kids have at least one parent with an advanced degree. • MKs are more likely to be bi-cultural, as opposed to multicultural.


(children who relocate to various countries with their parents who are educators in international schools) • This creates a unique paradigm of a nuclear family whose family-work-school-social experiences are intertwined. • Due to globalisation and the transient geographical nature of most millennials’ careers, it’s become a growing phenomenon: third culture kids are part and parcel of the world’s multicultural fabric.

DIPLO-BRATS, NONMILITARY GOVERNMENT OR FOREIGN SERVICE BRATS (FSB) (whose parents served (full-time) in the foreign service and international nonprofit organisations) • Some of these TCKs may grow up moving from country to country in the diplomatic corps while others may live their lives near military bases. • FSB’s may spend the majority of their childhood outside their parents’ home country. • Foreign Service brats are faced with frequent moves, and possibly the absence of a parent. • Some Foreign Service brats will grow up to take on roles similar to their parents, while the majority will pursue a private-sector career. • Many of these children feel very different from their peers if they are eventually repatriated.


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Like most of the other careers that send employees abroad, involvement with the host culture can vary greatly. Not all TCK families have the careers listed above: • Global Nomads (McCaig 1994).

• Children of those working for an intergovernmental agency. • Children of those working for an international non-governmental organisation. • Children of those working in media and/or athletic industries.

• Transient people. • Cultural chameleons (Moore and Barker, 2012). • Internationally Mobile Adolescents (Gerner, et al. 1992).



TCK IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT. Dr. Barbara Schaetti developed a TCK Identity Development Model (adapted in part from William E. Cross Jr.’s research on identity development) and defines the term ‘identity’ as ‘simply the sense of who each of us is’. The development of identity is the ‘search for congruence (agreement or harmony) in our sense of who we are’. This begins in earnest in mid to late adolescence. Understanding our relationship within and among many different groupings that come into our conscious awareness gives meaning to who we know ourselves to be. As a result of the nature of their cross-cultural and mobile lives, TCKs often experience the paradoxical situation of being so ‘profoundly connected yet simultaneously disconnected to people and places around the world’ (Pollock and Van Reken, u.d. p.40). Therefore, as identity often forms from the influences around us, TCKs have a very different identity development than people who have grown up in one culture. Forming a concrete identity can be a struggle for TCKs, due to their often-shifting situations and the need to re-learn and adjust to new environments. This chameleon-like quality of learning to blend into new cultures and situations can affect their identity and carry over into adulthood.

These global nomads’ lives are planted in, rooted to, and watered by the third culture experience (Pollock and Van Reken, Third Culture Kids, p.22)’. Marginality (Fail et a., 2004, Belonging, identity and TCK’s) Marginality is a subtopic of identity that is often discussed under the TCK definition. The sense of ‘not-belonging’ can be intense for TCKs and will contribute to the formation of identity; hence having true peers with whom they can validate their experiences can emotional development as they realize that they are not alone in their experiences or worldview. Fail et al (2004): ‘[TCKs’] identities tend to be founded upon their goals and aspirations rather than upon their backgrounds.’ The fluctuation and transition TCKs go through keeps them from forming the roots and stable connections, which are important factors in identity. Thus, their identities tend to be formed around things other than the traditional relationships and locations, often instead centring on goals. There are no hard and fast conclusions about identity and transition. The variability of every TCK’s personality and being, along with multiple other factors of immeasurable and fluid nature, all come together to conclude that the effect of transition on identity cannot be generalised to be either good or bad.

When asked the question, “Who are you?” many people, even if they have lived in crosscultural settings do not always have a clear answer. Hence, ‘TCK identity development is complex and different from their monocultural peers.


DR. SCHAETTI’S MODEL DESCRIBES FIVE STAGES OF IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT: At this point in the TCKs’ life, they do not fully realise how different they are from their monocultural counterparts. So accustomed to their trans-cultural, itinerant lives, they believe that this ‘unusual but incredible’ lifestyle is relatively normal. They are living life the only way they know how to, without realising how much it is shaping who they are. - Quick, The Global Nomad’s Guide, p.141).

Schaetti describes this stage as the ‘most profound, identity-shaking encounter stage’ . A stage that can be triggered by a number of different experiences, the encounter stage, both sudden and expected, powerfully opens TCKs’ eyes to see that they are really different from their peers. Forcing TCKs to become conscious of their dissimilarity, the encounter stage pushes TCKs into self refection: the TCK truly contemplates who they are and where they belong. Often occurring after repatriation, this stage can be shattering to TCKs as they realise that the place they called home actually feels distant, strange, and foreign. They often say that they do not truly belong anywhere.

During this time, the TCK delves into research about their identity trying to find people or a discover a community like themselves; other global nomads. This stage can be as short as a few weeks to as long as a decade. In today’s technologically advanced age, TCKs often join blogs, find support meetings, and discover a community where they feel they belong.


The integration stage occurs the moment that a TCK comes to terms with their uniqueness. Tina Quick (Author, adult third culture kid (ATCK) and/ or Army brat) says that TCKs achieve ‘congruence (harmony) once [they] understand who they are and how their international life experiences shaped them’ (Quick, The Global Nomad’s Guide, p.142). Once this insight is realised, Dr Schaetti says TCKs go into the integration stage, a state of comfortableness with being different from their home culture peers. At this point of their identity development, the TCK will choose either to ‘either embrace his or her life experiences and use them to strengthen their success or he or she will discard them as being irrelevant’ (ibid. p.143).

Schaetti states that TCKs will often have another profound, encounter moment that will, again, lead them to internal reflection. Although not as intense as the initial encounter experience, the TCK will engage again in their identity development stages. They will go through the steps again, from encounter, exploration, to integration.

References: • Pollock, D.C., and Van-Reken. R., Third Culture Kids, Revised Edition: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2009. •

Quick, T.L. The Global Nomad’s Guide To University Transition. London: Summertime, 2010.

Pollock, D.C., and Van-Reken. R., Third Culture Kids. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2001.

Fail, H., Thompson, J. and Walker, G. (2004) ‘Belonging, identity and Third Culture Kids: Life histories of former international school students’, Journal of Research in International Education, 3(3), pp. 319–338.

Available from: Belonging-and-Identity-of-TCKs.pdf [Acessed 28 July 2020] •

Lee, S., 2011. Third Culture Kids: Global Nomads In Search Of A Home. [ebook] CAMD Scholar Project, pp.9-22. Available at: institution/CAMD/CAMDModule/ CAMDScholars/SeyoungLee.pdf> [Accessed 28 July 2020].

Quick. T.L, The Global Nomad’s Guide To University Transition (London: Summertime, 2010

TCKWorld: The Official Home of Third Culture Kids (TCKs). (2011) [Accessed 22 June 2020]. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 147

TCK EXPERIENCE. Although this transition model can apply to all children with high mobility lifestyles, this often leads to ‘frequent and repeated cycles’ or even ‘chronic cycles’ of these transition experiences. This cycle is intensified and some TCKs ‘soar through’ while others ‘lose their bearings’. Due to the high mobility of TCKs, sociologists generally categorise the TCK experience into five classic transition stages:


In this period, TCKs do not even realize that this is a transition stage. Oftentimes an ‘intimate part of [the] community’ the TCKs feel safe and settled. They know the cultural codes, feel a responsibility to be involved with different aspects of the society, and know that they belong within the community.


Marked by chaos, this stage begins the moment TCKs leave one place and decide to settle in another. In a completely new setting, with a new schedule and new responsibilities, many TCKs and their families live ‘temporarily dysfunctional’ lives, losing all of their normal support systems and falling into selfcenteredness, worrying about their own well being over the welfare of others. This is often a tense time, for both TCKs and their parents, for they must relearn the communal codes and behaviors almost from scratch. This period of initial transition can create a “severe loss of self esteem” for TCKs.



This is when TCKs realise that their life will begin to change. Characterised by detachment and denial, it is during this stage that TCKs start to loosen relational ties and relinquish their responsibilities. Starting anywhere from 6 months to a few weeks before the actual move, this stage often causes the most anger and frustration for both TCKs and those around them. TCKs often partake in numerous ‘self protective denials’ including the denial of feelings of sadness or grief, feelings of rejection, unfinished business and expectations.

ENTERING OR READJUSTING Although still vulnerable and uncertain, TCKs during the entering stage feel more settled and accept their surroundings. They begin to feel like they are ‘finally getting it’. However, this is a stage filled with ambivalence. Although emotions fluctuate, this is the stage that hope begins to grow of true belonging in the host community. TCKs start to reach out to friends, mentors, and their new surroundings.


During this stage, the TCK finally feels like they belong in the community. They develop a feeling of intimacy with the new culture and establish their standing in the community. Simultaneously, those around the TCKs see them as a part of their group, knowing the TCK’s reputation, history, and interests. Although the TCK may not feel like they are ‘native”’to the community, they still feel like they belong. TCKs can now call this new place ‘home.




6. Scholarship: TCK’s on average acquire an advanced degree, which is also higher than the percentage of the general population.

2. Interpersonal Sensitivity: Increased exposure to a variety of perceptions and lifestyles allow TCKs to monitor their emotions, and register societal norms and cues more adeptly so as to produce higher sensitivity to other cultures and ways of life.

• TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor’s degree (81% vs 21%)

3. Cross-cultural competence or cultural intelligence: heightened capacity to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organisational cultures.

• 45% of TCK’s attended 3 universities before earning a degree.

1. Third-dimensionality: Broader world view and highly culturally aware/sensitive.

4. Cultural adaptability and Increased tolerance: TCK’s possess higher levels of general (life) adjustment. The major benefit. There are psychological benefits to being a bi-culturally competent individual, meaning that adjustment to the host culture and repatriation do not (always) pose a difficulty for the individual. TCKs generally feel that they are better able to adapt to new cultures and understand how to behave appropriately in these new environments 5. Problem Solving: TCK’s demonstrate significantly higher levels of creativity and originality for problem solving than TCKs not given this same explicit instruction.


• 40% earn an advanced degree (as compared to 5% of the non-TCK population)

• 44% earned undergraduate degrees after the age of 22. 7. Gender Differences: Females were found to have more positive ratings of cultural acceptance, acquisition or exposure to a new language, travel, and interest in going into an international career in the future and were less prone to stereotypes. 8. Career: Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs.


1. Emotions: Possess an enduring sense of rootlessness, restlessness and reduced levels of emotional stabilityOne of the challenges of being a third culture kid during childhood is developing a sense of belonging, commitment, and attachment to a culture. These factors play a strong role in one’s self-esteem and identity. 2. Confused loyalties: Third culture kids can experience a lot of confusion with politics and values. This is especially the case when moving from collectivist to individualist cultures, or vice versa, as the values within each culture are different from the other. 3. Identity Crisis: Recurring feelings of not being able to feel a sense of oneness with any one nationality or culture. Oftentimes, TCKs cannot answer the question: ‘Where is home?’ 4. Painful awareness of reality: difficulty adjusting to cultures where the only culture that is discussed or focused on is itself. 5. Ignorance of home culture: TCKs are often lacking in knowledge about their home nation, culture, town, and/or family. There are also general societal norms and practices that will not be known when a TCK is first re-introduced to their home culture but those are eventually learned. 6. Difficulties with adjusting to adult life: The mixture of influences from the various cultures that the individual has lived can create challenges in developing an identity as well as with a sense of belonging. 7. Cultural Homelessness: Cultural homelessness has been found to have both advantages and disadvantages, at times to being associated with low self-esteem,

perceiving less control over one’s own life, and an unsatisfactory level of experience with belonging and attachment. 8. Reverse Culture Shock: Many TCKs take years to readjust to their passport countries and often suffer a reverse culture shock on their return to their ancestral culture. 9. Relationships: Their experiences among different cultures and various relationships makes it difficult for them to have in-depth communication with those who have not experienced similar conditions. 10. Peers: High levels of TCK report feeling ‘out of sync’ with their peers. TCKs have difficulties creating close friendships or intimacy. 11. Mental Health: Depression and suicide are more prominent among TCK’s. 12. Unresolved Grief: “For most TCKs the collection of significant losses and separations before the end of adolescence is often more than most people experience in a lifetime/ Ranging from the loss of their entire former world, lifestyle, status, relationships, role models, system identity, history, to their future in their former society, the ‘past that wasn’t’ their grief is multiple, simultaneous, intense, unresolved, and lonely. Ultimately, grief is a natural process and a productive way to deal with fears and sadness. However, when one accumulates this grief with no resolution, and these overwhelming feelings are stored in the deepest parts of one’s identity, unresolved grief turns destructive and can manifest into denial, anger, bargaining, depression, withdrawal, rebellion, vicarious grief, to delayed grief.





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Third Culture Kid or ‘TCK’ is a term used to define ‘individuals who have spent a considerable part of life or ‘early years of development’ outside their parents’ culture or their country of nationality. As a result, they are exposed to a variety of cultures and customs, thoughts and attitudes which differ considerably from those that permeated their parents’ upbringing. This TCK definition also extends to include adults - known as ‘Adult

Third Culture Kids’ - who have experienced life as a TCK during their ‘post-adolescent’ years. Dr Kwame Baah is an educator and colour scientist (specialising in colour visualisation) who has lived in various countries and cultures throughout his childhood, continuing into his adult life. In this, we explore what it means to be a ‘Third Culture’ or ‘Cross Culture’ Kid and what the existing definition - developed THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 153



by Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem - represents to someone who has experienced multiple cultures. This interview aims to draw links between Kwame’s personal connections with the ‘TCK/ATCK’ categorisation with his lived experience. We would like to thank Dr. Kwarme Baah for taking the time to speak with us. How do you define your culture and identity? I think in terms of primary culture, I consider myself Ghanaian, Ashanti, however with the position of having lived in so many countries I would say that I have multiple cultures and I have primary one which I identify with, to some extent - maybe in a basic way, but then there are other cultures which inform me which have resulted in things like speaking different languages and having what I would call sudden response in multiple languages without even thinking about it What culture do you feel most adjusted to and how does this intersect with the culture you are currently in? I don’t think I am adjusted to any culture particularly because it’s almost dependent on what activity I’m engaged in and different parts of different cultures I’ve experienced growing up tend to inform that. In the present culture I would say there’s about 10% of it that I absorb, the others I just socially engage with but it’s not an intrinsic part of at all so for example at home I don’t speak any English at all so a lot of people find it quite interesting that they feel I speak really good English but there are other languages I speak better than English itself but yeah those are some of the things that kind of highlight.

What languages have stuck with you through all the cultures you have experienced? I would say a combination of Spanish and French and that’s probably because these were during my formative years when at home my parents would speak to me in an Ashanti language whereas I would probably respond in Spanish and my mum would get angry. So there are certain aspects like a response or pain or something I would shout ‘caramba’ or something like that. Were there any cultures that you felt alienated within? Yeah, I would say this culture I’m in has been probably the most alienating because in the early days when I was here even the people who I thought were the same colour as myself saw me as different and sought to make fun of me. So, I took It upon myself to find a way in which to reposition myself, one of which was adapting language and adapting some social norms such as going to the pub, playing rugby and stuff like that, I wouldn’t normally do those things. Did adopt social norms change people’s perception of you? Yes, it did but it kind of went to a point where I guess the influences during the change or adaptation resulted in what people considered a posher sort of attributes. I’m not aware of it myself but I think one day I did a recording for a lecture and I listened back and thought that’s not me speaking, I don’t speak like that.


How do you define being a TCK? In the first instance I actually don’t classify myself as a third culture kid but rather a multiple culture person, that simply because there’s no real dominant culture when you’ve grown up in several countries, have formative years and education in several countries, you develop friendships you build certain norms. So, you become a multifaceted person in terms of your own social structure or your own personage. What did you find difficult when adjusting to a new culture? The biggest shock was encountering racism in America when a friend told me that I could not walk home with him even though we had to walk past my house to reach his home. I found it difficult in the early stages - usually within my first year of arrival - to connect with anyone; this was also the case when I went back to Ghana, my birth country Upon asking ‘why’, he said his mum told him not to get overly ‘friendly’ with ‘black kids. How impactful were the relationships you made growing up? I think they were quite significant in shaping who I am today. I find it easy to get on with people from other countries, learn from them and respect their cultures and the difficulties that they face when they are here whether their students whether their colleagues working in an environment. I find that I more sympathetic to their position or what they feel but I also feel that it’s made me slightly different from some of my other sibling who also has a different compound of a social construct. I have a brother and sister who are fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and their sympathies towards everything Chinese is quite different from mine. 156 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

What are the benefits of growing up in multiple cultures? I would say experiencing other cultures in a shorter term, I’d say about a year is great and having a dominant culture would be possibly the best thing ever because you grow up making friendships, getting to know people, forming affinities and then you are uprooted and you go to a new country and you feel like it’s going to happen again so I don’t want to make friends but you do end up making friends and the pattern continues and continues. So, you get to a point where you’ve been in a country for quite a while as an adult and you are still not sure at the back of your mind if this is going to be the place your will reside permanently. So, there’s always this caution about how much engagement and friendship attachment you have with people. For example, I could say I only have about a handful of friends whereas growing up, going to university in America I’d have groups of friends and we’d constantly be doing stuff and there are lots of times now that I find I do a lot of stuff on my own or with my siblings only. What are the downfalls of growing up in multiple cultures? Yeah, I feel that one of the most profound things is the question of loneliness. Amongst my siblings and we often find that at different times of travelling or being in different countries we were in very lovely positions where we didn’t know any people in the neighbourhood, we would try to engage with people in some way but there was the question of you were the only black person there and were some kind of novelty. Those were difficult time and then as you got to know people this balance between trying to let them understand that your just a normal person and not what maybe they’ve seen on tv on tv etc, making Tarzan noises when they are coming to call you and stuff like that and

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so you grow up in that and then eventually you break the mould but what it also does is it make you rather cautious of people and have this tendency to read people, which is what I tend to do, I’m often quietly trying to understand who the people around me are before I engage with them and how much I engage with them as well. Bibliography • n.d. Third Culture Kids (TCK’S). [online] Available at: third-culture-kids-tcks/ n.d. The Difficulty Of Life As A Third-Culture Kid. [online] Available at: the-difficulty-of-life-as-a-third-culturekid-15288. n.d. The Triumphs And Tribulations Of Being A Third Culture Kid. [online] Available at: www.internations. org/guide/global/the-triumphs-andtribulations-of-being-a-third-culturekid-18291.

Interview by: Shane Sutherland. n.d. What Is A ‘Third-Culture Kid’?. [online] Available at: words-at-play/third-culture-kid



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Culture shock is a sense of disorientation, confusion, anxiety that arises when an individual is exposed to ‘foreign’ culture That arises when an individual is exposed to ‘foreign’ culture Reverse culture shock defines similar distress that is suffered by an individual when they return home after living abroad This results in difficulty readjusting to the culture and values of the home country international students, migrant workers and expatriates remain at a high risk of suffering from reverse culture shock. 158 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

In the context of globalisation the phenomenon is rapidly on the rise. Returnees are often surprised to find difficulties in the readaptation process because of the previous familiarity within the culture which makes Reverse Culture Shock particularly difficult. Credit: Iga Sokolowska. To watch the video, visit:

Another challenge for TCKs is that they may be changing ‘identity’ boxes as their mobility takes them from one cultural community or environment to another. Depending on their circumstances, some TCKs never know what it is to live in either in the ‘Foreigner’ or ‘Mirror’ boxes where identities are relatively clear, but may always be in one of the more ambiguous boxes of the ‘Hidden Immigrant’ or ‘Adopted’. Arjun’s family moved from Delhi to the UK when he was 4 years old. Before leaving Chennai, he mirrored the local community and culture in which he grew up - many of his family members would often remark how he was, in every way a good Indian boy, a fact which he was incredibly proud of. In the UK he found it very tough as the language, food, culture and dominant ethnicity were all different than he was used to in Delhi. At the secondary school he was enrolled in, he was regarded as an ‘outsider’ and experienced increasing levels of racism at school. As time progressed, Arjun began to make a good group of friends, was better able to speak the language and acquire a taste for new foods and yet, for some reason, he still felt like a ‘foreigner’. After several years in the UK as Arjun grew into adolescence, he began to see himself as more of a cosmopolitan British-Indian than strictly a Delhi-ite as he had begun to adopt many British references.

After finishing high-school, Arjun and his family returned to Delhi in order for Arjun to go to college; it was very tough, for although Arjun looked like the surrounding community, he felt more British. Arjun found that he had forgotten some basic Hindi words and could better articulate his thoughts in English and now preferred British cuisine that was not available in Delhi. Similarly, his friendship group were in the UK [and] he found himself being questioned and not accepted by the more traditional and conservative students and staff - he had returned to his parents’ place of origin, but had returned a hidden immigrant. Permission to copy, but not for commercial use.


References: This example comes from Educare, a ministry of WEC International, September 2007 issue. Availableto read via: [Accessed 5 November 2020] • children-families-wellbeing/ tcks-family-issues/who-is-a-tck/ an-example-using-the-identity-model/



For 10 years, Black Americans Living Abroad has worked to create an international family of Black American expats who support one another as we navigate the challenges of living abroad. Being Black American is already a beautifully complicated identity; however when combined with the potential additional adversities of living abroad, the issues that we face can be exacerbated. The exposure that many Black Americans have to expatriate living is limited as the media attempts control the Black American narrative. Every Black American expat has a different story based on their experiences, and as in the USA, many of those experiences are shaped by class, race, and gender. However, while living in America, it is difficult to understand the important role that nationality has in determining some of our expat interactions. Our group was formed because I noticed the ease in which we could research information regarding the experiences of a variety of white westerners from a plethora of countries abroad (Europeans, North Americans and Australians). I could also easily locate information on expatriate living for Africans, but there was nothing specifically focused on our experiences as Black Americans. And after a few weeks in the UAE, I noted that our experiences could be vastly different from other members of the diaspora.


The forced separation from our ancestral lands and assimilation means that while we are African by ancestral blood our culture has been shaped and formed by westernization as well. When I first moved to the UAE, people would ask where I was from and my response was seemingly shocking to them. Their first question would be “No, which country in Africa are you REALLY from?”. That one question strippped me of the American identity that I was taught by my flag waving great grandfather to be proud of. It stripped me of 400 years of Black American existence, albeit wrought with struggle, that shaped the honor that I have to be a descendant of the courageous freedom fighters. It stripped me of me and the only people who could truly understand my journey in the UAE, were the people whose ancestors fought alongside mine, so I began my search for other Black Americans abroad who could describe their experiences where they lived. Not only that, as I began the expatriate phases of adjustment, I needed a family, whether in person or online of people who understood this process. This led originally to the creation of a Facebook group where we could begin gathering statistical information and recording our various journeys.



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As we have grown over the years, we have morphed from a Facebook group to a movement. We not only help expats, we assist those who’d like to become expatriates while using our platform to reinforce our pride as Black Americans. Ultimately, our goal is to control and perpetuate our own narrative of life abroad through our stories. With media outlets now reiterating the idea that we have been forced to ‘return’ to Africa because of racism, the truth is that we have been moving abroad for centuries and we have moved worldwide. Some may choose to leave America because of racism, but the majority of us haven’t moved because of racism and we don’t solely live in Africa.



NB The English version is a translation of the original in Mandarin and/or (simplified) Chinese and is for reference only. As such, it is open to interpretation and in some cases misinterpretation if using a translation software Additionally, there may be terms and or phrases that are unable to be translated. In case of a discrepancy, the original version will prevail. Please note that this is an unofficial translation and therefore the authors can not be held responsible for any erroneous translations. 所謂第三文化小孩(Third Culture Kids)指的 是在成長過程中跟著父母在異鄉生活的孩 子,因而除了原生家庭的文化,也不知不覺 被成長環境中的文化所影響。對許多第三文 化小孩來說,處處都是家,又無處是家。 對兩個(或以上)社會、文化都有羈絆,但 同時又不能完全地融入。因為在日本就讀國 際學部,身邊出現了很多這樣的朋友。混血 或是亞洲的臉孔,能同時說兩種以上的語 言,無法融入當地社會,而形成一個特殊的 社群。 第三文化小孩社群是一種很特殊的案例。每 個人都有不同的成長背景,看似最不可能形 成社群的地方,卻因為每個人都缺乏歸屬感 而產生。身為第三文化小孩,我年紀較小的 時候經歷過身份認同危機。我經歷的身份認 同危機並不是什麼太嚴重的事,只是不時地 會問自己:我到底是屬於哪個社會的人?哪 裡才是家?學者Pollock 和 Van Recken指 出,第三文化小孩因為對於任一個文化都缺 乏歸屬感,而產生焦躁及不安定感(2001)。 164 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

此外,我的語言系統也變得有點奇怪。如果 我想要百分之百傳達腦中的訊息,能同時使 用英文和中文是最好的。想事情的時候,也 是兩個語言交替著。 但隨著年齡增長我逐漸理解到,其實不必非 要找出一個「家」。處處都可以是家,我想 對我來說,環境和身旁的朋友才是比較重要 的。居住在不同的國家,也訓練出快速適應 另一個文化的能力。第三文化小孩是全球國 際化現象的產物,由於科技和網路的發達, 愈來愈多人成長在多元的環境,我想全球化 是停不下來的,而這也未嘗不是件好事?人 們能更理解、包容不同的文化,對消弭現存 社會的歧視、偏見、刻板印象都有正面的幫 助。 Reference •

Pollock, D. and Van Reken, R. (2001). Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.


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NB The English version is a translation of the original in Mardardin and/or (simplified) Chinese and is for reference only. As such, it is open to interpretation and in some cases misinterpretation if using a translation software Additionally, there may be terms and or phrases that are unable to be translated. In case of a discrepancy, the original version will prevail. Please note that this is an unofficial translation and therefore the authors can not be held responsible for any erroneous translations.

Google Translate Please note that this content has been translated using Google™ Translate – a free online third-party language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages and not human translators (in some instances) – to create an appropriate translation of the original text. By providing these translations, we hope to make essential information available to our audiences. However, please be aware that some pages may not be accurately translated due THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 165



to the limitations of the translation software which cannot translate at the fluency of a native speaker or professional translator, nor is it intended to replace human translators The third culture child (also known as Third Culture Kids) refers to children who live with their parents in a foreign land during their growth. Therefore, in addition to the culture of the original family, they are unconsciously influenced by the culture in the growing environment. For many third-cultural children, there are everywhere, and there is nowhere to be home. There are flaws in two (or more) society and culture, but at the same time they cannot be fully integrated. Because I was studying in the International Faculty in Japan, there were many such friends around me. Mixed-race or Asian faces can speak more than two language at the same time and cannot integrate into the local society to form a special community. The third cultural child community is a very special case. Everyone has a different background of growth, and it seems that the place where it is most unlikely to form a community is created because everyone lacks a sense of belonging. As a third-cultural child, I experienced an identity crisis when I was young. The identity crisis I have experienced is not too serious, but I will ask myself from time to time: Which society do I belong to? Where is the home?

In addition, my language system has become a bit strange. If I want to convey 100% of the message in my head, it is best to use both English and Chinese. When thinking about things, there are also two languages alternating. But as I grow older, I gradually understand that it is not necessary to find a “home.” Everywhere can be home, I think for me, the environment and friends around me are more important. Living in different countries also trains the ability to adapt quickly to another culture. The third culture child is the product of the global internationalisation phenomenon. Due to the development of technology and the Internet, more and more people are growing up in a diverse environment. I don’t think globalization can stop, and this is not a good thing. People can understand and tolerate different cultures and have positive help in eliminating discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes in existing societies.

Reference •

Pollock, D. and Van Reken, R. (2001). Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Scholars Pollock and Van Recken point out that third-cultural children have an anxiety and restlessness because they lack a sense of belonging to any culture (2001).



‘Was I seeing something different, or was I seeing the same trauma that lies underneath, that rises up in different manifestations.’

Akshay Bhoan is an Indian artist based between London and New Delhi. His work is focused on the intimate study of social politics, personal experience and culture. Bhoan’s work is primarily based on documentary photography, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, archival material, sound, and his own written texts.

This quote captivated me in Akshay Bhoan’s presentation.

Akshay Bhoan was born in 1986 in Bangalore, India and graduated from International Centre Of Photography in 2015. In 2014, he won the Lisette Model Grant at ICP (2014) and later the American Sufi Project Grant (2016) for his work regarding social oppression and global migration. His work has been exhibited around the world including in New York (Photoville, ICP Museum, Mana Contemporary), New Delhi (Delhi Photo Festival, Tasveer Arts), Colombia (Short Gallery Bogata) and Denmark (Municipal Welcome House). He is also one of the recipients of the En Foco Photography Fellowship (2020). Website: Instagram: @maharajapatiala


In a casual conversation on Sufi Poetry, Bhoan’s artistic practice building towards this interview shared the nomadic tendency that almost runs through his family lineage with me. ‘Restless’ is the word he used; a word many shared its resonance in the body when we read Bhoan’s grand father’s brother’s words ‘endlessly restless in this oppressive land, I am condemned on every step’. Bhoan’s grandfather and his grandfather’s brother both sang poetry in Ghazal Form Jaigopal and Tilakraj. Such heritage leads Bhoan to consider the question if art was seen as a skill or was it seen as what connects one to a divine audience that observes loss in the collectivity of almost transparent bodies. Shall we depart from the two photographic works of yours? Back in 2013 I tried to devise a way to understand what I have inherited and my relationship with that which has already occurred, if it was concrete and absolute or a narrative loosely defined, fuzzy and abstract. I was introduced to Anand Patwardhan and his documentary studies of masculinity and


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communal violence in India. That gave me ideas on how to be critical and investigate what it means to grow up as a man in a community that has seen long term trauma in partition, riots, gender/class bias and patriarchy. I went back to the region where my parents came from and started to examine what has changed over the years, if we are in a different place now or are we still seeing the same prejudice, cycling in different forms. These photographs came from within that context. What surprised me is that people couldn’t tell whether my grandfather or I photographed the protesting figures. It is as if time had melted away and fused both visions together. And these images took an extended meaning with the farmer protests in India. These resurging circumstances that make audiences unable to tell time apart remind me of your quote: ‘was I seeing something different or was I seeing the same trauma that lies underneath, that rises up in different manifestations’? Would you mind talking 170 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

more about the resurging trauma? I am interested in how trauma can be translated into societal norms. In India, it is common to be stopped for questioning by the police. There is constant paranoia in the country over years of conflict, and I have been detained multiple times for photographing public spaces. But this again isn’t new. Gender inequality is another trauma transformed into norms. In my family, like in most of India, women are discouraged from leaving home after dark. This is about the same in liberal or conservative families, irrespective of religion or class. India, as a whole, continues to be unsafe for women. These practices then are transformed into formal limitations under patriarchy. While a progressive way might have been the effort to attain a safe space for all, patriarchy maintains its position based on passivity and convenience. Despite gender inequality, there must be women from your family that inspired your artistic practice?



My mother has inspired me significantly; she led me to Punjabi literature and poetry. It is mostly in visiting her parental hometown Sunam, a very small agricultural town, where I developed an intimate connection with poetic narratives and reimagined the connections between different visual memories. You introduced your grandfathers as amateur poets because they did not earn livings writing poetry. But they also felt the urgency to be creative, manifest what is experienced? In this sense, do you think it is adequate to say they are quite mature artists and poets after all, together with your mothers and grandmothers? Aristotle Metaphysics opens with the declaration ’all men naturally desire knowledge’. I think we all embody some sense of desire to create too; it is an encoded instinct. I do recognise that there seems to exist some sense of resonant continuity in this line of thought, of seeking, of creating. If it is art form or something else, that might be a Sufi question…? Speaking of Sufi Poetry, any recommendations? I would also love to hear your experience with Sufi Poetry that is after/in translation. I started listening to ghazals from Wadali Brothers, Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh. I came across the translation issues when reading Tagore, who originally wrote in Bengali and Neruda in Spanish. Things are what they mean, but they also are highly allegorical. Translation usually cuts out the faint ambiguous meanings and makes the words absolute. Poet Agha Shahid Ali worked around it and tried writing in English directly using the same structure as Urdu/Hindi ghazals, but it never worked for me. The way the words fall and occupy the soundscape is very different.

Bhoan also shared with me his appreciation of the universality embedded in the ambiguity of Sufi poetry. Without specific references of figures and events, the poems welcome each and every reader to join in experiencing loss and love. There is no need for literal translations of what something ‘really’ means, for the standardised prioritisation of philosophical analysis or scientific objectification is nothing but a western construct, that delimits the ways one tastes life, holding life in their/her/his mouth. Whose words this that is less important than whether you too felt what is said-- an ambiguity that admits to the resurging current of time, and the sound trace of family heritage. Interview by: Yifan He.

Bibliography • Akhtar, Najma. “Najma & Ghazal & Sufi.”, 2017. Accessed 30 Jan. 2021. •

Bhoan, Akshay. “Betab by Akshay Bhoan on Exposure.” Exposure, 2015. Accessed 30 Jan. 2021.

Patwardhan, Anand. “Father, Son & Holy War.” YouTube, 1995. Accessed 30 Jan. 2021.

rpurewall. “A Short History of Punjabi Literature.” Uddari Weblog, 28 Jan. 2013. Accessed 30 Jan. 2021.



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Shades of Noir spoke to Solonia Teodros, the co-founder of ‘The Change School’ which provides immersive transformation programs aimed at helping people and businesses reconnect with their values, re-design work, and re-define success as authentic leaders. Her work empowers people to thrive by cultivating self-awareness, growth-driven mindsets and personal leadership.


You have mentioned you are a Global Citizen, could you describe what this term means to you? When the term first came about there was a lot of focus on who qualifies as a global citizen. Is there a set of experiences or a number of cultures or languages that you speak that make you a global citizen? I think for my cofounder of the change school and I, this was something that really irked us actually, as people who identify as global Citizens. In the

lead up to the Ted Talk, a message we really wanted to communicate and we believe is that global Citizenship is more of a mindset. We live in a world today that is highly globalized, more and more of us are mixed and coming from so many different backgrounds, whether it’s from heritage or cultural context. So I think it has far less to do with qualifiers as much as it does about recognizing the fact that we are a globalized world. That we are moving in that direction, we are connected and that the impact of what we do as an individual reverberates right throughout our immediate community and society at large. For me, a global citizen is really that, focusing more on the similarities that we share that transcend culture, that transcend language. So in a way, it’s focusing more on the attributes of being human and not as much on the things that focus on the differences. Whether that’s on an economic level, a social level, political level. It’s interesting because I think on the one hand, from my perspective, I see more people kind of moving into that mindset, I see a growing polarity. So I see that there are more people on the one hand, and in my view, it’s usually your third culture and multicultural kids that drive that movement towards global Citizenship. But then, on the other hand, I guess the backlash of that is that you’re also seeing other groups almost hold on more tightly to their own identity and almost resisting this the idea that we share similarities with other humans across the planet. You mentioned a bit about the economic, the social aspects. All of those parts make up this driving force, like you said, moving forward, changes that are happening. It can’t just be isolated social. Do you think all of those aspects, in a way, would add to describing a global citizen then?

For sure. Personally I tend to be quite an optimist and at the same time, it’s almost like a pragmatic optimist. I think we’re in an age where the social realm has a lot more power to drive change. The world of policy setting and politics are systems and therefore by default take a longer time to change. It’s difficult because they are structured in such a way where even one individual with certain ideals and a certain vision for the future can’t drive that alone. There are checks and balances that are built into the system. In my view, the systems are aggressively dated and hindering a lot of progress. So to your question, I think for sure ultimately all pieces that make up the whole half to progress and have to work towards this sort of global citizen mindset and view of the world in order to get there. But I think socially we’re able to drive things faster and better. We can’t really wait for political systems and economic systems to catch up. But of course the sooner they can come on board the further we can go. The topic of this Terms of Reference Journal is Third Culture Kids, part of the journal is thinking about how to redefine what a third culture kid is through third culture kids and reframe it. I know it’s a lot to ask, in a way, having to find any definition, but how would you define a third culture kid from your experience? Sure. It’s interesting, this mission that you’re going after was exactly the mission that we had at the change school, our experience and our journey. Because third culture kid was such a dated term and a term that had extensive research behind it, but then it kind of fell off from the eighties or so. There wasn’t any new research. So we were almost offering global Citizenship as a new term, and it builds on that. I think how I would define third culture kids is pretty much how it’s defined back in the seventies and eighties. So an individual who has been brought up by probably one or more THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 175

different cultures, but then the third culture being the contextual culture where they grew up. At that time I think all of this research stemmed more from military babies.

some people were quite offended because they felt that they shared a lot of the mindset attributes, qualities that we speak about within a third culture context. But then they didn’t qualify by definition.

Because they were the ones that had families that were travelling more. But as I said, if you fast forward, we’re now in two thousand and it’s no longer just military babies. I mean, you’ve got digital nomads across the whole spectrum. It started as business travellers and then you’ve got mixed babies and then you’ve gotten our digital nomads who are voluntarily travelling the world and not choosing one home. So in my mind, I think the third culture kid definition is quite clear, but I think it’s dated and it doesn’t capture the reality that is, a lot of us are multicultural kids. Even if we have no mixed blood, so to speak, we’re still getting influenced by different cultures, whether it’s in the workplace, our home environment or our surrounding communities. So I don’t know if that really answers your question, but it talks around it.

So that’s where my big bias is, like almost moving away from that term and moving into this idea of global Citizenship. This idea that we are humans on a shared planet, within this planet, we have multiple cultures, multiple nuances. It’s not even clear where the lines are anymore. And so I think it’s learning to embrace that. Being able to be curious. Have an open mind, to engage with people of different backgrounds, different worldviews, and really engage in those conversations with a view to find a connection in similarity rather than focusing on differences. That to me is really where I think the definition needs to start propagating those ideas.

I think it definitely does. To expand on that, you mentioned the definition’s a bit outdated. From your experience, what kind of signifiers can keep it up to date? Looking back on our experience. Researching this, speaking to people, trying to socialize different terms and also really thinking about the response we were getting. I think the current, or in my view dated, the definition of third culture kid started to drive this reaction of, well what if I lived in five cities, but I’m completely a single culture by birth and I speak tons of languages. So what, I’m not a third culture kid, and we didn’t expect that reaction. But it was interesting because we were doing a lot of interviews with people and


We almost need to be careful and push away from this idea that you need two or three or four cultures. I mean I don’t think it’s a quantitative thing anymore. Before it made sense because there was change happening and we wanted to track it and we wanted to define it. Change right now is not so easy to monitor and so the bigger picture is if change is a given and we’re only going to continue to see more mixes and at some point, I think we’ll even lose track of the hodgepodge that makes us who we are, our own identity. I think we need to kind of move away from that and really move into, okay, with this as the new norm, as the new context that we live in, what are those qualities? What is that mindset we want to cultivate in order to still feel a part of the whole and not feel like I sit outside of this group?



What culture do you feel most adjusted to and how does this sit with the culture you are currently in? That’s a great question and it’s so loaded for me because as an overarching response, I would say I think these things aren’t fixed. That’s what I’m learning literally day by day in my current life because we talk about formative years when we’re much younger and I was definitely, as of maybe 10 years ago of the belief that your formative years and the culture that you’re influenced by in those years defines what you relate most with. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties even that perspective is changing. I’m witnessing quite a bit of change within myself around this. So I would definitely say, on the one hand, my formative years were very much influenced by Western American culture. You can hear it in my accent. There are certain core beliefs within that culture that I’ve taken as my own, free expression, for example, this sort of entrepreneurial like work hard to get anywhere. Rags to riches kind of story. But then at the age of 10, I moved to Asia and I spent 10 years in Asia and that’s where I was surrounded by Asian culture. I went to an international school, but the dominant culture was Asian. Of course, within Asia, there’s so much. There was Singaporean culture, there was my family, which is rooted in Taiwanese culture. Then there’s this overarching Chinese culture. So over those 10 years, and probably the few years after that I very much felt I am Asian because I absorbed those cultural values. I speak the language, I speak Mandarin and Taiwanese. My surroundings were that, so it was about 10 years in Asia. Then I moved back to the US for college and to work. So I experienced a reverse culture shock and I had a lot of resistance in the first few years because I was

retaining, I was holding on so desperately to my Asian ness because I couldn’t relate to the American culture. But then I spent another 12 years in the US and towards the end of that period, I once again felt, being in New York, I felt much more cosmopolitan, but I probably felt more connection again to Western values. Fast forward to the last 10 years, again, I went back to Asia. I didn’t have a culture shock as much this time, but there was still a readaptation. Then I got married. So you add to all of this complexity, your own life chapters. Whether you’re in school, whether you’re starting a family, or you’re all the things in between. I married into an Asian family, an Indian family. So this is yet another subgroup of Asian culture. That again shaped a lot of things. I started to feel a genuine connection to Indian culture as I immersed myself more in it. fast forward to last year when I moved out to Europe and that was a very conscious decision because I felt like I’ve been straddling the US and Asia. I’m so curious about Europe, I’ve not spent time there. Why don’t I come out here? And again, Europe is not saying much, right? There are so many countries and cultures, but I chose Portugal. This is probably the most different unfamiliar culture I’ve been in, in some time. In this journey of finding my feet, rebuilding my life and the culmination of all my experiences. There are moments where I feel very American and there are moments where I feel super Asian in the way I think and behave. That plays out in the workplace and plays out in personal relationships. So today I would say I’m almost creating my own blended Solonia 3.0 identity, which is going to take pieces of everything and maybe even a bit of Portuguese culture as I start to learn the language. I think it’s hard to say, and I think it really depends on life chapters and context, just where you are as an individual in your own journey. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 179

I think it’s great that you’re talking about the positive parts of developing an identity continuously. Your perspective has been really positive. On the flip side of that, there are issues that have kept coming up in my research around this to do with an identity crisis. How are we as a society to overcome issues related to a TCK upbringing, such as ‘identity crisis’? The positivity is reflective of my current journey, but if you asked me 10 years ago, I probably would have focused a lot more on those struggles, and having done extensive research, I know what you’re talking about. There’s a lot of where is home, who am I? How do I find a connection? Wearing my change school hat for a moment, one thing is we’re always trying to steer struggle into a positive light. Because there’s so much learning from the things that we struggle from. So often we’re not focused on that learning opportunity and we’re focused more on the pain, which is totally normal as well. As a society, there’s a lot of things we can do and also as an individual. I choose not to dwell so much on those stories, but I can give a few concrete examples. When I first moved to Asia from the States, being a Chinese speaking dark-skinned girl was horrible, and Taiwan at that time saw no foreigners and it almost felt like a curse that I could understand what they were saying under their breath. I had been chased down by the cops one day by accident because they thought I was an illegal Philippine immigrant. I have tons of stories like that until today. If I go back to Taiwan sometimes without any harm intended, someone might come up to me and go, eh, Obama, but I’ve transcended these types of interactions because I know it comes from a place of ignorance, not a place of wanting to hurt or offend.


On a high level, one thing a society can do, and education institutions really have a role to play here, society just kind of needs to level up, in terms of their awareness of the rest of the world and their sensitivity to other people. But that takes time. We live in many silos and it takes time for education to catch up with the world and for them to be teaching children from a very young age that, hey, you can’t go up to people and say things like that. If I look at my college years, one thing I wish in hindsight I could have done more of was seek out other third culture kids. Find those communities and if they don’t exist, create those communities. I probably didn’t put much initiative or importance on it at the time because I was more focused on the pain and the struggle, but the beauty of looking back is you get 20, 20 vision. So now when I look back and go, man, if I had just made a bigger effort to find other people like me, it wouldn’t have been so lonely. It wouldn’t have felt so isolating. This probably comes when you’re a bit older and you have thicker skin and you don’t get as offended. Take every opportunity to educate other people, because they just don’t know. There’s more curiosity in the world than we give people credit for, but you don’t know what you don’t know or you can’t know what you don’t know. I think sometimes it’s also important as TCKS or global Citizens to take a step back and see the opportunity to share more. Let other people who haven’t had the exposure or experience of seeing the rest of the world, share your world with them. You may not always get a positive response. It’s human nature. Some people feel a range of things. Resentment or jealousy or they think you’re a know it all. But I think you take it all in stride because then there are people too, who recognize the richness that you bring to a social group or to any different situation. We need to like be brave enough to kind of lean into that.



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Exactly. I think that’s really important, in terms of the isolation aspects I think that’s still a continuing problem for TCKs, and my hope is that through this terms of reference journal, it will be an anthology of TCK voices and hopefully in some kind of indirect way that would kind of remove some of that isolation. Totally. And there’s also a lot of online communities. Todays TCK’s, have the advantage of being super plugged into the online world. You can find quite a lot of TCK founders who have built businesses around this, magazines, podcasts, online communities. So the opportunity does require a little extra initiative, but I think if we look for it, it’s actually there. It’s not a complete solution, but it’s a starting point.

How does your work ‘The Change School’ reflect challenging conventional notions of identity? The Change School as a business has evolved its identity over six or seven years. The Ted talk was, if I remember, around 2006 or 2008, but that was a time when we were very much focused on the cultural aspect of defining identity. That’s what led us into the TCK research and then the global Citizens talk. It’s interesting that New Zealand invited us to the Ted platform to speak about global Citizens. That was really exciting for us because in the lead up to that in Asia, the terminology was not getting picked up, nor was it understood. And in hindsight, I think it’s because Asia itself is so mixed. It’s a very Western thing to say let’s put a label on it. Let’s call it something. Let’s research it. In Asia, it was kind of like what you guys


are actually talking about this. This is the norm. We live it. So that made us shift. We had to adapt because we were in business, we had to adapt to the market and what they were really needing or struggling with. It was about making career changes. About making a leap in your profession, what you do to derive purpose and to derive livelihood. We earn so that we can live well. That was sort of the cover. You want to make a career change, come to The Change School. That worked in Asia because they’re very achievement-oriented. But what we quickly found out when they would come into our courses or mentor and coaching programs is underneath all of this ultimately is an identity issue. It’s, who am I? What are my strengths? What value do I bring? Beyond just technical skills, how do my life experiences translate into strengths and skills that I can take into an employment marketplace? While people came in saying, I want to do this, I need to work on my CV, that’s all very important. But the deeper issues that we were always ending up working with our students with was completely breaking everything down and redefining who you are.

It’s really great to hear from your experience the way that you’ve navigated it. So it’s positive, progressive and it’s not just for yourself but for others as well. The starting point from there really is about seeing the value of your experience, Yourself. Because of those hard experiences that tend to happen in a TCK’s life, it’s easy to go down this rabbit hole of isolation and loneliness and then your self worth erodes. It’s not positivity for the sake of positivity, the starting point to turn that into a positive experience is to see that as a strength. Even the loneliness, those dark, isolated days are building strength of character, you’re building compassion for self and others. You’re building the ability to feel and live with empathy. These are things that the world is sorely missing, so the minute we recognize that as an advantage it puts us on a path to create more positive experiences as TCK’. Interview by: Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan.

Not negating things like your personal experiences, your cultural background, your cultural fluency. Because as the world evolves, these qualities are becoming more and more critical for organisations. They’re actually hiring for this. Not all, it’s not on a big level, but if you look for those companies, they’re there. How it relates, ultimately the common denominator is identity. How you define who you are, how do you assign self-worth and value to that, and then how do you position and push that out into the real world in a way that allows you to thrive.



Chiizii is a visual artist and designer born and based in London, raised in New York with an Igbo background. Her work serves as a means of social commentary, expression of thoughts and analysis of culture and self. The work focuses on Black cultures Chiizii’s practice is informed by a textile print background, studied at London College of Fashion and an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. She experiments with and combines painting, collage and textile work. How would you define your cultural identity and cultural ownership? I would define my cultural identity as Igbo Nigerian, as an Abroad Nigerian, a New Yorker and Londoner. My cultural identity is quite international and layered. There isn’t one name for it but many others share the identities I do. The cultures I have ownership of are the ones in which I help to create and come from. How have your lived experiences contributed to challenging conventional notions of identity? By being connected directly to 3 nations the question of where are you from - as question of identity is something I can’t truthfully answer with one response. My answer describing that I am from multiple places challenges the the conventional notions of identity and especially home. 184 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

What are the benefits of growing up with multiple cultures and traditions? Growing up with multiple traditions and cultures means understanding multiple languages and dialects. It means having a diverse palette when it comes to food, enjoying and having memories to diverse genres of music. Having fun and transformational experiences in many countries. One of the best things about it is being able to have a perspective that considers many regions and people - and pulls from many regions and people. This often means efficiency, community and experimentation are present within my ideas. Within your practice, what is a reoccurring theme or idea which is significant? Black cultures, most significantly Igbo culture and history. Color and honesty. You can find Chiizii’s works here:




IN THE SHADOW OF RACE. TEJA ARBOLEDA. APRIL 11, 1981. TOKYO, JAPAN. MY BIRTHDAY, AND FOUR YEARS AFTER MAMA AND PAPA’S DIVORCE, AND HER RETURN TO AMERICA. Papa handed me a thick envelope addressed to me: I had been accepted to Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. It was a sign, but I was tempted to debate it. “Mama would be very happy to have some family near her,” Papa said, giving me a smile I hadn’t seen in a long time.

The last few weeks before graduation I was hysterical. Faced with the impending consequence of relocation and displacement, I chose to consume as much of Japan as I could. At Mikado, the corner store, Fujisawa-san pushed me a family-sized bag of cuttlefish. “Teja, you are practically Japanese. One day you will be back and you will marry a Japanese woman. Now, promise to send me pictures of American woman?” He cupped his hands under his chest and smiled. His long-term obsession with large-breasted Western women had become childish to me, so I didn’t laugh. But I assured him I would return and start a family. I bowed, and left feeling like I had…matured?


I crossed the street and entered the pharmacy. “Irrashaimase!” Hashikawa-san yelled cheerfully. Her gentle face and smile had remained honest and welcome throughout the 12 years we frequented her family’s pharmacy. The distinct smell of homeopathic herbs in odd¬shaped bottles mixed with Johnson & Johnson products was pleasantly familiar. She had confided in me about her husband’s death and now her mother’s ailing health, but she remained solid, managing the only remaining wooden commercial structure in our quaint little neighborhood of Denenchofu. The family business had survived three generations, and for the first time she realized it may be time to close shop. “In America you must keep healthy, they don’t eat well, and they are very fat. Take ginseng and ginger and stay away from hamburgers! No good! I have been responsible for your health since you were only this high, now don’t disappoint me!” She laughed encouragingly and bowed. I returned the bow, staying a little longer down, making sure I showed her proper respect. Then I slid open the wooden door and listened to the familiar sound of the ball bearings rolling on their tracks. Then, before I closed the door, I turned and bowed lower and thanked her for her wisdom and advice. She bowed back and smiled. Little would I know that one year later, when I returned during summer a break from college, the building would be replaced with a metal and


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glass coffee shop. I leaned my orange off-road bicycle against a wooden fence. “Friends forever,” Asaki said, holding his hand out and placing it on top of mine. Hiroshi put his hand above Asaki’s. “Always friends.” “Forever,” Arthur said, and placed his hand above Asaki’s. David, Jacky, and Alvin placed their hands over ours. We all looked at each other and nodded. The seven of us had been together since the fourth grade, two of us since the first. We poured each other glasses of beer and pieced together the history of our friendship with photographs and stories. Within one month we would be dispersed across the world, and the validity of our ties with Japan and each other would be tested.


OCTOBER 1981. WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. CLARK UNIVERSITY CAMPUS. Sometimes I sat alone in an alcove of the library, staring at the rolling hills and trees, and noticed how different they were from the trees in Japan. Frequently I lost myself on the winding paths that fed the dormitories and campus buildings, wondering how many of my new friends inside were genuine. I missed my companionships in Japan. I had never experienced homesickness, and somehow I knew that this would be permanent as it was for many of my family and ancestors—the Arboleda legacy. But I also remembered the humiliation of having to show my I.D., and getting fingerprinted in Japan.

A perpetual guest of a host country. I had so often wanted to rip my green card into shreds. And now in America, I missed every comer, every smell of Japan. As the weeks passed, I settled in and often found myself overcompensating in gestures and language in order to adapt. I did feel peaceful at times, at ease, free from the stares and finger-pointing with which I had lived for most of my childhood years in Japan. As I passed the crowds of the mostly White faces on campus, part of me felt empty, and I longed for the familiar. I feared that when or if I returned to live in Japan, I would have become yet further from the harmony of the group—the defining essence of Japanese culture. Knowing I would never be accepted into Japanese society, I decided I had to adjust, compensate and become the American behind the picture in my U.S. passport. America, I had learned so many times from textbooks to guidance counselors, was a melting pot—everyone was the same, everyone fit in. I began to realize that this was propaganda like any other. I refrained from boasting my Japanese language ability—the less they knew about me, the less they had to decipher. I dressed like my peers, in ripped jeans and loose hanging, oversized shirts. I learned quickly to code switch, first by speaking different versions of English depending whom I was with. I became a social butterfly, hovering from table to table in the cafeteria, quickly adopting friends by making them laugh and adapting to their groups. Americans’ needed for comedy in everything, so I entertained during meals and classes, in the hallways, at the movies and became a mediator between lovers.

After a while, as long as I remained as best I could, “American”, very rarely did people ask me where I was from. Because I didn’t have an accent, no one suspected I wasn’t from the United States. However, the only thing that gave away my identity was when I had to ask someone to explain a phrase, colloquialism, or slang. For the most part, however, I pretended to understand, nodding my head and laughing along with the others. But as quickly as I made friends, I lost them. Relationships in America seemed opaque and unassuming, merely temporary. People I had never met before would call me “buddy.” A bookstore manager awarded me a discount with a “because I like you— you’re smart.” Women flirted with me and then a minute later they would make a pass at someone else. Classmates offered friendship with an “I’ll give you a call,” or an “I’ll stop by your room,” but never followed up. Neighbors would confide in me with deep, personal stories and a week later they wouldn’t remember who I was. Kim, an attractive woman who about boasted her career as a model, introduced herself to me by showing me how she had lost an inch from her thighs. “I’ll be a full-fledged model, as soon as I get my thighs down 6 more inches. But maybe I’m not tall enough. Anyway, thighs first!” She showcased me as her “lover” around campus for a week, then bluntly discarded me when she was sure her three real lovers were still under her spell. And that is how my first winter in the US began: alone.



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The aim of exploring materialism and consumption is to find out how culture integrates with self-definition and selfmaintenance. The balance between a conscious act, a statement about the relation between the ‘self’ and the world, and an aspect of life that is normally taken for granted. ‘It is to say that from consumption, to be able to establish sets of strategies for the maintenance of selfhood and identification’ (Friedman, 1990, p.312-314).


Fashion identity is an alter ego that can be seen and perceived immediately without any verbal communication. With the framework that societies are constructed on material culture, by showcasing their fashion items it allows consumers to match their own image with it or use it to compensate for personal inadequacies (Cave, 2001). When the possessed holds one or more symbolic purpose, materialism can be described as a desire for money and possessions above everything else (ibid.). In


order to present material culture to present itself in the context of fashion, it should be introduced as a discourse. The definition of ‘discourse’ in the following is defined by Stuart Hall as something that ‘rules in’ certain ways of talking about a topic, defining an acceptable and intelligible way to talk, write, or conduct oneself, so also, by definition, it ‘rules out’, limits and restricts other ways of talking, of conducting ourselves in relation to the topic or constructing knowledge about it’ (Hall, 1997). Similarly, identity is a way of constructing meanings which influence both our actions and our conceptions of ourselves (Hall, Held and McGrew, 2003). Within this definition, one can confirm that identity is in a constant state of flux, entirely dependant on the person’s own beliefs and the influences that were consciously or unconsciously being put onto them. By pinpointing fashion as the factor for identity-construction, it allows it to be a part of self-identification which influence our conceptions of self. Fashion is not merely representative, but constitutive of social identity. The consumption of clothing is encompassed as a ‘global strategy of linkage’ that provides not only wealth, but also health and political power (Friedman, 1990). Fashion in many aspects organises culture and social structure. Through clothing, people are able to communicate things at a collective level, results are giving garments that symbolic values to the claims of status and life-style attachments (Davis, 2008). The act of identification is in one sense an act of pure existential authenticity, but the degree to which it implies the consumption of self-defining symbols that are not selfproduced - but obtained in the marketplace - is undermined by objectification and potential decontextualization (Friedman, 1990). We are living in a consumer culture, not only increasing in production and the salience of cultural goods as commodities, but also the way in which the majority of activities and symbolic practices 194 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

involve signs and images of consumption (Featherstone, 1995). As technology improves, society is moving quickly into the Information Age with the help of Globalisation. Yet more than ever, fashion consumers call-out for the need for individualistic expression, and for these objects to have an approachable, humanistic feel in this cold, high-tech world (Gobé, 2009). Hence, identity construction now having a direct correlation with objects remains entirely mediated by materialism. The practice of identity lies heavily in the practice of consumption and production. In the case of globalisation and TCK identity-building, one can speak volumes about the extent to which identity (at local levels) has subsumed forms of consumption and production which are integrated on a global scale (Friedman, 1990). Citation: • Gobé, M. (2009). Emotional branding. New York, NY: Allworth Pr. • Featherstone, M. (1990). Global Culture. London: Sage. •

Hall, S. (1997). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: SAGE.

Cave, S. (2001). Understanding consumer behaviour in a week. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Davis, F. (2008). Fashion, culture, and identity. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press

Featherstone, M. (2000). Undoing culture. London: Sage.

Friedman, J. (1990). Global culture: “Being in the world: Globalization and Localization”. London: Sage Publications, pp.311-328.

Hall, S., Held, D. and McGrew, A. (2003). Modernity and its futures. Cambridge: GB.


Jake has been struggling with his mental health since he was 10 or thereabouts. Jake lives with her parents in the US, where he was born and raised. His mother came to the US as a Cambodian refugee in the 70s which Jake feels is a process that forced him to grow up faster than anyone should have to. He still has a lot of trauma to unpack With an immigrant mother and an Americanborn white father, Jake spent much of his childhood struggling to find a sense of belonging. He recalls that the community he grew up in was mostly white and conservative, so there weren’t many people who looked like him, nor be able to share or relate to his experiences as the son of an immigrant. His mental health was never really a consideration for his mother, and in many ways, Jake grew to believe that experiences of ‘trauma’ became a point of comparison in his family. Jake declares his mother once telling him: ‘We are an upper-middle-class family and I have had an upbringing was cushy and sheltered in comparison to her (his mothers) own’; whilst she not completely wrong, we only know our own realities. As a child of an immigrant, whilst he recognises that he never pass a physical border or negotiate the traumas of migration itself, Jakes feels himself and others like him that they face serious barriers to accessing mental health resources in the US, specifically related to financing therapy or psychiatry

and any associated medications. In his mind, this is because a huge number of immigrants and (potentially) their immediate family are uninsured - which is roughly 23% of lawfully present immigrants and up to 45% of undocumented immigrants (excluding elderly populations). Additionally, there are language barriers, and there are race barriers, with fewer people of colour using psychological resources and fewer people of colour working in psychology. In his experience, Jake recognises strictly cultural barriers are just as pervasive and much harder to quantify. Jake says: ‘I truly believe that secondgeneration immigrants, like myself, have a shared sense that therapy just didn’t exist or wasn’t accessible to their parents, or was deeply stigmatised in our community. It is a truth that’s often overlooked in broader conversations about immigrant mental health. Jake recalls thinking a lot about this quote: ‘You inherit your parents’ trauma but you will never fully understand it.’ While there’s no way to catalogue the specific, multiple intersecting stressors that affect minority cultures, he recognises that it would be disrespectful to consider the category of ‘immigrant’ as a monolith. ‘In fact, there are fairly universal cultural barriers. Having citizenship doesn’t render children immune to immigration-related stressors. We must learn at a very young age to be flexible, able to withstand constantly THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 195

He recalls recognising that he alongside his parents had to navigate the realities of racism, but that each generation experiences discrimination differently, and in turn, reflects and responds differently - some may have a harder time enduring discrimination, thanks to having a ‘singular frame of reference’ of the majority culture. Jake feels that his parents instead operate from a ‘dual frame of reference’ which he feels means that his parents are judging life in the US-based in comparison to the home country they left. As an adult, he recognises that ‘second-generation kids only know the kinds of discrimination they face in the US or ‘the West’ that often leads them to conclude things are a lot worse [than what their parents faced]’. Jake continues: ‘whilst all children wrangle with the disparities in their and their parents’ worldviews in regard to age, every generation feels their parents just don’t understand them. But children of immigrants deal with a generational and cultural gap, and this gap is exacerbated by distance and time’. My parents have a more conservative view of their culture than the people currently living in their country of origin, predated to the year of their departure, which in some cases is a 30-year-old concept’. This is all compounded, Jake feels, by the challenges of assimilating to Western culture (acculturation) in different contexts, which is disorienting. ‘I never knew what was normal’, says Jake.


References: • KFF. 2020. Health Coverage Of Immigrants. [online] Available at: <www.kff. org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/factsheet/health-coverage-of-immigrants/> [Accessed 28 October 2020]. •

Carey, B., 2018. Reuniting And Detaining Migrant Families Pose New Mental Health Risks (Published 2018). [online] Available at: </www.nytimes. com/2018/06/22/health/migrant-familiesimmigration-detention.html> [Accessed 28 October 2020].

Bolter, J., Blizzard, B. and Batalova, J., 2020. Frequently Requested Statistics On Immigrants And Immigration In The United States. [online] MPI (Migration Policy Institute). Available at: <www.> [Accessed 28 October 2020].

Suárez-Orozco, C and M.M. SuárezOrozco. Children of Immigration. Harvard University Press, 2001. JSTOR, www.jstor. org/stable/j.ctvjz82j9. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

straddling the culture their parents came from and the culture they’re currently growing up in’, says Jake.

Source: • Clark, N., 2019. The Hidden Stress Of Growing Up A Child Of Immigrants. [online] Available at: en/article/43kgzn/the-hidden-stress-ofgrowing-up-a-child-of-immigrants-v26n3. Accessed 28 October 2020].


My practice uses multidisciplinary tools to navigate overlapping tensions around religion, gender, censorship, and third-culture identity. Working with installation and mixed media on paper—collage, drawing, and intricate paper cutting—my work tells personal stories that juxtapose the opposing cultures of my upbringing. Born in Chicago to Yemeni parents, I struggled with a conflicting relationship to Islam, our community’s patriarchal social norms, and the boundary-pushing icons of 80’s and 90’s Western pop culture. In my community of origin, calling attention to what would be considered my transgressions is considered shameful. In contemporary conversations around Islamophobia and xenophobia, my arguments are often viewed as inconvenient as they complicate what have become polarized and narrow agendas. Exit Strategies, my first installation, was a replication of my childhood bedroom which shared details of my daily life as a teen as well as the soon to come identity change and the reasons it was necessary. It was a complicated space; inviting and personal with sporadic references to the challenge and struggle for autonomy. Creating this space enabled intimate conversations where visitors shared their own stories of personal struggle as they were coming of age. Several young women revealed to me their conflicts with hijab, a head covering worn by some Muslim women.

They confessed that even deliberating the matter made them feel extremely isolated. On one hand, they wanted visibility to help fight Islamophobia; on the other, they disagreed with the notion that a woman’s virtue is related to what she wears. They were comfortable sharing their stories with me and we had a complex, nuanced conversation that these women cannot find many places. Dirty Laundry was the second iteration of the installation -- created in residence at Habibi House in Detroit. Detroit was incredibly significant to me on a personal level and for the evolution of my practice. The area is home to the largest Arab population in the United States, including the largest Yemeni community in the country. Considering the local audience, it was an opportunity to create new elements that delved into more nuanced territory. The nature of the residency space allowed for intimate engagement and dialogue, something that is important to me with this work. We held several events which were open to the public as well as an evening of private discussion for women of SWANA origin. On this night, we shared personal experiences related to the issues highlighted in the space deemed taboo to discuss in our own communities.



My practice is rooted in the principle, “the personal is political” and this conviction continuously drives me to challenge resistance—aiming to underscore the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. Many of us in the growing multicultural diasporas find ourselves in a strange space between invisibility and hypervisibility. I am continuously curious about these spaces and the cultural differences that shape us. *third culture identity refers to those raised in a culture that is different than that of their parents.


‫ یب‬/ Eib (Image 49) 2019 PINK NEON TUBES ON WOOD Eib is not easily translated into English. From the novel Guapa by Saleem Haddad. “The closest word for eib in English is perhaps ‘shame.’ But eib is so much more than that. The implication of eib is kalam il-nas, what will people say, and so the word carries a bit of conscientiousness, a politeness brought about by a perceived sense of communal obligation.” It is a word I heard often as a kid, instilling without a doubt the many things I needed to be ashamed of as a young girl. That photo of me is right about the age when I started to comprehend the extent of shame that I/my body could cause.

?‫ ایش عیقولوا الناس‬/ Eish 3ayqollo el nas? (What will people say?), (Image 46) Glitter paper and acrylic on framed vintage mirror ‫هناء بنت قمر‬/ Hanna daughter of Ghamar (Image 48) is a matronymic reversal to the standard patronymic, with my mother’s name and my birth name. Growing up, I rarely heard people say my mother’s name. It many situations it would be perceived as shameful to say her first name. Instead, she was often referred to as ‘mother of (name of my eldest brother — mind you, I have 4 sisters older than him).’ And I was frequently referred to as the daughter of my father. Patronymic naming is common across many cultures and many surnames stem from a patronymic. Hanna daughter of Ghamar, 2018 pink neon tubes on wood, 17.25 x 45.5 x 4.5” inches



Images 47 and 48 THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 201



Looking at the modern young nomad from a student’ s point of view, interspersed with my own experience having lived in 3 countries by the age of 16 (one which led to a reverse culture shock) The piece has a working title of ‘ Life a la Carte’, where for the voluntarily or involuntarily displaced purpose may replace place, when the traveller can live everywhere but stay put nowhere. This state of limbo is equally liberating as isolating.


Moving through what Constant Nieuwenhuys called Ville Derivee, or Drift City, I am the artist-nomad. Ville Derivee is the future city, where life is co-created between play, technology and imagination. When the human being plays freely, then she/he is liberated as a social being. Drift City applies creativity in an advanced technocratic and urban society to raise questions regarding the relationship between a fully automated environment and how to replace place, with purpose in a daily life. I was spat into the world by hatred. My childhood days I spent being bullied to near death in Norway from Sweden. Every day for three years, annihilation was performed by childish minds in remorseless, inventive

cruelty dished out goaded on by teachers and parents at Smestad Skole in Oslo. I had become, unwittingly, a symbol for the Second World War’s Swedish government allowing free passage to the Nazi that made the invasion of Norway possible. At least that was what the old resistance fighters, who in a hatred still resonating, having fought fascists only to invert into fascists themselves. They told their grandchildren, that I, an eightyear-old girl, was always the enemy. Beyond my control, the trauma of WWII became my trauma, and it was probably here, in a schoolyard that I survived by forcing myself to be a distanced observer, reading ahead of the moves of boys with pieces of glass covered by snow in their hands. Hypervigilance has served me well. These Norway days propelled me into the world. I decided then, never to see others as enemies but as comrades and to seek the strange over the familiar. 16 years old I moved to Japan to learn woodblock printmaking. Being a Swedish teenager in Japan, I consciously put myself in the most alien of environments, to seek another self. The tension in the struggle to be seen again and to connect with a broader world committed me to a creative life. 18 years old, I had already lived in three countries. Now, they add up to seven.


Images 50 and 51 204 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

To most, it might seem like a Life a la Carte’ picking countries like choosing candy. A succession of self-imposed exiles is instead rebirthing, emerging increasingly precise, more stripped bare, crystallized by the pressures of establishing a life in a new country through, a momentary annihilation of the self in a foreign place. Moving about is a defiant resistance to internal loss by gathering influences that never could have been part of my Nordic life. Since then I switch between Eastern and Occidental ways while seeking refuge, continuity, understanding and community in print shops, ‘these rooms of my own’, within myself, and around the world. The dislocation facilitates a personal transformation and re-writes the self. Words and images become constant companions. Rainer Maria Rilke writes in the Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge that ’For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. And it still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer distinguished from our selves- not until then can it happen that in most rare hours the first words of a verse arise in their midst and goes forth from them.

The luxury of living voluntarily displaced, and where purpose replaces place, lends a state of limbo equally liberating as isolating. The person growing up in a succession of opposing cultures develops an emotional and cognitive resilience to be culturally fluent. Eventually, this flexibility invites encounters to reimagine a new world together, where differences are incorporated, and shared meaning is more important than ownership. In a time of a fear-ridden and increasingly rigid world moving towards fascism, the artistnomad may be the most dangerous individual to nationalistic states. She refuses to accept borders but shapes her own world, where all are welcome to create a Ville Derivee. Her planet is called Drift City.


TRIGGER WARNING Please note that some of the articles within this document are considered highly offensive to People of Colour, but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking with the aim of transformation. This includes, but is not limited to graphic visualisations, explicit descriptions and an extensive discussion of racial abuse, offensive language or the detailing of behaviours of assault, abuse, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and Misogynoir directly related to the experiences of marginalised communities.



Oz Katerji is a writer, filmmaker and journalist focusing on conflict, the Middle East and international human rights. When first asked to write this blog I really struggled thinking about what narrative I could add to the situation unfolding in Calais that would be of benefit. So far the citizen response has been staggering. For all the anti-immigrant rhetoric thrown around in the British press a new poll published in the Guardian revealed that 31% of British people have donated to charities helping refugees in the month since three year-old Aylan Kurdi tragically washed up on the Turkish coast. When I first decided to help I had heard of a small convoy of aid heading over to Calais from London and wanted to help out. In a matter of days that small convoy turned into a massive warehouse full of donations with thousands of parcels arriving every day and a stream of hundreds of volunteers heading back and forth across the channel to deliver aid to the Calais Jungle refugee camp. A warehouse space had to be rented in Calais to deal with all the donations alongside the fantastic local charity L’Auberge des Migrants. Soon too, that warehouse was overflowing with aid and volunteers arriving daily to help sort and distribute it.

My first time arriving at the Calais camp I felt completely shocked. This was not my first time in a refugee camp, I have been to at least a dozen since the start of the Syrian revolution, some in horrendously desperate conditions sprawling out as far as the eye can see. What shocked me was that this camp closer resembled a Central African slum than it did modern-day Western Europe. How could the French authorities allow the situation to deteriorate to this level? Quite frankly the conditions are inhumane, luckily there is running water and some power but the sanitation facilities are inadequate, the camp frequently floods and it is becoming increasingly overcrowded and polluted. No human should have to live in these conditions. What struck me most about the inhabitants of the camp was their determination, that no matter what was happening to them they would persevere. I undoubtedly witnessed some scenes of desperation and panic among some of the residents, but I also witnessed incredible kindness and humility. Despite having absolutely nothing the vast majority of the residents I spoke to wanted to invite me for a tea or some food, the desire to share what little they had with people is remarkable. In fact, I would say the most hospitable people I have ever met in my life have been in refugee camps.


It’s important to remember that these people don’t want handouts, all they want is their dignity and a chance to live. The events that unfolded over the next few days were crucial to understanding why our help is so vitally needed to solving this crisis, both domestically and across Europe and the Middle East. Last Saturday a huge demonstration organised by L’Auberge des Migrants took place with a march from the Jungle camp towards the ferry port drew thousands of refugees, migrants, aid workers and solitary activists from across the EU. It was incredible to see how far the march spread, from horizon to horizon, refugees and activists walking hand in hand in solidarity. The mood was both jovial and defiant, I could see the hope in many of the faces of the young migrants on the march, as if the authorities were watching and could hear their demands. The sad truth is nobody is listening, not in France and not in Britain. Over the last few weeks more Syrians have started arriving in Calais, the Jungle mainly houses Iraqis, Afghanis, Eritreans and a host of refugees from other conflict and poverty-stricken nations. A group of about 300 Syrians had set up camp near the ferry terminal and did not want to reside in the jungle. Honestly it’s hard to blame them for that. I think many believed that their situation was temporary, the hope that having traveled so far that the last few miles to their family and friends in England would be the easiest and that their stay in Calais would be a short one. I met this young Syrian man at the Syrian encampment, he helped us distribute sleeping bags and jackets to the young men that had just arrived, the vast majority of them had already escaped barrel bombings, sectarian death squads, treacherous seas and racist 208 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

police to arrive this far. The young man helped keep his comrades calm and in line, many people who haven’t ever worked with refugees before don’t realise how difficult it is for people form an orderly queue in a situation as difficult as that. Fights and riots can break out easily, people when pushed to their limits can often snap. The man helped keep everyone calm and distribute things to those most in need. Despite the fact that he clearly needed a warmer jacket he kept nothing for himself, handing everything that was given to him to those most in need. Afterwards he took me to one side and asked me what was happening in the UK and when they were going to open the borders for them. After I explained to him that the British government wasn’t going to do that he looked visibly distraught. He paused for a moment and then smiled defiantly, “I will see you in London” he said. Three days prior to this, his group had tried to jump onto the euro tunnel tracks and one man was killed instantly as he touched one of the high voltage wires, they had seen the smoke rising from his body. After everything these people have been through to get this far, no matter how dangerous those last few miles get, no cage in the world will stop them from trying. History will not remember the actions of our leaders kindly. Days later, I saw this man again, in a photo of him cowering and crying as French police broke up the camp violently. They tear gassed and beat the residents, tore down their tents and frog-marched them to the jungle, most of them had to leave all their possessions behind. It is not acceptable to treat human beings like this, the French authorities should be truly ashamed of themselves. The police continued to strip parts of the camp over the course of the day and riots inevitably broke out.


The situation is, frankly speaking, disgraceful. While the citizen response has been incredible, our respective governments have acted appallingly. However our citizen response is also not without fault. Over the course of the few days I spent in Calais, many groups turned up to distribute goods. Some of those people turned up in cars packed full of unsorted clothing, opened their doors and triggered riots in the camp. Some of the people that turned up were poverty tourists, treating the camp like it was some sort of human safari. One of the vans that turned up ran over a tent injuring two people inside before driving off oblivious to the damage they had caused. Boxes on boxes of useless items still arrive on a daily basis to the warehouses across Calais. I implore those reading this post, we do urgently need your help, but don’t just load up a van full of things and drive down to Calais. The amount of man-power needed to sort through donations is preventing us from delivering aid to people, inexperience in dealing with these sorts of situations is leading people to causing more trouble than good. Piles and piles of soaking abandoned clothing are appearing up and down the highway where people have failed to donate appropriate items to those most in need. If you want to help, please, donate your time or your money. L’Auberge des Migrants are trying to raise enough money to build more permanent shelters for these people, instead of spending money on a new tent, that £100 would be much better served by building an accommodation unit. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been donated to various little groups across the country, if we really want to help we need to start pooling this money together and working towards a united goal.


Please, don’t just turn up in Calais, get in touch with the people on the ground and arrange something that way. Warehouses in the UK still need help too, on top of that lobbying MPs and domestic activism will go a long way to helping find permanent housing for those currently stranded across the channel. I will leave you now with the words of one of the refugees who addressed the crowd at last weekend’s protest, because quite honestly the most important thing in this situation is to listen to the voices of those we are trying to help: “I speak for all of my neighbours living in the jungle when I say that we did not choose to leave our countries and make the dangerous journey here by choice. I and all the other migrants here would love to stay in our countries but we have been forced to leave.” Remember, these people are human beings and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, the only way we can do that is by working together.

Original source: • Words by Oz Katerji, 28TH SEPTEMBER 2015, HELP REFUGEES, CALAIS BLOGS, NEWS. Available from bclid=IwAR3UhZn009KzM82wTG9tex4 x067U8adaqY_7AzoeH2jwcDvl7G94u8K D7Js

‘My first therapist - who was an older, white male - effectively dumped me. The next therapist I saw, however, was secondgeneration Iranian-American, and I think we connected much better, both because we grew up hearing similar things from our immigrant parents, and because we’re both in a PoC ‘grey-area’. The ability to connect with others who also know how it feels to grow up in an immigrant household is vital’. Akari’s mother is a Japanese immigrant and single-mother who has lived in the US for over half of her life. Reflecting on her childhood, Akira contemplates ‘how conditioned she was to present herself as always being ‘OK’ and functioning, even when I really needed and wanted help.’ Akira recognises that this ‘realisation’ holds special value for children of immigrants who often, Akira feels, work a lot harder to establish their ethnic identity after living in the liminal space of ‘never truly belong[ing] ‘here’ or ‘there’. It, for Akira, meant finally finding a community and building positive relationships with someone who can empathise with her experiences.

‘It’s nice to know that I was not alone’, Akira explained. Whilst she would like to more openly share this part of her life with her mothers, she feels that ‘a large part of growing-up may also mean learning to appreciate a parent’s love language - even in moments of misunderstanding - and feeling that you are able to give them back the love and sacrifice they gave you. This, Akira feels, is especially true of Asian- American immigrants, in which explicit expressions of love such as telling you parents that ‘you love them’ and hugging one another’s is uncommon - some [parents] believe that this will spoil the kids. “Now I am older, I am better able to recognise my mother’s more ‘implicit’ mode of affection, and through therapy, I have spent a long time reappraising our interactions in order to acknowledge [sacrifice] and ‘pay it back’’.

Akari is a 30-year-old freelance creative living in the US who has struggled with finding a therapist she can relate to. She feels that it is an appropriate time to fully commit to a cycle of therapy, feeling more able to do so due to the fact that she is in the process of moving out of her family’s home for the first time.


Akira continues: ‘And sometimes, growing up simply means inheriting the strength to let go, realising that I have had a decade of experience and education which is a huge privilege and despite it all, I know my mother did the best they with what they had and what they knew.’



Montaz Marché works on modern black British History, particularly of the 18-20th century. Recently, her research has explored 18th century gender, racial politics, and experiences of black women in London.

and empowerment. I, myself, experience this daily as have many other black women and it is wrong to assume that others throughout history have not gone through the same, in their own way.

Article courtesy of UCL and can be found here: black-history-month-montaz-marche-historyma-graduate-researcher-black-feminist

This is an ever-present component of the British social landscape, in particular, and yet is comparatively understudied in early modern spheres. And so, I want to rectify this state, to bring Black British women’s lives and experiences in the 18/19th century to the forefront. This is precisely why I came to UCL. Not only as a diverse and thriving city campus but as an institution engaging further with black British history, I felt that my research aspiration could be supported as well as my development as a historian. Beyond that, UCL’s MA programme allowed me to expand with opportunities to engage with other topics of fascination outside my comfort zone and develop new passions in History. And whilst being in London, UCL provides the means to trace the footsteps of the 18th century black women who lived right on our doorstep.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, and why you decided to study the History MA at UCL? Well, I am a recent MA graduate, aspiring feminist writer and historian. I have always adored history from a young age especially anything from the 17th/18th/19th century. I have a passion for gender history and black British history, but I have always felt that my passions in history were always very divided between either studying women exclusively or black history exclusively. But, as I hope to make more aware, there is much more to the story. The fusion of these two realms of history is important and full of compelling women and histories. As a feminist historian, I believe that it is about time that we engage with the unique social structures and experiences that affect black women across all epochs. Black women of every period, every single one, goes through a unique struggle of self-identification, oppression 212 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Your MA dissertation was on black women’s lives in eighteenth/nineteenth-century London. Why did you decide to research this? I decided to write about black women’s lives in the eighteenth/nineteenth century in my MA dissertation because it is the topic and the era that I am most passionate about. All along


I felt like the 18th-century era, in particular, was one of many that were considerably underrepresented in terms of diversity. Looking back, it was difficult growing up loving different eras of history like the 18th century and not having any black female figures, beyond Mary Seacole, who I could relate to. Seeing individual black figures dotted around modern/ancient history and popular culture also did not make sense to me. I remember myself wondering where was everyone else? And in thinking this way it made it hard for me to love history in the same way as I do now because I knew it wasn’t the whole story. This research project has been long in the making, researching on my own time from in my teens, watching in awe at films like ‘Belle’. But it wasn’t until my second year when I had to make a podcast for a module that I thought maybe I could combine both my academic study and my passion project. I made a podcast on interracial marriages in the 18thcentury British empire and my lecturer loved it so much she decided to integrate more black British history into her module. From there, my infusion of black British history just took off. But I felt like my MA thesis was the right time both in terms of my personal development as a historian and in terms of the growing interest in Black British history to produce such a topic of research. I really loved researching it and I wanted to do a service to the black women who had gone unnoticed for so long. And there was so much of their story to tell! How did the modules and supervision at UCL help you develop a research approach for this project? UCL has been incredible in terms of support and helping me develop my research. In terms of modules, not only did each module challenge and develop my skills as a historian but I have an incredible appreciation for the freedom that each module research project 214 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

offers you to engage with the theme of the module in whatever manner you choose. This way I was able to explore themes of race, colonialism, gender and others in a variety of different forms namely, through film, public history, oral history and more generally in gender studies. Because of this, I was confident and able to engage with a variety of different mediums, archives and theories for my overarching MA thesis, whilst being exploring topics I found fascinating all throughout the year. Supervision has also been fantastic. In terms of MA supervisors, I definitely think I struck gold with Dr Ireton, who took a personal interest in my project and went to extraordinary length to ensure that I was not only supported but also advancing as a historian, both in my project and my future aspirations generally. Some great module tutors, as well as amazing course mates, has made this past year the best. What were the most interesting findings from your research? Did anything surprise you? Having spent most of my life looking at extraordinary, spectacular black individuals from across the world and throughout history, it was surprising to me the spectrum of experiences that many black women underwent and how there are so many extraordinary things to be said about the most ordinary of their actions. Thinking back now, it should not be surprising that black women were led such typical, contemporary lives, but I think it is such an uncommon representation of them, seeing them as innkeepers, or criminals, or servants or even prostitutes was precisely a fascination. The most surprising example I think was a woman called Charlotte Gardiner who was executed for ‘breaking the peace’ during the Gordon Riots of 1780, and arguably the circumstances of her execution made her the modern equivalent of a political activist. I had never thought of

black women taking an interest in the politics of the time. Contextually, amidst the slave driven western world, normality for black women, to experience the same work, social status, experiences, interactions and actions as their neighbours, the mutual solidarity that formed interracial relationships within class thresholds in 18th-century mainland Britain was an extraordinary thing. It is also a fact that shocks others when I speak about my research, which is perhaps a statement on their representation in history itself. It’s Black History Month this month; why do you think it’s so important to focus on the experiences of black people, and particularly black women, as you have done in your research? It is important to focus on black women through research like mine because it is time to change the narrative. Black History Month represents a time of celebration, illumination and appreciation for the incredible role and contribution black people have been responsible for in this country for centuries. And yet in 2019, many still believe that black people simply materialised in Britain in 1945 on the deck of the HMS Windrush. This is fundamentally wrong. Black women have been a part of Britain since the ‘Beachy Head Woman’, the Afro Roman who lived and died in Sussex in the 3rd century and the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ in York, of African descent from the 4th century. We are not some modern phenomenon. Our lives, our people and our history are just as much British as any Norman or Roman, Tudor or Churchill and I believe now is the time to undo the erasure of that past. Black women, particularly in the 18th century have existed within and fundamentally overcame a deep-rooted structure of domination that categorised them as ‘lesser’ or ‘subhuman’. Yet still, the black women were independent, self-defining citizens as well as wives, mothers, independents,

businesswomen and valued members of British communities. Our past may be darker and difficult to confront but, as Britons, the black women of the 18th century are all our ancestors, mine and yours. They share in our British ‘Identity’ and helped to make the country what it is today. Beyond statistics, beyond being part of the social landscape of 18th century Britain and they are human beings who share in the story of this nation and who are well worth talking about Interview by: UCL.



Anastasia Goana is well-versed in luxury wedding planning and hospitality. She attained her MA in Media and Business at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and MA in Global Communications from the Tilburg University. She previously completed her BA in Mass Communications and minor in Psychology at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Exploring Enoughness in Third Culture Kids was adapted from Goana’s Master thesis titled The Grey Area: Looking into the world of Third Culture Kids. This research was supervised under the direction of Prof. Dr. K. Yağmur at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. The sampling frame of the study consisted of self-identified TCKs who had access to Facebook and who were willing to participate in the study. Eventually, 12 participants were chosen for in-depth interviews - six of whom were interviewed in-person and the other six, through Skype calls. The central aim of this study was to add to the current literature on TCKs, as well as, to showcase the importance of taking upon a social constructivist approach to view the concepts of culture and belonging.


As social beings, a large part of how humans act is directed towards what is considered to be socially-acceptable (Blommaert & Varis, 2015; Monceri, 2009). The way we carry ourselves is aligned with the spoken and unspoken rules established and accepted as status quo (Blommaert & Varis, 2015; Liebler, 2016). Labelled as microhegemonies, there exists guidelines for individuals to fulfill in order to be recognized and accepted as an authentic representation of a group (Blommaert & Varis, 2011; Liebler, 2016). These rules are sometimes overt and at other times, obscure (Blommaert & Varis, 2015; Liebler, 2016). Employing the image of a jigsaw puzzle to interpret microhegemonies where puzzle pieces contain distinct snippets of identity, it is adamant that each piece is placed precisely –social cues have to be accurately practiced (Blommaert & Varis, 2015). It is also crucial to have enough emblematic features to be recognized and acknowledged as a member of an identity category (Blommaert & Varis, 2011; Blommaert & Varis, 2015). Extensive research in literature has since revealed how a settled sense of place, belonging and identification are a multi-layered dynamic phenomenon (see researches by Blommaert, Leppänen & Spotti, 2011; Blommaert & Varis, 2011; Blommaert & Varis 2015; Deaux & Verkuyten,


2014; Künüroğlu, 2015; Monceri, 2009; Tannenbaum & Tseng, 2015; Vertovec, 2007). This is particularly as such for Third Culture Kids (TCKs) – as for TCKs, diversity is a reality.

THIRD CULTURE KIDS, MICROHEGEMONIES AND ENOUGHNESS The concept of enoughness is particularly intriguing for TCKs. For these individuals who comprise of a mishmash of cultural identities, the question of enoughness is one that is challenging. The expectation of being American but not having lived in the USA is not a fair expectation. You would see it in someone else but you won’t necessarily… resonate with it. (Harry) It is difficult to rationalize and figure out for yourself [and] also for others. (Fleur) TCKs are expected to have enough details to claim belonging to a culture, as well as, get enough details right for others to recognize that they too can be considered part of a particular cultural grouping. The results amassed from this research identify enoughness being recognized in three aspects - physical features, point of reference and point of identification. The first is revealed in the following: I think it’s because I don’t look German. I’m always asked, “Where are you really from?” (Christina) Here, Christina exhibits how her sense of belonging is often questioned due to her physical features.


Next, enoughness due to point of reference is exemplified in the following: Not having the same cultural points of reference with my friends whenever they would comment and laugh about [a particular] Greek series or song. I would rarely know them… and I would always feel kind of different. (Andrea) When I hang out with a group of people … I realize that, perhaps, I am not as much as the rest of them. Sometimes, I don’t understand their references and when they switch to that language, I feel left out because I don’t understand it. It is during those moments when I feel like I am not properly Malaysian. This is also the same with French people. I don’t know some of the slang, references or pop culture. (Fleur) Settles and Buchanan (2014) contend that individuals tend to build group associations centered around a shared background and familiarity. In these terms, when surrounded by other members of the cultural grouping, both TCKs realized that they were not like the others. This is exposed in the excerpts above where both Andrea and Fleur share similar experiences revealing how heritage and ascribed statuses are insufficient for them to feel a sense of belonging to a cultural group. The lack of knowledge and exposure to Malaysian and French practices and point of references for Fleur and, of Greek references for Andrea this resulted in both TCKs feeling like they were not Malaysian or French or Greek enough. The final aspect of enoughness is recognized as a point of identification- as illustrated below: This is theoretically supposed to work… I’m supposed to be German, I’m supposed to get the banter… I’m supposed to be able to understand them.



I don’t understand German guys- how they date, what they do, how they flirt; it doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s supposed to, apparently. (Jenna) When I came to the USA, there was a reverse cultural shock. I realized that I don’t feel American. I understand these people, but they are very plastic to me…. There was and there still is a really strong internal struggle… I perceived and imagined them to be different. And, I am perceived to be different, as well. I still get frustrated with Americans. (Harry) In the excerpts above, both Jenna and Harry refer to Germans and Americans as them respectively and express their inabilities to identify with the cultures despite being perceived to have multiple official links to both countries. Jenna reveals that there exists is an expectation for her to be able to comprehend these features. And yet, as she reiterates several times, I don’t understand, and it doesn’t make any sense to me. The repetition of the words, supposed to, as well as Jenna’s choice of words are indicative of her vexation regarding this expectation. This is frustration is also reflected in Harry’s commentary as he explicitly states, I still get frustrated with Americans. Harry’s categorization of Americans as them is a clear indication that Harry neither resonates with Americans and nor does he identify as a member of this group. Thus, revealing that ethnicity and heritage are inadequate to understand culture and practices.



Exploring the realities that TCKs face for matters in relation to their multiple identifications to social groupings, the question of how much is enough is one that is perplexing. To claim belonging and to be accepted as a member of disparate communities, TCKs have to know, understand and practice the implicit and explicit rules of each group. And even then, TCKs might not completely resonate with the rules. After all, at its core, the concept of home is primarily linked to a place, a set of definitions and a set of rules - one that is stable and unchanging (Ahmed, 1999). And, as Pollock and Reken (2008) champion, “There simply is no real answer to that question for many TCKs” (p. 125).

Bibliography • Blommaert. J., Leppänen, S. &, Spotti, M. (2011). “Endangering multilingualism”. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies Paper 56. •

Blommaert, J. &, Varis, P. (2015). “Chapter 3: How to ‘how to’? The prescriptive micropolitics of Hijabista”. In Enoughness, accent and light communities: Essays on contemporary identities. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies Paper 139, 30-48.

Blommaert, J. &, Varis, P. (2011). “Enough is enough: the heuristics of authenticity in superdiversity”. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies Paper 2.

Deaux, K. &, Verkuyten, M. (2014). “Chapter 6: The Social Psychology of Multiculturalism: Identity and Intergroup Relations”. Benet-Martínez, V. &, Hong, Y. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Künüroğlu, F. (2015). Turkish Return Migration from Western Europe: Going Home from Home [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. Tilburg University.

Liebler, C. A. (2016). “On the Boundaries of Race: Identification of Mixed-heritage Children in the United States, 1960 to 2010”. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1-21.

Monceri, F. (2009). “The transculturating self II. Constructing identity through identification”. Language and Intercultural Communication, 9(1): 43-53.

Pollock, D., &, Van Reken, R. E. (2009). Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Settles, I. H. &, Buchanan, N. T. (2014). “Chapter 8: Multiple Groups, Multiple Identities, and Intersectionality”. BenetMartínez, V. &, Hong, Y. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Tannenbaum, M. &, Tseng, J. (2015). “Which one is Ithaca? Multilingualism and sense of identity among Third Culture Kids”. International Journal of Multilingualism, 12(3): 276-297.

Vertovec, S. (2007). “Super-diversity and its implications”. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6), 1024– 1054.



Corrina Eastwood is an art psychotherapist, supervisor, artist, lecturer and activist. She attended art school in East London, graduating in Fine Art Painting in 1999. She went on to qualify as an art psychotherapist in 2005 and since then has worked in a variety of settings including charities, therapeutic communities, hospitals, and in private practice. She works as a lecturer, reflective practice group and workshop facilitator on MA Art Psychotherapy trainings. In 2015 she founded the intersectional feminist art therapy charity Outskirts that works with women and marginalised communities. Her focus when teaching and supervising is in practicing from psychodynamic foundations, integrating intersectional and feminist perspectives, exploring identity and difference and raising a consciousness in practitioners surrounding issues of power, privilege and prejudice. Her art practice is central to informing her work as an art therapist and she has an interest in the meeting of art and activism and in 2012 co founded the intersectional feminist arts organisation Sweet ‘Art. Corrina is currently working on a co edited book titled Intersectionality and the Arts Psychotherapies due to be published in 2021. Official website:


Language Note I note that the word Gypsy is a racial slur and only to be used by those from the GRT community and of Romani decent, if they choose to self-identify this way. This is due to the historical and current use of the word to dehumanise and oppress, including during acts of genocide and slavery.


As an art psychotherapist, artist, activist, lecturer and writer, I exist in many professional and relational spaces in which I can engage in the process of exploring being ‘all of myself at once’. In personal and familial spaces I am a Romani Gypsy woman, light-skinned and ‘well assimilated’. I am part of one of the umbrella’d, acronym’d communities grouped in the UK, sometimes in problematic ways, by normative powers, dominant definers and policy makers. I am GRT (Gypsy Romani Traveller), I am BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic), I am Romanichal (English Gypsy), I am Roma (European Romani), I am a Traveller (settled), I am part English Gorja (non-Traveller), I am a woman. I am white. I speak English, I speak less Romanichal Jib. I have been educated in many spaces, including and beyond academia. Within spaces of secure attachment, as well as spaces affected detrimentally by trans and


inter generationally transmitted trauma. Spaces that I have often felt, whether true or not, had never before intersected before me. I am potentially an adult Third Culture Kid (TCK) more likely an adult Cross Culture Kid (CCK). A CCK is defined by Pollock, Reken & Pollock (2017) as a person who has lived or meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant amount of time during the first eighteen years of their life. A CCK model contextualises layers of cultural complexity that can seem endless, yet the idea of a third symbolic space has felt so meaningful in my own journey, and a personally helpful part of this particular acronym (TCK).

I have traced my own family back to the 1600’s, revealing a clear line of nomadic Romanichal.

In all of these spaces of my passively being, actively working, denying, surviving and existing, where I can engage in this ongoing process of being ‘all of myself at once’, my art practice and the alternative language that it creates has been the place where identity entanglements can most comfortably exist and wait without demanding normative sense. This third space is where intersectional (Crenshaw 1989) making of meaning can germinate.

Years after the Holocaust, and in just under a year of the death of my Dad who lived in England to the age of 75, I continue as a Romani woman to use art based practice, amongst other ways, to reflect on that which was and continues to be ‘devoured’, of this part of my ethnicity, race, culture and Self.

The Romani people are proven to be genetically distinct from other populations (Cressy 2018). The blood quantum’s that have determined the fate of many Romani people over hundreds of years of persecution, slavery and genocide, are still significant within and outside of GRT communities today. This both embodies and mirrors abuses enacted for centuries upon my community. Studies date the initial out-migration of the Romani people from India to the sixth century and trace a path through central Asia, the Caucaus and the Middle East where a divergence of Eastern and Western branches began in the twelfth century (Cressy 2018).


On the 2nd of August 1944, 5 months after the birth of my father in Hampshire England, a Romani Gypsy man born into a nomadic Romanichal family, across just 1,000 miles of land and water the remaining 3,500 Roma and Sinti people were murdered in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. That day those 3,500 adults and children became part of the estimated 500,000 - 1.5 million Roma and Sinti people to be murdered during the ‘Porajmos’ meaning ‘The Devouring’ in Romani.

As a child and adolescent I experienced the beauty and what I believe to be existential advantages of my rich cultural identity. I also experienced the direct and inter generationally transmitted impact of hate crime and racism, and the less than healthy ways in which nomadic ways of being, can translate to nomadic ways of relating in settled traveller communities in response to systemic persecution. The signs on pub and restaurant doors in the village I grew up stating ‘No Travellers’, excluding my family and I, did more than just physically exclude. These signs also perpetuated the fear and shame of that which was in my “ratti” (blood) as my parents would tell me, to be concealed and denied.

I reflect on the significance of my father being born the year in which Romani parents across Europe would have looked at their newborns and both loved and feared (maybe even resented) that which was in their “ratti”. Artist and writer Imogen Di Sapia, as part of the commemoration event for Roma Genocide Remembrance Day in 2020, reflected on the start of her own familial rupture or cultural devouring, taking place in and around the year of 1944. She recounted the family story of her matriarchal Grandmother found in the kitchen one day ‘feeding all the families papers, photographs and records into the flames at the stove, remembered in the wider family as “the fire in the kitchen” episode. This was around 1944.’ “This domestic bonfire scene, I was more recently informed by a Romani historian and genealogist who was assisting me, was a repeating scene recounted by those looking for their possible Romani heritage, people like me who had also heard a rumour that began with a fire in the kitchen in the 1940’s. It seems that (in my attempt to imagine what happened) the Grandmothers of Romani Britain had gotten word that their wider family and community members were being taken and ultimately murdered under the Nazi regime around this timeframe.” (Di Sapia 2020) This ethnic devouring or collective silencing, felt less totalistic in my family dynamic than for some. I inherited much of my Romani culture in ways that were more explicitly named, while being simultaneously schooled to conceal and deny it. To perfect a different accent to my family, to become educated and go and “do well”. In this third space I was expected to honor this cultural difference, embody it, respond to it, yet also deny it, find a way to be it and not be it, all at once.

Pollock, Reken & Pollock (2017) reflect on the cultural complexity of CCK experiences of the mixing of worlds, for example home and school worlds. Within this created third space I resisted the devouring, while assimilating for my community and the Other. Yet how does one fully honor ‘all of yourself at once’ in this self curated third space of identity, while also surviving such a violent cultural rupture? An owning of identity as Romani Gypsy within the community is often defined in part by choosing wisely when not to disclose it, if and where possible. This is culturally embedded. Those with greater white privilege (McIntosh 1989) who have mastered ‘assimilation’ to thrive amongst dominant social groups are often perceived as most Romani when they show they can present as not. The common racist trope of the false or untruthful Gypsy (Corradi 2018) is one that has seemingly been manifested in the realms of oppression and persecution, and then turned back on my community as a further weapon against us. Avoid permanence, lie to survive persecution and branding, then be persecuted and branded as liars. “Gypsy was (and is even now) an insult, synonymous with vagabond, lazy, dirty, unable to work, unreliable, false, and cunning” (Corradi 2018 p terminological note) When training as an art psychotherapist the exhaustion and pain in maintaining class and ethnic death (Quintanales 1983) was once both paradoxically soothed and inflamed by an unavoidable truth spoken by one of my tutors; ‘You cannot lie in your art’. Many years later I was asked to take part in the International Institute for Visual Arts event ‘Say no to Identity theft- Issues Surrounding the Politics, History and Current Situation of English Gypsy Romani Identity in the THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 225

U.K’. I had taken my art based exploration of making meaning and racial, cultural identity awareness in to film making. I showed a trailer of The Baby And The Snake, a short film that archived culturally important and archetypal feeling stories, told amongst my family and community that responded in part to historical and current racism. This event prompted in me the emergence of a new process of personal exploration in response to racial cultural identity, through a more in depth critical art based enquiry. In collaboration with artist Mia Hawk we created a self-portraiture project using costume, props, and family and cultural narratives that held significance for me. (Fig 1 The Pedestal Project). Seregina (2019) notes the way in which art based research utilises artistic practice in order to explore phenomena by engaging with audiences. They note that this gives “room for experience-based, interpersonal, and dialogical engagement.” (Seregina, 2019, p2) Mia and I both agreed that what felt embodied in the enactments and photographic archiving was a sense of integration and defiance in the face of grief. The exploring of costume and makeup become representative of identity formation in a third creative space of viewing and being viewed, then photographed as a visual narrative and cultural archive. A spontaneous use of significant props included pheasant skins gifted to me by my Dad from birds he had killed to eat. This feels to represent the tensions between middle class appearance and working class origins, honouring cultural tradition and norm. The pain and rawness of the attempted integrations seem to be illustrated in the bloodied attachments/detachments of the skins. The theatrical makeup feels to represent both war paint and disguise, 226 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

commenting on my pale skin and feelings of alienation and difference, felt from within and outside of my community. The word “slut” is scrawled across my chest responding to patriarchal shaming that exists for women within my community and beyond. Trinkets and cultural items inherited from family were added to my costume, potentially representing the loss and gain of cultural collateral. I am about to eat caviar from an over sized silver spoon, and the ambiguous location of the third cultural space of ‘the pedestal’, implied in the naming of the project, points toward class transition, ‘passing’ and alienation. The creative process and resultant product of The Pedestal Project feels in part to reclaim and re-appropriate as way of challenging the normative power of stereotypes, enabling “discursive practices of re-signification – a crucial terrain of agency and symbolic warfare” (Corradi 2018 pXVIII). This ‘symbolic warfare’ and intersectional meaning making has been significantly contained within art based enquiry, safely holding the ambiguity and nuance needed when managing the real and imagined risks of persecution and racism. Where I can continue to attempt to be ‘all of myself at one’ and resist cultural devouring. Resist. Opre Roma!

References •

Bull, S. & O’Farrell, K. (2012). Art Therapy and Learning Disabilities: Don’t guess my happiness. London: Routledge.

Cressy, D (2018) Gypsies: An English History Oxford: University Press

Pollock, D. Van Reken R & Pollock, M. (2017) Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Crenshaw, K (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’ University of Chicago Legal Forum 1:8

Di Sapia, I. (2020) Healing Hidden Identity : The Lost Romani Generation Spoken at Roma Genocide Remembrance Day 2020

McIntosh, P (1989) White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Peace and freedom July/August pp8-10

Corradi, L (2018) Gypsy Feminism: Intersectional Politics, Alliances, Gender and Queer Activism, Oxfordshire: Routledge

Quintanales, M (1983). I Paid Very Hard for My Immigrant Ignorance. In Moraga, C and Anzaldua, G, This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color press.

Seregina, U. Consumption Markets & Culture (2019) Co- creating bodily, interactive, and reflexive knowledge through art- based research, consumption markets and culture.



I am a Syrian artist, raised in Dubai and currently based in London. My practice focuses on the notions of spacio-temporal identity and relations with the ‘other’. As an Arab woman, I am curious in contemplating taboos of intimacy, sex, and family relations within an Arab social structure. The female bodily experience, in particular, is a recurring trope. Through experimenting with plaster casting and natural objects, my interest in incorporating elements of the organic and the inorganic evolved. Recently, I have been delving into the idea of dynamism, or failed dynamism; how two exclusive beings, or societies, could share with one another. My sculptures and paintings both explore a dialogue between forms, amalgamating or interrupting each other, which explores the extent in which continuity can be achieved between two singular, individual beings. ‘Untitled’ (Gyros) (Image 43) explores the social-cultural masculinity that is rooted in this region and Middle Eastern culture. The idea of this piece came about during the building of my solo exhibition in Thessaloniki, Greece. With an interest in food, culture and consumption, my work has been inspired by materials and forms found within the city, alongside cultural familiarities present due to Thessaloniki’s middle ground location between my homes; Syria, Dubai and East London. 228 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Twelve Desperate Egg-Plants (Image 44 and 45) My work does this through investigating the barriers of discontinuity between the organic and inorganic. One such work that explores this is ‘Twelve Desperate Egg-Plants’, where real eggs are made to coexist with nonliving, plaster cast eggplants. This pairing questions the extent to which continuity can be achieved between two singular individual forms. The artwork also considers the placement of oneself within a foreign space. Paintings (Image 46 and 47) have recently become an immediate tool for me to study shape, form and colour, which further informs my sculptural practice. They tend to carry on a dialogue between dissimilar forms, and how they may consolidate or interrupt each other. Terms such as engulf, implant and infix, could be used to describe the actions that are portrayed within the works. These interventions follow George Bataille’s theory of discontinuity and continuity, which states, ‘reproduction implies the existence of discontinuous beings’. Whilst most of my paintings involve two or more objects (bodies) interacting and existing within one frame, the work ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ is more focused on a single figure, in isolation. Here, I am more interested in removing the self from the other.



Images 58 and 59 THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 231

Images 60 and 61 232 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)


He expresses: ‘I will make sure I know my children’s friends, and if they want to come to my house they have to follow my rules’ he said. Whilst Femi is open in wanting the best for his children, his son Adé he worries about the very ‘defined’ expectations of success which has been projected onto him from a very young age.On the topic, Adé remarks that ‘if we aren’t surgeon-lawyers in space, we aren’t successful, but even though this may

sound cliche, what about my happiness?’. ‘This invalidation eventually becomes internalised and turns into guilt. Whenever I searched for stories like [mine], I stumbled across stories of people who had the ‘right’ to be filled with anxiety, but I now understand that my experiences are valid in their own way.’

Femi is a Ghanaian taxi driver in New York City who hopes his 12th-grade son named Adé will get into Harvard - his two eldest are already attending Duke and Brown.

Image 62

My father and I have not yet had a frank conversation about what I want to do in college, and I know it will be an easy conversation, as we have differing views on ‘worthwhile’ areas of academic study’. Image Citation: • Valerie Yuwen Hsieh



Image 63

THE POLITICS OF BELONGING AT AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Ten years ago, I met Ruth Van Reken, coauthor of the seminal book on Third Culture Kids (TCKs), for the first time in a hotel room where she was staying in Singapore. In hindsight, it was a significant moment for the both of us. She was visiting from the US to give a keynote speech at a conference organized by the International Baccalaureate Organisation as well as a series of talks at 234 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

one of the international schools there. Of all the international schools that she could have been invited to, it just so happened that she was going to speak at my high school alma mater. I had found the coincidence intriguing when Ruth told me of her planned visit and had decided to fly in from Australia, where I was doing my doctoral dissertation on TCKs at the time, to meet her. When I went to see Ruth, I had been feeling conflicted about what she had written on TCKs.

I had read the first edition of the book that Ruth had co-authored with David Pollock, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds and her article, ‘TCK Relationships and Grief’ and had found myself sobbing while reading her words. As I read of Ruth’s experience of being sent to a boarding school at age six, I was immediately taken back to that time when I had mindlessly roamed the hallways of a Japanese public school during recess at age 11, not knowing how to relate to the local kids. My mother was Japanese and I could speak Japanese but I had never lived in Japan prior to that.

where most of the teachers were white, in postcolonial Asia were missing. Frustrated, I brought this up with Ruth when I saw her that fateful afternoon in that air-conditioned hotel room as I sat on the armchair next to the window. Ruth was sitting on the bed under the white sheets, trying to recuperate from her jetlag as we conversed. When I look back, I wonder where I, a student and a young Asian woman who had been taught to respect our seniors, had found the galls to tell a published author—and a white woman 30 years my senior—straight to her face that my personal Asian experience was missing from her book.

Even though Ruth’s story was a story of a white missionary kid in Nigeria not long after WW2, and mine was about an Asian kid in Japan in the late 1980s, her experience of isolation resonated with me. Our lives may seem completely different on the surface in terms of race, geography, age and so forth, but we shared the experience of growing up in the third culture, where negotiating the socially constructed boundaries of identity and belonging defined our childhoods and came as second nature. We were both natives to the third culture, so to speak, and shared similar losses and pain as well as the joys and wonderment of being able to understand different worldviews.

To my surprise, she listened.

The ‘third culture’ has never been about adding two cultures (as if cultures are countable) and mixing them up the way mixing green and yellow paint creates blue paint in the way that Eakin (1998) defines it. If it was, then Ruth and I, as well as my other friends who self-identify as TCKs, would have absolutely nothing in common. Yet, there were also many pages in Ruth’s book from which I had felt that my experiences as an Asian kid going to an English-medium international school,

I cannot remember what exactly I had told her, but in Ruth’s retelling, I had apparently said that ‘nobody at the international school knew who I was when I went home’ and going to school felt as though I had to be ‘Western by day and Asian by night’. On her part, I recall her saying that she hadn’t written about the experiences of non-white TCKs not because she wanted to ignore them but because she hadn’t experienced it herself and didn’t know how to write about it. Ruth encouraged me to write about it. From that day forward, unbeknownst to me, Ruth (now my beloved mentor and friend) made a point of asking all the TCKs and students she met about their experiences that may be different from her white, Anglophone experiences. To the extent that people shared their stories with her, she has added the different layers to the third culture experience to the book. For this reason, the third edition—now titled, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds and co-authored with David Pollock as well as Michael V Pollock—is way thicker than the one I had initially read. As for me, I finished my doctoral dissertation, determined to add my voice to THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 235


the TCK conversation, and published it as the book, Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School. On the one hand, I wanted to write for Asian/ POC TCKs like myself. I remember reading what others had written about Third Culture Kids, second-generation immigrant children, and postcolonialism and feeling as though I was reading my own diary. Having my own experiences reflected back to me between those pages was deeply validating and empowering. I wanted others to feel the same as they read my writing. On the other hand, I did not want to merely preach to the choir. I wanted white educators to read about their students so they can make changes for the better. I wanted to write about difference and race and power structures and so on without alienating those in positions of authority over young minds. Ruth’s advice? ‘Start with the similarities and then work through the differences. That way you’ll be able to come back to the similarities.’ Danau Tanu, PhD, is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her monograph, Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School, will be released as paperback in December 2020. Pre-order directly from the Berghahn Books website for a 25% discount with the coupon code: TAN958 The article below has been compiled from extracts taken from several chapters in Growing Up in Transit. The article was first published in its current form in Inside Indonesia.

EDUCATING GLOBAL CITIZENS? Danau Tanu ‘This is my country. The bule (white people) shouldn’t mess with our country,’ he said, perched precariously on the back of a bench at an international school in Jakarta. Dae Sik was talking about Indonesia. He grew up in Indonesia, but he is technically South Korean. His passport says so, his name says so, and ethnically speaking he is. ‘But, aren’t you Korean?’ I asked. ‘Of course,’ he responded, ‘it’s in my blood.’ As far as he was concerned, nothing he had said was contradictory. Dae Sik’s high school is a multicultural bubble for expatriate and Indonesian children. Inside the security gates lies a well-maintained, oasis-like campus which belies the bustle and smog of Jakarta. As students flood out of the classrooms at recess, you can hear a Russian teenager speaking fluent, colloquial Indonesian to a classmate; Indian teenagers speaking English with an American accent, then switching to an Indian accent and back again within a matter of seconds, depending on who they are talking to; a Taiwanese teenager speaking English, Mandarin and Indonesian in one sentence. No-one bats an eyelid. It’s just another day at an international school. When Suharto was president, Indonesian Citizens were prevented from attending international schools, which catered mainly to the expatriate communities. But since this restriction was relaxed, international education has become increasingly popular among the financially privileged, who praise them for the high quality of education they offer.


While international schools are sometimes criticised for their exclusiveness, they celebrate the number of nationalities represented in their student body and teaching staff as a mark of their diversity. But despite international schools’ ideology of ‘global Citizenship’, students learn to internalise cultural hierarchies - meaning that student perceptions of popularity are sometimes coloured by race.

THE POPULARITY STAKES ‘So, who are the popular kids?’ I asked a couple of seniors.

‘Well, popularity isn’t such a big deal here, but I suppose the white kids that like to sit over there are considered popular,’ Melinda answered as she pointed at the benches near the high school office. ‘The white kids?’ I repeated suspiciously, as I was sure they were not all ‘white’. ‘Yeah, the white kids.’ I leaned over to do a double take on the group she was referring to. Many of them were Caucasian, but there were also two blacks, one South Asian, and at least three were of mixed Caucasian and Asian descent. Melinda did not notice the irony in her choice of words. On another occasion, a couple of students from the group referred to as the ‘white kids’ helped the Korean students set up a tent during a senior sleepover at school. All were male. One of their friends came over and said, ‘Hey, the white kids are helping the Korean kids!’ There was a pause as we all tried to digest that statement. One of the ‘white kids’ broke the silence, ‘Dude, I’m Pakistani.’ The other ‘white kid’ added, as he held on to the tent he was working on, ‘Yeah and I’m 238 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Asian. My mom is Chinese…and you’re half Japanese.’ It was only then that the student realised the inaccuracy of his statement. What these kids understand is that whiteness is not always about skin colour. It can also be about looking and sounding as though you have been raised in a white dominant society. The student cliques perceived to be popular often have more Caucasian students than other groups. But they also have nonCaucasian members, who are usually highly westernised native speakers of English and who often also exude great confidence. The way they sit, walk, talk, move, dress and wear makeup all betray the western influences in their lives. As a result, they are perceived to be ‘white’. The school administration affirms the elite position of students socialised in Anglophone culture in subtle - and not so subtle - ways. The sports on offer as extracurricular activities, for example, much more attention is paid to sports like rugby and softball than to sports popular among the Asian students, who make up a majority of the school population. A shared culture also makes it easier for students from western countries to build rapport with the teachers and administrators, both inside and outside of class. Japanese students are generally silent in the regular classes taught by teachers from Anglophone countries, but become vocal and participative once they are in a class with a Japanese teacher. An Indonesian teacher also commented that her Indonesian students were more relaxed in her class.



Just as native English speakers are perceived as white regardless of how they look, Indonesian speaking students at the school - a group that includes Indonesian nationals of different ethnic backgrounds, including Chinese and Indians, and students of mixed heritage, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese, Filipinos and a Palestinian, among others - are perceived as being homogeneously Indonesian. One of Dae Sik’s friends, Andrew, has an Indonesian mother. His father comes from the United Kingdom, but Andrew considers himself more Indonesian than British. ‘Here in Indonesia, I can make conversation with anyone I see. From Bali to wherever I go, upper class to lower class, even pedicab drivers and beggars,’ he said, gesturing with his hand as he spoke. ‘But then when I go to England, it’s a different story. I don’t really know what to talk about.’ Speaking of the ‘white’ students, he says, ‘When I hang out with them, I just don’t feel that connection. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel comfortable. ’For the most part, the ‘Indonesian’ students like Andrew get along well with foreign students. But they sometimes choose to describe their relationship with ‘white’ students in nationalistic, anti-colonialist terms. When I asked Andrew what the school social hierarchy looked like, he answered ‘Indo, bule and then Korean, and Japanese’. He described the ‘white’ students as ‘arrogant’, asserting that ‘They walk around like they own the place. So we put them in their place.’ As Andrew’s comments suggest, the dominant position occupied by the popular ‘white’ group doesn’t go unchallenged. Indonesian students are generally from privileged backgrounds and don’t shy from using their financial resources to vie for the 240 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

top place in the school social hierarchy. Indonesian students counter the advantages enjoyed by foreign students by making a show of their wealth, for example, clubbing together to hire a posh Jakarta club (and some bodyguards) for a party. One student revealed that the actual cost of these kinds of functions is less than the other students think. But they leave other second guessing the cost in order to play up their financial capacity.


Teachers and administrators, as well as other students, like to point out that the ‘Indonesians’ tend not to mix, something that has a bearing on their standing in the eyes of staff, for whom the ideal student is the ‘global citizen’. Indonesians add to the school’s overall sense of diversity by their presence, but fall short on being ‘international’. By contrast, Englishspeaking groups are generally perceived by staff to be the most international because of the mix of nationalities and physical differences represented in those groups. Both the ‘Indonesian’ and ‘white’ groups are equally heterogeneous. But the labels they attract, for example, as ‘white’, ‘Indonesian’ or ‘international’ depend on who is calling the shots. And although westernised, English speaking students may be referred to as ‘white’ by the students when speaking of status, the fact that they share a sense of familiarity with western culture becomes invisible when internationalism is at stake. Danau Tanu ( is a PhD candidate at the School of Social and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia. This article is part of the Learning to Belong feature edition. Inside Indonesia 102: Oct-Dec 2010

HOW CAN THEORY BETTER DEFINE THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF THE THIRD CULTURE EXPERIENCE? Wendy is transgender. Wendy is an only child. Wendy was born into a Russian family, but their parents immigrated to German when she was of a very young age. There is a strong Russian presence in the country, so for Wendy’s mother, it very much felt like a ‘home away from home’. They know very little about Russian culture, but their mother holds string ties to her ‘home’ culture. A few years later, their father got a new job overseas and the family relocated to the US. Wendy’s family are supportive of their decision to transition and feel that the medical facilities in the US are better able to assist them during this time. However, Wendy’s mother is personally very worried about the emotion support provided, and often asks herself: ‘how can I better support them emotionally?’

Wendy’s has often felt that her parents are being too harsh on themselves and is thankful for their support and willingness to use female pronouns as well as their name, Wendy. During their teen years, which coincided with their families second relocation with Wendy’s decision to begin their gender reassignment, Wendy’s has struggled significantly with their sense of identity both in terms of gender and culture. Wendy has been very open about her struggles and one day hopes to write a book which better explains the often-overlooked intersectional experiences of trans-TCKs and the impact on the trajectory of their identity development.


Source: • Gardner, M., n.d. Communicating Across Boundaries [online]. Available at: <communicatingacrossboundariesblog. com/about/> [Accessed 28 October 2020].



I am amazed how often young people tell me they feel stressed out. Many will mention that they feel that way at least two to three days during any given week. A few even confide that they are stressed every single day. Some say because their peers are stressed, they are obliged to feel the same. What’s concerning is that kids as young as 10-11 years old tell me they are regularly stressed. In fact, only a minority of teens tell me they are never anxious or worried. Global issues like the coronavirus pandemic have also affected the levels of stress among adolescents around the world.


Stress – the feeling of emotional or physical tension – is the body’s response to demand or pressure. Some stress can be useful for finishing a paper, performing well in a competition, or acing that all-important presentation. From an evolutionary standpoint, experiencing stress has been lifesaving. I tell teens that when we were cavemen and cavewomen, the stress response was to run away from a lion – a very useful reaction if you don’t want to be eaten! When stressed, the body releases hormones that prepare us for the fight or flight modes. But how many of us have run away from a lion recently? Today, while real lions are mostly confined to zoos, we have many virtual ‘lions’ in our lives that are not contained in 242 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

a cage. They are caused by academic or job-related stress, round the clock social media, peer pressure, moves, losing friends, or challenging relationships. The presence of these ubiquitous lions puts us in a state of chronic stress. And chronic stress, studies have shown, can cause subtle changes in developing brains and affect cognition. Many teens I work with tell me that too much stress makes them forgetful, feel anxious, and sick to their stomach. Others say they are grumpy, get into fights with family and friends, or even harm themselves. Signs that kids may be stressed can vary by age. For example, grade-school kids may develop sleep problems or eating issues. Teens may show changes in sleeping or eating, avoidance of regular activities, a change in grades, or even experimentation with drugs or alcohol. Kids can also have physical ailments such as headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, and joint pains. Cross-cultural teens face additional challenges which can contribute to overall stress such as: • Moving and experiencing new people and communities • Questioning their personal identity • Not having a sense of belonging • Experiencing grief and loss • Navigating long-distance relationships • Handling uncertainty about living situations



“Cross-cultural teens get to experience two or more cultures. Dependent on the culture and parenting, this can allow for extraordinary resilience, adaptability, and curiosity,” says Tanya Lau, a school counselor in Hong Kong. “All teenagers experience stress and this affects teenagers in the same way, universally. Parents can put their children at risk by not responding appropriately to their stressed-out teenagers. How they respond can be based on their cultures, but parents need to challenge their own beliefs with their partners first to ensure they agree on the right intervention for their teen.” Discussing stress is important in relation to global events. For some Millennials and Generation X members, there is less of a sense that they can exert any control over their environment. As such, they may feel fear, apathy, and disconnection.

CREATING AN ANTISTRESS TOOLBOX There are quite a few things that we can do to help teens with stress. Start by asking your teen if they experience stress and if so, how often. Then explore what may be triggering the stress and whether there have been significant life events that may be contributing to it. Also, ask what strategies they are using to prevent feeling too anxious or frustrated. Some of these strategies may be positive such as exercising, while others may be less healthy like binge eating. In tackling stress, I tell teens to visualize a toolbox. I recommend that they fill their ‘anti-stress toolbox’ with tools that work for them such as: I remind teens (those who are open to it) that yoga, mindfulness, and meditation are great alternative methods of addressing stress. For example, the breathing and stretching

techniques taught in yoga help relax muscles and release tension. In addition, I also encourage teens who enjoy writing (and don’t see it as another stressful activity) to keep a journal to express their mood and reduce stress. Here are some additional ideas.

STRATEGIES FOR TACKLING STRESS Prepare kids to handle mistakes For many teens, stress may come from the fear of making mistakes. While making a good choice is an important skill, what may be even more valuable is learning how to recover when things go wrong. We need to help teens to correct their mistakes, learn from their experiences, and move on.


Stress can occur if teens (like adults) are constantly comparing themselves to each other. Of course, this can be magnified by social media. Remind teens that it is not about being the most athletic, prettiest, smartest, or popular, but about being the best version of their authentic selves. Everyone is ‘uneven,’ meaning they may excel in some areas, but not others. Figuring out how to cut out the constant comparing can go a long way to decreasing the stress that teens place on themselves. Introduce the concept of time management Many teens get stressed because they find it hard to stay organized and balance their needs. Encourage teens to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated periods of time followed by a short break, and use reminder systems like homework journals and Google Keep. Also, to turn off screens or set times and places where they are forced to take a break THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 245

from phones or social media. Finally, to seek professional help if they are having persistent difficulty with concentration and organization and finishing tasks in time. In some cases, they may have difficulty with executive functioning skills and could benefit from educational support.


Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and moodiness, as well as decreased focus and memory. The term ‘social jet lag’ describes the phenomenon of teens surviving on inadequate sleep because of late nights doing homework or checking social media. On top of that, young people experience a change in melatonin secretion during teenage years and don’t feel sleepier till later. Make sleep a priority and create a home environment that allows for it. I tell teens to start slowly by making their bedtime even 5-10 mins earlier each night until they get closer to the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. Using an old-fashioned clock instead of a cell phone as an alarm and charging devices outside of the room may cut back on disruptions at night. Adequate sleep goes a long way to helping kids to recharge and reduce stress.


There is a strong link between mental and physical health. Since the brain is a highly active organ, it needs a lot of blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Encourage teens to optimize their health and immunity by eating lots of healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and protein. Also, avoid highly processed or sugary foods, which may cause rapid changes in energy level and mood. Finally, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and to maximize focus.



Exercise produces chemicals called endorphins that provide a feeling of well-being and help counteract stress. For me, running alone or with a group has been an important way to handle stress ever since university. I tell teens to choose whatever exercise works for them and do it regularly, even if it is only for 20-30 minutes. Exercise can be walking, jumping rope, dancing, soccer, swimming, biking, and many other physical activities. Know the warning signs and get additional help. Teach kids to be aware of warning signs, such as stomach aches or headaches, and encourage them to be proactive about using their anti-stress tools. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways – one of my teen patients bites her fingernails, another pulls out her hair. A few sessions with a psychologist or counselor may be enough to work towards improving patterns or behaviors. Persistent stress can lead in extreme cases to irritability, mood swings, or even depression and self-injury. If these occur, it is important to get professional help. Also, be aware that underlying adverse childhood events such as divorce and abuse can affect teen behaviors and contribute to toxic stress.

References: • Dr Abraham, A. (2020) Raising Global Teens A Practical Handbook for Parenting in the 21st Century. Great Britain: Summertime Publishing.




There’s nothing quite like daytime British television, is there? Four in a Bed, Homes under the Hammer, Home or Away, Escape to the Country. They are all the perfect combination of lacklustre programming and guilty pleasure that they just hook you in without much effort. My personal favourite is ‘A Place in the Sun: Home or Away?’. The premise of the show is to help people, typically white British couples. who are looking to buy a property and relocate abroad, usually to popular European holiday destinations such as Costa del Sol in Spain which is currently home to over 47,000 registered Britons (Dollimore, 2019). It occurred to me that almost every person featured on the show are hoping to move to regions characterised as having a ‘strong expat community’ which brought up the age-old question: what is the difference between an immigrant and an expatriate? Why is it that one particular race and/or ethnicity is accused of ‘taking over our country’ whilst the other is simply “‘realising their life dream of living abroad?’ Interestingly, when it comes to ‘expats’ behaviourally, they tend to seek out and associate themselves with other expats, not integrating themselves with native communities. This is usually for a variety of reasons such as language barriers and as 248 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

well as being ‘creatures of habits’ in that we gravitate towards people we can most identify with as a form of familiarity, especially in new spaces, which makes us feel comfortable and safe. On the other hand, ‘immigrants’ typically try to assimilate and integrate within their new communities - this could be through learning the language, adopting the clothing style or embracing anything that would detract from them standing out as a ‘minority’. These are two completely different approaches towards integration - although somewhat generalised - there is a requirement for immigrants to assimilate, whereas expats don’t have this expectation attached to them. For example, if immigrants were to segregate themselves without the willingness to adopt the language or to conduct themselves appropriately in the society that they are now inhabiting, the outrage would be incomparable. By definition, an expatriate is defined as ‘a person who lives outside their native country’. For example ‘a British expat who’s been living in Amsterdam for 14 years’ or ‘the restaurant is popular with locals and expats’ (Oxford Dictionary, n.d.). Whereas an immigrant is ‘a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country’. For example ‘they found it difficult to expel illegal immigrants’ (Oxford Dictionary, n.d.).


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These definitions offer no distinct differences between the two terms, yet even the examples given by the Oxford dictionary shows that here is a clear distinction in the reception of expats versus immigrant. It appears that the only difference between these two titles is semantics. Within these two terms, there are key characteristics that surround and ultimately subconsciously define them. Expats are historically, exclusively associated with white people(s), particularly males usually with high power jobs such as NGO officials, diplomats etc. If you’re an expat you’re sophisticated, highly educated. Immigrants, on the other hand, are associated with poverty, lower class, black/brown people(s), associated with infiltration and a myriad of negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media. According to the 250 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

BBC ‘such language can in some cases be used as a political tool or to dehumanise’ (BBC Worklife, 2016). The title ‘expat’ is typically assigned to white persons and carries a more positive connotation than ‘immigrants’ which is usually assigned to black/brown people. This distinction is so ingrained within peoples minds that even though two people may migrate with the same set of circumstances, because of their race or ethnicity one will be labelled an ex-pat and the other an immigrant. A blog dedicated to the life of ex-pats by The Wall Street Journal similarly typifies that ‘...some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status.” (DeWolf, 2014)

This is further evidenced by The Guardian when speaking to an African migrant worker where he declared that he ‘work[ed] for [a] multinational organisation in the private and public sectors. And [yet] being black or coloured doesn’t gain me the term ‘ex-pat’. I’m a highly qualified immigrant, as they call me, to be politically correct.’ (Koutonin, 2015) Bibliography •

BBC WORKLIFE (2016). The difference between an ex-pat and an immigrant? Semantics. [online] Available at: article/20170119-who-should-be-calledan-expat[Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].

DeWolf, C. (2014). In Hong Kong, Just Who Is an Expat, Anyway? [online] WSJ. Available at: expat/2014/12/29/in-hong-kong-justwho-is-an-expat-anyway/ [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].

Dollimore, L. (2019). Number of British expats registering on Spain’s Costa del Sol SURGES as Brexit looms. [online] Olive Press News Spain. Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].

Oxford Dictionary (n.d.). Immigrant | Meaning of Immigrant by Lexico. [online] Lexico Dictionaries | English. Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].

Oxford Dictionary (n.d.). Expat | Meaning of Expat by Lexico. [online] Lexico Dictionaries | English. Available at: www. [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].

Remarque Koutonin, M. (2015). Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? [online] The Guardian. Available at: global-development-professionalsnetwork/2015/mar/13/white-peopleexpats-immigrants-migration [Accessed 13 Feb. 2020].


TRIGGER WARNING Please note that some of the articles within this document are considered highly offensive to People of Colour, but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of race and ethnicity to support understanding and evolve thinking with the aim of transformation. This includes, but is not limited to graphic visualisations, explicit descriptions and an extensive discussion of racial abuse, offensive language or the detailing of behaviours of assault, abuse, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and Misogynoir directly related to the experiences of marginalised communities.



My dad’s parents are both Iraqi. His mother was born in Buenos Aires, she was very beautiful (now she mourns her beauty), she was a tango dancer (now she mourns her beauty). His father was travelling from Iraq on holiday, he was engaged at the time and was also ten years older. His dad saw his mum dancing one night and they fell in love. (Despite being Iraqi) his mum couldn’t speak Iraqi and his dad couldn’t speak Spanish. They fell in love — anyway. They eloped to Baghdad, my dad and his three brothers were born. They don’t make arak together anymore, but they have a Brothers WhatsApp chat. My dad had to tutor Saddam Hussein’s sons. He left for Russia one night, got on the back of the boat and ended up in Ireland. He would kill me if I gave any more details so I won’t. After some (il) legal complications, he took up language and practise (in a hospital). He was a big hit on Irish TV because he was Arab. He had to change his name, which is why my surname sounds Italian. My dad met my mum because she had a fucked up nose. He fixed her nose, I was born — nose first. My mum was born in Ireland, to her mum and her dad. Her mum was asked to go to New York to become a model but couldn’t go because it wasn’t Catholic (haram) and her dad got a scholarship to art school but couldn’t go because he had to look after a decade of siblings and be a car mechanic. They both found religion (nun and priest, respectively), but lost it when they met each other. Another case study in running away. The Troubles

happened, and they were heavily Irish and heavily involved. All I know is that her dad’s home and business were blown up, he went into a mental institution and her mum had to take over (and learn to drive). Her dad then found religion (again) and now he is also a Reiki master (and Peace Commissioner). He has written his memoir four times, seeking justice from the Troubles, you can purchase it on Amazon Books. He also tried writing a book about a horse that broke its ankles, before my uncle told him that horses don’t have ankles. When I was born nose first my mum and dad became my parents and my nana and grandad became my grandparents (on both sides). My grandparents on one side of the coin, my grandparents on the other side of the coin — coining me with brass, coiled around two sides of different stories. Before I was born a gypsy traveller gave my uncle a reading after he sold her a gold chain, and she told him he would have a niece who would be very intelligent with the middle name ‘Louisa’. I was born in Bray, a shitty seaside town outside Dublin, and my parents decided that my middle name was ‘Louisa’ (which confused my uncle, who had not told my parents of this mundane prophesy). The next prophesy in my life happened when I was 16 — I was visiting my Iraq grandparents who had immigrated to Hollywood. (This made my nan happy because everyone is Latina, she has not had to learn English or American). My family are from a strict Assyrian-Iraqi tribe, I was also raised Catholic and a tarot reader. I give very accurate and scary tarot THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 253

readings, usually in pubs around Dalston. My great-grandfather was the first Cardinal of the Middle East, he has a Wikipedia page. We are rare, so a BBC article released on 23 May 2019 reports: ‘Iraq’s Christians ‘close to extinction’’. This made me feel special. There was an Assyrian party planned around my grandparents pool, which impressed everyone, although my uncle just works at Walmart. They all have a belief in the American Dream, even though it doesn’t include them. It is a closed tribe, so those who migrated (immigrated? emigrated?) in the 80s still hold onto their Iraqi-ness with a tight fist, talking to most of them means talking to a time machine. I was serving chai so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone or deal with incestuous marriage proposals. An old holy man in a robe with beard to his feet came up to me and told my mum to take the tray of chai. He gripped my hands, looked me in the eyes and told me I was the next Mary Magdalene. My mum overheard and choked on laughter so hard she nearly fell into the flamingo float in the pool. My Iraqi family were all very jealous that I got to be Mary Magdalene. Even though they all say I’m haram, so it made sense. Be my Jesus? No-one on either side of my family are ginger so everyone is very confused. I don’t look Arab, although my mum bullies me because I have a slightly hooked nose. For the first few years apparently I would only talk to the swans, the start of a long chain of worries for my mum. They sent me to pre-school but I got “kicked out” because I talked too much, so I was sent to stay with my ‘auntie’ and my ‘uncle’ (who are not my auntie and my uncle). My auntie would give me spaghetti carbonara for breakfast which I would eat whilst she washed my dirty feet in the sink. I spent whole days sitting on the stairs making a hole in the carpet with a screwdriver. After a year it was a big hole. I 254 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

would sit there listening to my uncle practise with his band, who were very good and composed the music for Riverdance. My Irish family are very musical, I am very musical. The Horslips and Seamus Heaney are in my family, we’re good at arts although none of us have received an institutional art education. I went to school eventually, it was in the countryside so all ages were in one room and we were supervised by nuns. On the first day of school a picture of me went on the front page because I was ginger, this was the start of my modelling career which surmounted me in joining Storm when I turned 19, only to be released later which boiled down to attitude problems. I could read novels by the age of 5, and like to think that I would have been a child prodigy if I had lived in a city and stayed in a school for more than two years. We moved from the Irish countryside to Croydon at the turn of the 2010s, during the riots my friend’s brother stole a bag of rice (he also had a penis tattoo on his arm). We moved around and around again, I completed most of secondary school in a liminal site intersecting Bath and Bristol, it failed Ofsted. Received a double scholarship to a private school, where I completed 5 A Levels. In Ireland education was never equated with class, so my teachers were confused when they looked at my records and saw that I had never really done school, in the pedagogy that they saw it.




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My explanation: I read too much and watched too many movies growing up because I was alone and isolated in the Irish bog lands — didn’t seem to satisfy anyone. I miss the smell of turf. I would spend each night with a director — Hared Farocki, Cheryl Dunye, Wong Kar-wai, Ildikó Enyedi. When I started to spend each night with a real man (my first proper boyfriend), it wasn’t so good. He was 30, I was naïve, my friends thought it was cool and I ended up getting raped. My psychology teacher made me do the Mensa test and I got accepted but didn’t join because I don’t trust old men, then she tried to diagnose me. I escaped to Naples, which I still think is the best city in the world. It was my first taste of freedom. I went to stay with a girl I had met online, although now we don’t talk anymore. Went to a small midnight performance of a Henry James adaptation on 256 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

a beach in the Amalfi coast, went on a boat trip to Ischia where I tried cat food and smoked weed, we drove up to Rome to visit friends at the film school, I fell in love with an opera singer. I miss them, but for reasons I can’t go back. I moved alone to London when I turned 18, I miss Ireland.

Image Citation: •

Valerie Yuwen Hsieh.


Miriam family originates from Senegal. She moved to London when she was a baby with her mother and two brothers. She is able to speak French (the national language of Senegal since 1960 when the country achieved independence), as well as American English (taught to her as a foreign language) and Portuguese Creole.

When getting to know some of the girls, one of the girls named Karen asked “where are you from?”

Since moving to England she has resided in South London, and in many ways considers herself to be a ‘Londoner’, but is incredibly proud of her heritage and Senegalese culture.

‘You don’t look English?’, declares Emily.

One day, Miriam attended the Freshers Fair where she met a group of several girls who were studying the same course as her. She was so excited to meet them as she didn’t know anyone on her course and was nervous about becoming isolated while studying as it seemed that many Freshers had already formed their friendship groups.

Emily giggles at Miriam’s response and again asks: ‘No, where are you really from?’

The smile fades from Miriam’s face. Miriam becomes confused and remarks that she doesn’t know what she means. Emily asks again: ‘You know, like where are you from, from… your family’.

She is a first-year student enjoying all the perks of student life and attends several events throughout Freshers Week. She enjoys meeting new people, making new friends and learning more about the local area.

Miriam responds: ‘I’m from Brixton’.

After a few moments of silence, Miriam responds remarking that her mother is from Senegal, and she was born there but has grown up in London and in many ways think of herself as a ‘Londoner’. Miriam, now slightly embarrassed due to the barrage of follow-up questions about her background leaves Miriam feeling isolated and ostracised, feeling as though she was denied her claims of ‘British-ness’ because she did not look English.




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The most visible image of Islam is its women. “Covered: Celebrating Muslim Women” is an illustration series depicting various Muslim women around the world. I created these to combat the negative stereotypes associated with modesty and covering. In the media and the art world, there is a vacuum of positive representations of the Muslim woman. Muslim women are the most recognizable symbol of Islam today and have been ridiculed and deemed “oppressed” for following guidelines mandated by their religion. It is my hope to counter these negative stereotypes by showing the variety and beauty of covering.

Yusef Abdul Jaleel (Jerrard Scott Joseph) is an African-American Digital Media Artist who specializes in vector based illustration living in Yonkers, New York. With over 20 years of experience in digital print production, he has created media and clothing geared towards the Muslim experience in American. As a devout Muslim revert, Yusef attempts to convey art that is both permissible by many Muslims who sun the detailed facial imagery and non-Muslims alike. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Design and Multimedia from the City College of New York.





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Usha Natarajan is associate professor of international law and associate director of the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo. Prior to joining AUC, she worked with international organisations including the UNDP, UNESCO, and the World Bank. In 2016, Natarajan received the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law research prize from the leading global institution in her field. Natarajan has authored and edited numerous books and articles, including most recently Third World Approaches to International Law: On Praxis and the Intellectual, and articles in Third World Quarterly, Leiden Journal of International Law, and Transnational Legal Theory. She has also contributed chapters to books such as Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, Strengthening the Rule of Law through the UN Security Council, and Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond. Ibrahim Awad is professor of practice of global affairs and the directvor of the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo. From 2005 to 2010, he acted as director of the International Migration Programme at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, and prior to that, between 2005 and 2010, he was the ILO’s director for the North Africa sub-regional office. His most recent 264 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

publications include “The Challenge of Global Governance in the Sustainable Development Agenda,” “The Multiple Levels of Governance of International Migration:Understanding Disparities and Disorder,” and “Towards a Joint Approach to Migration and Asylum in the Euro-Mediterranean Space,” to name a few. Permissions courtesy of The Cairo Review Published: Summer 2018 Words by Usha Natarajan and Ibrahim Awad.

Far from seeing human movement as natural and essential, we live in a world of obsessive border policing: walls and fortresses; gated compounds and ghettos; camps and detention centers; and proliferating zones of elite luxury alongside shrinking public spaces. Whether through calculated legal processes or gradual gentrification and de facto apartheid, we maintain ever-stricter distinctions between migrants and refugees, Citizens and non-Citizens, insiders and outsiders, haves and have-nots. The dominant discourse on migration helps create and perpetuate such a world by privileging certain types of individual suffering—discrimination, persecution, torture—as worthy of international notice and protection, while normalizing the more widespread and systemic suffering caused by poverty, inequality, disease, famine, drought, climate change, and environmental degradation, from which one is neither

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expected nor permitted to flee across borders. The human species is by nature migratory and its spread from Africa across the globe has occurred through great climatic shifts, the spread of deserts, and the ebbing and flowing of ice ages. These movements spurred the onset of agriculture and civilization as resource scarcity and insecurity drew people to the great river valleys such as the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and Indus. As such, human migration has been and will continue to be fundamental to our survival and evolution. Yet, the categories, classifications, and dichotomies through which we understand and purport to govern migration today are inconducive to this historic reality. It is important to understand how dominant discourses on international migration limit or constrain our knowledge, governance, and practices, particularly with regard to implications for the Global South, which

makes up most of the world yet rarely receives most of our attention. The dominant discourse of migration assumes that most migration happens in the Global North and ignores that movement and mobility of people had taken place in the South long before the emergence of European-like nation-states limiting migration. Movements of people seeking protection for their lives are heavily influenced by the Refugee Convention, which was negotiated and adopted in 1951 in response to realities different than those of today. Only when all issues facing the Global South and the Global North are equally considered can human mobility be effectively addressed. Migration has catapulted to the center of public attention in recent years and seems likely to remain there, with mass media showing no signs of abating interest. Has increased attention translated into a more THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 265

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accurate understanding of migration among policymakers and the general public? Are we, as a result, able to debate the issue in more useful ways? Much of the renewed interest is due to displacements from the Arab region into Europe, particularly from Syria but also Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. However, the tendency to pay more attention to migration from the Global South to the Global North precedes the current refugee crisis, and has created distortions in discourse and knowledge production about migration. Scholars in this field are used to the waxing and waning of public interest, which at times bears little correlation to real change in migrant numbers or movement. The number of international migrants has hovered at roughly 3.3 percent of the global population in recent decades. Despite being 266 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

a comparatively minor and remarkably stable global phenomenon, migration has always captured perpetual, cyclical, and disproportionate amounts of public attention in the past.

DOMINANT DISCOURSE VS. REALITY Predominant discourse shapes public debate in respect to any subject. It reflects the productive power—the ability to produce ideas and to make them acceptable and legitimate as sole subjects of debate—of those who articulate it. Predominant discourse on international migration emphasizes large flows to, and stocks of migrants in, the Global North, originating in the Global South. It represents international migration as a threat that undermines the social, economic, and cultural systems of

host countries and their security. Besides the large volumes of people, this discourse underlines the irregularity of migration status, which is explained as mostly resulting from criminal smuggling activities. Not all actors in the Global North have adopted this discourse. However, it certainly is the predominant one. The reality of flows and stocks of international migration may be viewed differently in the Global South. According to the 2017 United Nations International Migration Report, the total number of international migrants from 2000 to 2017 increased from 173 million to 258 million. Half of the increase took place in developed countries of the Global North and the other half in developing countries of the Global South. During the same period, the number of international migrants residing in the South increased from 40 to 43 percent, the corresponding percentage thus decreasing in the North. Between 2000 and 2017, the share of international migrants residing in Asia increased from 29 to 31 percent and in Africa from 9 to 10 percent. In Europe, the share declined from 33 to 30 percent. Incidentally, despite this decline, international migration helped Europe’s population grow by 2 percent. Without net migration, it would have fallen by 1 percent, which would have obviously undercut economic activity and the social systems the predominant discourse purports to protect. In 2017, 38 percent of international migration was from South to South countries, 35 percent from South to North, 20 percent from North to North and 6 percent from North to South. In Africa and Asia, 80 percent of international migrants headed for destinations in the two regions, the corresponding share being 60 percent for Latin America and the Caribbean. From the origin perspective, 60 percent of international migrants originating in Asia remained in the Asian continent, while

the corresponding figure for Africa was 53 percent. However, for West Africa, the proportion of international migrants whose destination country was in the sub-region rose to 84 percent, seven times larger than migration to any other part of the world. Only four countries in West Africa had emigrant populations who chose an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country as their top destination. All of this means that migrants from the Global South are staying more and more in the Global South when they migrate. This flow of South–South migration looks only to increase in the coming years.

GOVERNING HUMAN MOBILITY: A SOUTHERN PERSPECTIVE Mobility within sub-regions in Africa, and also elsewhere in the South, predates the emergence of the European nation-state model after early or late decolonization. One function of nation-states is to regulate international mobility, especially for nonCitizens. Naturally countries in the South have had to regulate their Citizens’ high intra-regional mobility through principles, policies, and institutions that together constitute the governance of this special type of international migration. Two conflicting factors contributed to how states in the South approached the governance of migration in their sub-regions. First is the reality of mobility in the sub-regions that responded to logics of economic activity and of ethnic and cultural kinships. Sub-regions were considered economic units within which trade and services flowed and people moved freely.


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Second is the restrictive logic of nation-states, which emphasizes the privileges of Citizens in labor markets and social benefits, in addition to security considerations. However, as late decolonization unfolded in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a contradiction emerged. European integration came about and progressively recognized the rights to freedom of movement and employment. Freedom of movement was considered necessary for integration, which in turn was an approach to ensuring peace and realizing accelerated economic growth. This positive development in nation-states’ perspective was encouraging for states of the South. It allowed for the recognition and reinforcement of old mobility circuits and for the creation of new ones, thus permitting rapid economic growth and development. On this basis, nation-states in the South embarked 268 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

on processes of sub-regional integration. In Africa, sub-regional integration schemes are intended to eventually converge in regional and continental integration. Virtually all subregional integration processes had freedom of movement as an objective and means of action. Some went further, putting in place regimes of freedom of movement and labor. It was in this vein that the 1979 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol relating to the Free Movement of Persons, the Right of Residence and Establishment, and its supplementary protocols emerged. The 2009 Protocol on the establishment of the East African Community Common Market prioritized the community’s accelerated economic growth and development through free movement of goods, persons, labor, services, capital, and the rights of establishment and residence.

The Protocol dedicated its chapter 11 to the free movement of workers. Meanwhile in Latin America and the Caribbean, regimes for freedom of movement of persons and labor were developed in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Community of Andean Nations (CAN). The most advanced regime or plan for free movement of workers in Latin America was that of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) whose member states adopted the Residence Agreement in 2002. In Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) put in place its own free mobility regime. In sum, in many subregions, regional integration and free mobility are considered means to overcome often artificial borders that split communities and obstruct development. Sub-regional integration schemes vary in the extent of freedom of movement, establishment, and employment they recognize for nationals of their member states, in the rights they grant them, and in their actual implementation. Often, freedom of mobility is authorized before the right to work. Freedom of mobility is frequently granted to the highly skilled before the low-skilled workers. Freedom of establishment is facilitated by holding capital. In Africa, ECOWAS, and especially MERCOSUR in South America, have made significant progress in their labor mobility regimes. The MERCOSUR Residence Agreement authorizes nationals of a member state to reside and work for a period of two years in another member state if they can prove Citizenship and a clean criminal record. The agreement also provides a number of rights to these migrants, including the right to equal working conditions, family reunification, and access to education for their children. After two years, the permit may be transformed into permanent residency.

According to migration law expert Diego Acosta, the driving force behind the MERCOSUR agreement was (unlike in the European Union) to find a solution to irregular migration and not to pave the way for an internal trade market. The agreement’s main objective, as declared in the preamble, is to solve the situation of intraregional irregular migration while deepening the regional integration process and implementing a policy of free circulation of people. The predominant discourse on international migration is thus again put into question. For states of the South, situated in the same sub-regions, irregular migration as a concept does not have the same meaning. Nor should it be criminalized in letter or in practice. It seems that for at least some of the states in the South, following age-old routes across recently traced borders is not completely illegitimate. Despite the advances, problems persist. Member states may not incorporate provisions of their freedom of movement regimes in their own laws and policies. Domestic laws and policies may even be in contradiction with the sub-regional mobility regimes and thus partially invalidate them. More importantly, political disputes and economic interests may frustrate altogether attempts at setting up sub-regional integration schemes and associated mobility regimes. In Northwest Africa, political disputes frustrated the development of the Arab Maghreb Union, making a free mobility regime between its member states inconceivable. Despite the large labor migration from both Egypt and Tunisia to Libya, no labor mobility regime was put in place between either of the former two countries and the latter.


Between Egypt and Sudan, the implementation of the Four Freedoms Agreement is subject to political vicissitudes between the two countries. In southern Africa, the considerable disparity in development and economic structures between South Africa, and Botswana and Namibia, and other countries in the sub-region stood in the way of adopting a protocol on freedom of movement for persons in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The same may be said about the entry into force and implementation of the regime for free movement of persons and labor in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Freedom of movement is unimaginable in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Besides political disputes and defending economic interests, preserving customs revenues and weak institutional capacity of regional integration organisations have been advanced as explanations for the unsatisfactory realization of sub-regional integration in the South, including the design and implementation of regimes for the free movement of persons and labor. Accordingly, a Southern perspective on international migration, its dimensions, and its governance may differ from the more prevalent discourse on the subject in the Global North. Such a perspective raises different issues that need to be addressed. It is only when an open international discourse which discusses all issues—those facing the Global South and the Global North—are equally considered that questions of human mobility and migration will have a chance to be effectively addressed.


REFUGEES IN THE SOUTH: BEYOND BINARIES While migrants are presently 3.4 percent of the world population, refugees are a much smaller subsect of all migrants, a mere 0.3 percent of the total population, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Trends report in 2017. Despite cries of refugee crises from rich countries in recent years, since 2000 refugee numbers have increased only from 9 percent of all migrants to 10 percent. Countries of the Global South host 84 percent of the world’s refugees, and this percentage is increasing, with the current number the highest in more than two decades. The poorest countries in the world—the least developed states or (LDCs)—host 28 percent of all refugees, and this number is also increasing. Indeed, just ten states host 57 percent of all refugees. What is clear from these statistics is that, first, the refugee issue is almost entirely confined to the Global South; and second, those least able to bear the responsibility are forced to shoulder it. This situation is not happenstance but a systematic process of externalization by rich states in which control over knowledge production plays a key role. Much of the dominant discourse on migration turns on binaries: some migrants are voluntary, others are forced; some are international and others are internal; some are legal and others are irregular; and, perhaps the most formative of the binaries, some are migrants whilst others are refugees. In actuality, people usually move for reasons of economic betterment. This type of movement is characterized by law and policymakers as voluntary and subject to domestic regulation. When migration is perceived as involuntary, or forced, then in such cases the application of international protection is attempted in specific instances where

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state protection is seen to be absent. The primary means through which international protection is applied is the 1951 Refugee Convention that requires state parties to provide refugee status to persons fulfilling the following conditions: first, refugees should be outside their country of nationality; second, they should prove a well-founded fear of persecution; third, this persecution needs to be attributable to discrimination on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group; and fourth, their state should be unable or unwilling to protect them. The 1951 Convention has been central in shaping migration discourse. Refugee status is a unique exception to the otherwise absolute sovereign prerogative to control migration and as such refugeehood has been carefully defined and closely interpreted

by states. Despite popular usage of the term “refugee” to mean anyone fleeing their home, in reality refugee protection is only assured to the small group of people that fit the aforementioned carefully circumscribed conditions. The convention operates only when a person has left their state of nationality. It privileges a particular type of forced migration—that which is attributable to persecution—above all else. More narrowly, it privileges only persecution that is attributable to a particular type of discrimination. That is to say, there is no international protection for other types of movement that normally would be understood as “forced” in the ordinary usage of the word like for example, displacement due to widespread conflict or human rights abuses, natural or manmade disasters such as famine, drought, desertification, floods, earthquakes, submersion of territories, and so on. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 271


The 1951 Convention was the product of its culture and history and reflected Western concerns in the aftermath of the Second World War and the onset of the Cold War. Yet, nearly seventy years later, the convention remains in place today and is widely ratified, albeit with important exceptions in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Arab region. What are the consequences of understanding migration through the voluntary/forced distinction? We treat political persecution and religious persecution as intolerable, but we see drought and famine as natural. We see war and conflict as terrible evils, but we see the millions of preventable and unnecessary infant deaths from unsanitary water or malaria as normal. We see ethnic strife as a serious threat to international peace and security, but we treat widening inequalities in power and wealth as natural. We see terrorism as an abomination, but we see climate change as an inevitability. Because of our fixation with an artificial, irrational, and unsubstantiated distinction between forced and voluntary migration, in its current state, our discourse makes it almost impossible to talk about migration in a useful way. The reasons people move cannot be understood through the rubric of choice, or lack thereof. Through its categories of privilege and protection, our modern-day discourse around migration and refugee status and the laws and institutions this discourse produces arbitrarily creates hierarchies of suffering as a means of legitimating international protection in certain areas and abdicating responsibility in others. Renouncing international responsibility for internally displaced peoples ignores the greater protection needs of vast numbers who do not have the means to cross an international border but whose suffering is otherwise identical to those who managed to seek refuge internationally. Abdication of

international responsibility over so-called voluntary migration allows a thriving system of domestic migration policies that maintain a growing body of exploitable laborers rendered invisible because of their irregular or undocumented status. These people— obscure and disposable to the international system—are mostly women and people of color. Historically, people have moved—for the most part—because of environmental and economic causes and this is not going to change. Migrations brought about by climate change have already begun and they will be vast, protracted, and unstoppable. The present discourse is inadequate to understand or govern such a phenomenon. It cannot stop movement but will increase suffering and vulnerability as sites of irregularity and exploitability exponentially multiply. As the habitable zones of our planet change, the ensuing movements are inevitably producing challenges of public order, health, and security. These are challenges that policymakers could potentially ameliorate. Yet, current discourse prevents us from addressing these issues as they are beyond our purview—rendered unspeakable by the terminology we have created for ourselves. The most visible manifestation of this quandary today is negotiation of the Global Compacts, separated into one compact for migrants and another for refugees. The predominant discourse tells us what a crisis is and how we should react to it and by that time it is usually too late to address systemic causes. By that time, we can only apply Band-Aid solutions such as widespread detention, refugee camps, safe havens, temporary visas, more money to UNHCR, offshore processing, international zones, visa conditionalities, border policing, and so on. The discourse obfuscates the questions of THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 273

justice that permeate the systemic causes of migration. Who is responsible for economic inequality and climate change? Who is responsible for war and widespread human rights abuses? The causes of migration are rarely the responsibility of the Global South, yet flows of migrants and refugees often are. Toward Inclusivity Our discourse around migration tells us the nature of the problem and circumscribes the range of possible solutions. In this way, it shapes governance, laws, and institutions. In its current state, it prevents us from developing rational and effective approaches to governing migration, a situation made more evident in an era of climate change. Discourse plays a role in institutionalizing the misery that increasing numbers of migrants endure today, providing protection against some types of violence but also structuring, maintaining, and normalizing others. The ethics of migration are rarely subject to scrutiny. For the most part, we are reluctant to examine ourselves too closely on an issue that has long been a repository for some of our most deep-seated and fundamental fears and insecurities. Though small in proportion to the global population, migrants are magnified in the public psyche because they act as a receptacle for broad and at times subconscious cultural fears about belonging, security, and significance. For these reasons, asserting discursive and governance authority and control over migration is a high-stakes endeavor, centering on the issue of identity, in which dichotomies such as South and North, rich and poor, black and white, maintain a stranglehold on our imagination. Paying more attention to migration in the South—who is moving, where, and why—is one way to change how we understand and talk about migration.


It can move us toward a more accurate, effective, and just governance of migration. The discourse currently dominating international migration privileges a Northern agenda and obfuscates the real causes and consequences of why people move. A greater focus on the Global South is essential.

Source: • Awad, I. and Natarajan, U., 2018. Migration Myths And The Global South. [online] The Cairo Review of Global Affairs. Available at: < migration-myths-and-the-global-south/> [Accessed 28 October 2020].

PHOTO ESSAY. VALERIE YUWEN HSIEH. THE WAY I SEE THE WORLD This is a series of documentary photographs that I’ve accumulated since I moved abroad in 2012. Most of them are taken before I decided to take this creative path seriously, and therefore I feel ultra-authentic and believe that these photos reveal who I was/am as a person in certain periods of time. Looking at these photos in retrospect, I can see the shift of my identity, and how it has become ambiguous. I’ve become a third culture kid, and this is the way I see the world. *Third Culture Kids: children who spent significant portions of their developing years in cultures other than their native countries. Common experiences of Third Culture Kids include: and expectation that they will eventually return to their parents’ home countries; being physically distinct from those around them; and a privileged lifestyle compared to the local kids (Pollock and Van Recken, 2001)

Images 54 and 55 Tokyo and Japan was a bizarre experience. I was excluded from the society, but I’ve found out about third culture kids community. Living as an outsider of the society wasn’t all that bad in Tokyo, to be honest. Image 56 I’ve always had a weird obsession about New York City. Looking back now it seems a bit ignorant, because I was heavily influenced by the media, tv shows, and movies. Image 57 London. A new chapter. While I used to feel anxious about my identity and the desperate need to find a place to plant roots, now I feel much more comfortable after living in different places. I guess identity can be changed, and will be shifted as we grow. All image by Valerie Yuwen Hsieh.

Image 52 Even though I often feel disconnected with the values of the society.

Reference •

Image 53 I felt more lonely than ever last year when I moved back to Taiwan from New York.

Pollock, D. and Van Reken, R. (2001). Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.


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DEVELOPING POSITIVE TCK IDENTITIES BY SUPPORTING PERCEPTIONS OF AGENCY. AMY JUNG. PHD. *Adapted from Communication Strategies Contributing to the Positive Identities of Third Culture Kids: An Intercultural Communication Perspective on Identity.

those around us, the challenge for TCK’s to develop a consistent identity is complicated by their ever changing physical and social context.

I write this while experiencing the effects of Covid-19 and therefore quarantining away from my teenage children. As a TCK, isolation and adaptation are old companions, but as my children add these experiences to their histories of domestic mobility I find myself turning again to the lessons I’ve learned about how to thrive through challenges.

My research has shown that one of the most challenging experiences for TCK’s is the concept of agency, or an individual’s perception of their ability to impact the course of their own life. In a very real sense, perception shapes the reality of a child’s experience. And agency seems to be a foundationally important concept in exploring what it means for a TCK to develop a positive identity.

As the daughter of Protestant missionaries, my childhood was a constant interplay of two worlds that were as different from each other in climate and culture as bleached Norwegian lace and vibrant Kente cloth. The glorious richness and confusing juxtapositions of these cultures, and their expectations of me, challenged my ability to develop a cohesive, positive self-concept as an adult, a plight that I later found was shared by many fellow-TCKs. Now, as an academic studying issues of communication, culture and identity, I have focused my research on identifying the moments and messages TCK’s receive during their childhood that make it either easy or difficult for them to develop a long-term positive identity. Because our identities are largely developed through interactions with 280 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

It should come as no surprise that a child who experiences major changes will have their sense of agency challenged. Repeated international moves for children challenge the development of a sense of control, unlike the experience of sojourners, who choose that experience as adults, or borderlanders, whose changes are more commonly a visit followed by a return home. A TCKs experience of agency is also different than the experience of foster children, refugees, and domestic nomads, because unlike foster children or refugees, TCKs move with parents who have chosen to move abroad usually as an expression of their own strong sense of agency. And, though TCKs do often travel with

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family, they are less likely to be surrounded by others of their culture who are making the transition with them, and, therefore, are less able to commiserate with a culturally similar community. For the TCKs who experience this among dozens of cultures, this challenge to agency might exponentially complicate identity. One challenge to TCK agency is immersion into an unknown context. A TCK’s childhood is characterized by cultural transitions and even the most self-assured and self-directed TCKs learn that a single move can bring new contexts, cultures, and rules, and that a lack of knowledge can have lasting implications. Searching for the lavatory in a new school with a new language can leave a child without control of their dignity, and not knowing the etiquette of introducing oneself in the U.S. either on a résumé or in person can

unknowingly damage one’s authority to selfdefine with peers and authorities. The lack of knowledge inherent in a TCK experience can tip the scale of agency, which can leave significant decisions in the hands other individuals, systems of operation, or fate. A second challenge many TCKs have faced is a period of time during which they felt, essentially, on their own. This is most common during a post-high school or secondary school transition back to the home country. The challenges of reentry have been of interest to researchers, which has led to the creation of transition programs at international and boarding schools, reentry programs offered by caring organizations, and a variety of TCK college groups.


But when this experience of being on your own occurs at a younger age or in a more vulnerable context, the data suggest it can hinder a healthy dependence on others and foster internal isolation. I remember having malaria yet again in Ghana. I quietly interrupted the translation meeting under the gazebo in our village compound to tell my parents of my symptoms: fever, eyes that hurt when I looked at light, and aching all over. I told them I had taken chloroquine and was going to sleep in the guest room. Maybe someone nodded, I don’t remember. But no one moved. No one checked my temperature or dosage, gave me a hug, or walked with me. The work went on. As I put myself in isolation to sleep, I felt, not lonely, not independent, but alone. And I knew something about that was not right. It was my normal but definitely not right. I was 10. This is not to say that the parents of TCKs are neglectful or uncaring but the impact on long-term agency seems to be considerable. When young TCKs make decisions without an adequate sense of support and/or safety, they might not be taking independent action but, rather, acting by perceived necessity. As adults, they might learn to perceive life as an unsupported, even my those who are closest to them, resulting in relational distance and feelings of being perpetually on their own. What then can be changed to make it easier for TCKs to improve their development of agency and ease the develop of long-term positive identities? My research identified the following three strategies: increasing knowledge prior to move, re-/writing scripts to include or exclude TCKs, and public demonstrations of backing.


Increasing a child’s preparation for their transitions is vital. This can include learning at least some of the language of the new culture before moving, or increasing a TCKs prior knowledge by engaging the child in the process of preparation, for example, by asking their help in packing and sorting, and explaining the reasons why items are being brought. Increasing information can be accomplished in the new setting as well, making the new environment and audiences knowledgeable about the incoming TCK, giving the child a connection to look forward to and giving new schoolmates a fun taste of what that TCK will be like. TCKs can also benefit from knowing, not just about where they will move, but also about what might be expected of them and what consequences they might anticipate. In a sense, TCKs benefit from advanced understandings of their roles and how to interact with various future audiences. When the family accepts a representational position in an international context the child might be expected to play a role as well, especially in military and missionary organizations, which can create a debilitating pressure on a child, especially if standards and consequences are unclear. This pressure to perform a part well can become even more difficult when the TCKs has no script and is trying to figure out their part on the fly, while playing their part in front of a live audience. So, when parents articulate the TCK’s role clearly both to the child and to other relevant adults during important transitions, this can increase confidence and help them avoid floundering or receiving critique from others.

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Finally, a TCK’s identity benefits from demonstrations of backing. When a child moves internationally, their whole world might become a series of dangerous unknowns. The laws and officials who created a safety net in the home culture are absent, and the TCK might not know how to recognize or use protective people or processes in the new context. But when a primary caregiver actively protects that child from another person with more perceived social capital than the child, that message might serve as a lifelong reminder of the child’s value and legitimacy, significantly improving that child’s sense of agency.

system, their development of a positive identity can be especially challenging. Better understanding the positive steps that can be taken by family and communities during a child’s development can dramatically increase the self-concept and life experience of those raised as global nomads.

Identity development is a challenge for any individual regardless of where and how they grow up. But when many TCK’s face additional challenges, including cultural transitions, shifting expectations, and an unclear support THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 283


In many ways, my path in life was chosen for me. I was born to an ambitious father, whose career had already taken him to The States and back, and to curious mother who wanted nothing else but to see the world. My parents knew they were moving abroad before I was even a thought in their minds. By my first birthday I had already lived half of my life in another country, England. Three years later we moved to Hong Kong, the place that would come closest to being my “home”. I lived there until I was eighteen. I went to a British school during the weekdays and on the weeknights and weekends, I played football and ate food with the locals. It took me nine more years until I finally made it back to my birth country, Sweden. Before that I had gone to university in England and lived the life of a salary man in Japan as well. Before my eighteenth birthday, my life had been narrated by someone else, my father. I had been made to tag along on his journey, and I am immensely grateful for that. He gave me something few others my age had had, a worldly experience. But it came with a dyer price. To this day I have no true feeling of where I belong. I am not and never will be Swedish enough to be Swedish or enough of a Hong Konger to be a Hong Konger. I am something in-between. I have a foot in each country, welcomed in both but only to a certain extent. The journey that I’ve been on since my eighteenth birthday – my journey – has been 284 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

about finding a way to cope with this feeling, to give myself something that I was supposed to have had, a feeling of being rooted. In many ways, adulthood is about giving to yourself, that which you haven’t received as a child. Today, I help others. I am a therapist specialising in Third Culture Kids. In the summer of 2018 I started a website called Wherapy and by the end of my first week I had my first client, an Australian woman living in Pakistan. Since then I have had clients from over 25 different countries, men-and-women, old-and-young alike. Naturally, I see similarities in all my clients but they are also unique. Even the experience of being a Third Culture Kid is unique to the person who owns it. Not only in the places they have lived, cultures they have inherited or people they have met, but in the way they have received those places, those cultures and those people and in the way they take it with them in their next “journey”. And that is where I come in. I am here to help them and help you make sense of it all. Philip Andersson



IN CONVERSATION WITH SHIREEN TAWEEL. My parents migrated to Australia from Lebanon to escape the civil war. I was born in Sydney, Australia and I spent my childhood growing up in government housing on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Sun, sand, surf, all gold and white, nineties Northern Beaches Australia just like the postcard. Everything I knew about my family in Lebanon and the culture was through the emotional responses of my parents’ experiences. My teenage years were of the pre-internet era, there was no social media or online communities for the diaspora, which in part I think contributed to the sense of rootlessness and a feeling of emptiness, something was missing. It’s difficult to piece fragments or feelings of a lost connection to heritage which exists inside you as both real and imagined when you’re a child dealing with the emotional trauma of your parents experiences, and the challenges of personal childhood experiences at school and outside of the family home. There was a Lebanese community in Sydney however I felt oddly estranged from it, the void and that feeling of separation persisted. Prior to studying art in Australia it took years for me to gain the confidence to enrol in art school. The main reason being that I felt it wasn’t accessible for a ‘non-white’ student or somebody from a culturally diverse background.


However I had become quite resilient since leaving home at fifteen and I would say very independent and self-reliant. So I ironically enrolled in an art school in Tasmania, the least diverse state in the country. Coming out of art school I was quite driven and focused on a specific medium I had fallen in love with, copper, it’s turning out to be a life long affair. There was an innate attraction to the material and its history. Looking back it was a way of connecting to my cultural heritage through antiquity, the distance between the present and ancient practices was spanned by a bridge that I built to travel back to a place which belonged to me being Lebanese however did not require an immediate connection with the local Australian Lebanese community I found hard to affiliate with. I had no reasons as to why or how to actually use the material and was not going to be able to access the knowledge to working with the medium as there were no artisans I could access in Australia using copper, and nobody around who could mentor my practice. Concepts focused on living in-between cultures and qualities of cultural exchange, cultural exchange as perhaps a mechanism for survival, embracing the between and the sense of transience, the ebb and flow of waves which carry the boat of diaspora.

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My processes of making in my earlier work with copper spoke of my transformation. Growing up as a teenager without family support I became extremely resourceful and managed to find exactly what I needed for most situations which would arise. I think this resourcefulness as a kid influenced my approach to art making, I would venture to scrap metal yards, building sights, and municipal refuge sights in order to find copper, the pre-used material often having a history of its own. The material would then either be etched, engraved or hand-pierced, heated and beaten to shape then repeated, joined with silver and filed back and sanded. At times I decided to leave the aesthetic outcome of the making processes raw, revealing to the audience their sense of transformation, just as much as one experiences the transformations we are forced to confront sometimes when living between cultures. My crude experimentations in copper without prior training was almost a mirror of my relationship as a daughter of migrant Lebanese parents who has always struggled to grasp the formal use of the Arabic language spoken by my parents and who still fails grammatically when writing. It’s almost second nature that I often work in my projects unsure of how I will realise them with my own hands, and the physical journey in making them and the problems which arise with its development speak to me of the distance I have felt growing up away from my cultural heritage.

I have sought after opportunities to work in Lebanon and Turkey where I am in an environment to work with local artists or creative members, I highly value being included in part of the critical thinking or the discourse currently happening in Lebanon. Recently I returned from Gazientep in Southern Turkey, a town where the souks are still filled with the studios of copper artisans, one of only perhaps three places in the MENA region where the practice of the craft still flourishes. I immersed myself in the environment for three months to work alongside local artists and creative members of the community. While in the region numerous trips to Lebanon also enabled me to engage in the critical discourse currently happening in the arts community particularly Beirut right now. Prior to working abroad my projects had needed to be placed in an Australian context, this came through research into forgotten histories of Islamic communities in the 1800’s and the present creation of hybrid spaces and use of vernacular materials in the mosques of today in the Australian cultural landscape. Following my experiences of working in Lebanon and returning as an artist to Australia my sense of place has opened up where I see myself and my work able to speak within a wider global art community. Interview by: Shades of Noir.



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WHERE ARE YOU FROM? My response is always ‘lots of places’, and so whilst some people laugh and others think I’m bragging, most are intrigued, and so begins another repeat of a story told a thousand times across the globe. There are a lot of benefits that come with being a Third Culture Kid; for one growing up with a clearly defined sense of independence. Having to communicate with Spanish shopkeepers in a small village, where the only language you 290 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

share is waving your arms and pointing really kicks the shyness out of you. Another benefit is the reduction of projected stereotypes. Cultural knowledge, personal identity and physical appearance are aspects to a person, but they don’t necessarily indicate the ‘whole’. When you spend most of your developmental years surrounded by ever-changing cultures, the stereotypes we are taught to see fall away simply out of exposure to the many variations of life and all the different ways people choose to be themselves.

I caught up with my younger brothers and sister, Adam, Mariam, and Ilyas to ask some questions about their experience of living as Third Culture Kids. They have moved from Cairo to Spain to Qatar (where they live now) with many stop-offs in between. My childhood was very much the same - as was my older sisters - with one difference, we spent our teen years in England. We had a chance to identify with the culture our parents were raised in.

Do you identify with your parents’ culture?

Qatar itself is heaving with TCK’s. As an oil-rich country it thrives off immigrants who make up 88.4% of its population. It carries a special relevance because much of the youth culture in the country is produced by or filtered through TCKs.

M: Until moving to Spain at 10, I never really considered the idea of nationality. From there moving back to England and moving to Qatar, I haven’t grown to only adapt to one place. I’ve still grown as a person regardless of the place. When I go back, I’m not the same person anyway. I started thinking about it more when I moved to Qatar because everyone’s like, are you sure you’re just English? And I say, oh no, I have heritage from these places too.

How many kids in your school are immigrants? M: Almost all of them. The Qatari population is less than 19% of our school. What culture have you built between each other in school, where is your entertainment from? I: I feel like it really depends on my surroundings. For example, when I was in Egypt the music I listened to was more hip hop and rap. In Spain and Germany, more chill stuff, more depressing stuff. That’s interesting because Egypt, Cairo especially, is really intense to live in, but the pace of life in Spain and in Germany is a lot calmer. A: Youtube, the majority of it. What we share in school is usually from America and England.

I: I genuinely don’t think I ever have identified with Spanish culture. But that might be because I started travelling very early on, so I never really got the hang of it. At this point, I think that I identify more with people from Egypt than people from Spain mostly because I sort of lived through the same struggles, like with the revolution.

Was it hard adjusting to living in a traditional environment like Qatar when you’ve grown up in places that are quite liberal, especially now in your teenage years? I: Yeah. I mean we don’t eat pork or drink beer anyways. It’s harder on our friends because more of them are Christians. You can get alcohol and pork. You just have to pay for a license for it. M: In some ways, it is restrictive in the way I dress, I have to change my outfit before going out. In a lot of eyes, women are considered inherently sexual so they have to cover up. It’s a bit like they have to try harder to be taken seriously. NS: Well, it’s funny because in more western countries it’s exactly the same, but they go in the opposite direction. Women are inherently sexual but they glorify it instead of shaming it. Both are flawed. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 291

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How have you experienced racism in the countries you’ve lived in?

A: Yeah. I think they saw me as the new kid so they could just pick on me.

M: It was hardest in Spain. Just in the small sentences, they said. Like calling us, English gipsies or terrorists.

M: Maybe they just saw you as more of a threat in a sense. So they thought if I’m afraid of him, I’m going to make him afraid of me.

A: With the bullying, mine got physical multiple times.

What would you say have been the hardest thing to leave behind?

M: I guess living in Spain I just sort of learned to get used to it because it was daily, like someone laughing at your hair or calling you a sheep for it.

I: I feel like leaving Egypt, in general, was horrible mostly because I left a ton of memories behind.

NS: I think you got it the worst Adam, I know that it was really bad in your school to the point where sometimes you just wouldn’t even show up. Do you think that you got more hate because you were bigger?


M: I guess it would be Mum because I was with her every day of my life since I was 10 and then not really considering the idea that one day I might be without her. When dad told me he said, how do you feel about moving to Spain in two weeks? I was like, I don’t want to. And he goes, well that’s too bad. So yeah, having

two weeks notice, a lot of things I didn’t get to say goodbye to. I guess moving to Qatar was easier because it was more of an opportunity. A: Moving teaches you not to get attached and not to think that anything is permanent, to value the things you have more. NS: That’s good though because the older you get, the more you realize that even if you stay in one place for as long as possible, things do eventually change and they shift. I have known many people in my life who didn’t get taught those same kinds of lessons and when the time came for things to change, they couldn’t do it. They suffered so much in that transition because they’re not used to change. So even though it’s hard letting those things go, saying goodbye to them and kind of moving on when you feel like the book isn’t finished yet, in future you’re better prepared to deal with those things because it’s an inevitable part of life. (2019). Qatar Population 2019. [online] Available at: qatar-population/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019]. Tedx (2015). Building Identity as a Third Culture Kid | Erik Vyhmeister | TEDxAndrewsUniversity. [image] Available at: watch?v=8RCmgMKJRy8 [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019]. Tedx (2019). Third Culture Kids: the impact of growing up in a globalized world | Ruth Van Reken | TEDxINSEAD. [image] Available at: com/watch?v=vrVWHfEQz6A&t=855s [Accessed 6 Oct. 2019].

Image Credit •

Flight plan by Naima Sutton, using Trip Happy

Interview by: Naima Sutton

Bibliography •

Aljazeera (2016). Egypt Revolution: 18 days of people power. [online] Available at: indepth/inpictures/2016/01/egyptrevolution-160124191716737.html [Accessed 13 Oct. 2019].

Faye, N. (2016). Am I rootless, or am I free? ‘Third culture kids’ like me make it up as we go along. The Guardian. [online] Available at: www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/2016/mar/09/ third-culture-kid-identity-different-cultures [Accessed 10 Oct. 2019].



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Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Shahzia Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, where she underwent rigorous training under master miniaturist Bashir Ahmed. The first student Ahmed invited to teach alongside him, she subsequently became the first artist from the Miniature Painting Department at the NCA to challenge the medium’s technical and aesthetic framework. 294 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

Sikander’s breakthrough work, The Scroll (1989-90), received national critical acclaim in Pakistan, winning the prestigious Shakir Ali and Haji Sharif awards for excellence in miniature painting and launching the medium into the forefront of the NCA’s program. Sikander moved to the United States in 1993 to pursue her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, which she completed in 1995.




Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Shahzia Sikander ’s pioneering practice takes classical Indo-Persian miniature painting as its point of departure and challenges the strict formal tropes of the genre by experimenting with scale and various forms of new media. Informed by South Asian, American, Feminist and Muslim perspectives, Sikander has developed a unique, critically charged approach to this time-honored medium – employing its continuous capacity for reinvention to interrogate ideas of language, trade and empire, and migration. Over the course of three decades, Sikander has developed a multi-media practice that embraces the production of compelling objects that practically and theoretically transcend borders. Her meaningful artistic and social collaborations probe contested histories of colonialism, mechanisms of power, notions of language and migration. Sikander’s work stands in opposition to the idea of homogenous and authentic national cultures; instead, Sikander asks that we understand terms such as “tradition,” “culture” and “identity” as unstable, abstract and constantly evolving. Her interdisciplinary practice offers a different and more inclusive way that delimits the arbitrariness of geopolitical borders and radically disrupts assumptions around national, political, and art historical boundaries. Official Website:

The Perennial Gaze, 2018 Glass mosaic mounted on plywood in brass frame 178.4 x 109.9 cm The Perennial Gaze, like Sikander’s many other creations, is beautiful, but it’s far more than that. While beauty plays a role in her work, Sikander believes it’s important for her audience to see past the surface level of whether or not her art is beautiful, because the themes she’s trying to communicate are far from superficial. “Beauty becomes almost like a tool, a vehicle, but it’s not about making pretty paintings either, and that often gets associated [with] feminine practices.” Shahzia encourages her audience to spend a little time with these pieces. “I want people to engage the work and then once they’re drawn in, read more, understand more, and then the work starts to unravel and in its unraveling…time is captured...not just over time of that one person’s experience, but in terms of their interface with culture and the society at large.” Courtesy of 34th Street Copyright © 2020 The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc.

Entangled from No Parking Anytime series, 2001 Color photogravure with spit bite aquatint and soft ground etching printed on gampi paper chine collé 52.1 x 43.2 cm For more information, please visit: Overview: Crown Point Press - Newsletter: Spring 2002. Available via: Sikander-Overview-2002.pdf



Ollie comes from a large Deaf family that includes parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who are all Deaf. He grew up with sign language as his home (first) language. Ollie didn’t realise that his experiences as a hearing child to a predominantly deaf family had a name until he was introduced to the concept purely by chance as an adult. The term ‘Coda’ was introduced to him by a work colleague who he learned speaks signlanguage and is married to a woman who is not deaf.

Finding this Coda identity has helped Ollie to recognise that there is a lot of value to his experiences being part of both communities and feels that it could be valuable for the wider community to learn about the duality of Coda identity.

Coda ‘Me-search’: What are the shared experiences of CODA International and identity developmentto that of TCKs?

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As an adult, Ollie has begun to build an online community to tell stories, define, refine, and spotlight the Coda culture, as well as promoting a broader awareness and acceptance of sign language as an important medium for communication. Finding this Coda identity helped Ollie to recognise that there is value to his experiences. Image Citation: • Valerie Yuwen Hsieh


MY IDENTITY AS A THIRD CULTURE KID. LINE SIDONIE TALLA MAFOTSING . EXCERPT FROM “BLACK AND PRIVILEGED: MY IDENTITY AS A “THIRD CULTURE” KID” ...How, from just looking at me, would they understand that I’ve got four languages swirling around in my brain but only two of those languages flow fluently out of my mouth? My English and my French are as perfect as they can be, but many don’t know that English is my third language; Italian, my second language and the language of the country where I spent half my childhood, doesn’t flow out of me as easily as it once did, but still holds a special place in my mind. Then there is Spanish, a language I’ve been learning since middle school that I can’t quite master just yet. How, from just looking at me, would people see that the confidence I have in my blackness is just as much connected to the predominantly white spaces I’ve spent so much of my life as it is to my Cameroonian culture? I’ve spent a lot of time navigating environments where I was either the only Black person in the room or one of the few people of color. When I lived in Italy, I was the only Black child on my swim team and the only Black person at my private Catholic school. 300 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

But as a kid, I didn’t think about what I looked like and even at the international schools I attended the other students of all races and I bonded over being “third culture” kids. The racism and discrimination I encountered when I was younger didn’t make sense to me until I became a teenager and was well into young adulthood. It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. that I developed the language to think about certain small moments earlier in my life, such as when white people at the mall in Italy felt empowered to touch my braids without my consent, or when our apartment building manager decided we looked suspect and glared at my family and I anytime he had the chance. It was then that I became aware of how my blackness translated into their categorization of me as the ‘other,’ someone who clearly did not fit in with the rest, that I became fully conscious of my race. When I was in middle school and high school, my identity as a ‘third culture kid’ always, subconsciously, came first. I always knew, in the back of my head, that people’s treatment of me as the ‘other’ had to do with cultural differences, but I was too young to connect that with the fact that my skin color was part of that difference. My father’s job requires him to move from country to country every few years uprooting our family and forcing us to restart our entire lives several times. I had to learn to adapt and


be flexible at a really young age, had to learn to come to terms with the fact that everything in my life was temporary - my home, my school, and even my friendships. When I look back at it, a lot of what I know now about the world, I owe to the fact that my nomadic lifestyle was out of my control. Because of that, I only had two options: to embrace it or to let it defeat me. In the end, I chose the former and by doing so I learned to never get too attached to anything or to anyone, for better or for worse. To this day, I still navigate many spaces with the mentality of never getting attached to people, something that has honestly been very difficult to unlearn. In middle school and high school, my circle of friends changed every year, because everyone I knew was just like me - third culture kids whose lives could change at any given moment. That common denominator is the one thing that made us a sort of community, even in the short periods of time we had together. Within the last few years, I have become hyper-aware of my own presence and my own identity, in relation to those around me. For the first time, I have begun to reflect on how being Black and growing up in places where I never exactly belonged or fit in came with its own set of challenges that I unconsciously repressed before. Blending in or assimilating for me was never an option. No matter how perfect my Italian was or how accustomed to the culture I was, my skin automatically became the sole indicator of who I was, or rather, who people thought I was. The white third culture kids who I went to school with didn’t seem to have the same problem; even if my Italian was better than theirs or I could navigate the city better than they could, they looked like the norm and I was the stranger in a foreign land. 302 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

This feeling of being a stranger never fully went away and even followed me well into my years at New York University. Coming back to the United States for college put everything I thought I knew about myself into perspective. My blackness and my “international-ness” were more at the forefront than they’ve ever been before. From being in Freshman courses where I was the only Black person and was assigned to analyze James Baldwin, to people asking me if I speak ‘Cameroonese,’ the tiny microaggressions - whether intentional or not - never cease to exist. Even at an institution as supposedly liberal as New York University, it would be ignorant of me to think that everyone around me would be as understanding or as tolerant as I expected them to be. I have had teachers ask me about my experience being Black, as if everyone who is Black has had the same exact experience. My experience being an African kid who’s moved around her whole life is not the same as the African kid who’s grown up in the suburbs as it is not the same as the African-American kid who’s lived their whole life in New York City. This is an excerpt from an essay published in Chaos and Comrades on July 26, 2019. The link to the original piece: Black and Privileged: My Identity as a “Third Culture” Kid




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Being Japanese and Chinese-Singaporean, and having lived in Japan, Singapore, California and now London, I have struggled with my identity. It is why my current practice, developing in my final year of the BA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts, deals with this struggle. In my film Singapore Girl, you’re a great way to…(2017), I play a reimagined persona of the Singapore Airline stewardess or ‘Singapore Girl’ to explore the exotification and idealisation of Asian women (or otherwise known as Asia-exotica). Feeling disconnected 304 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

from my heritage, I perform the Singapore Girl as a way to reconnect with my cultural identity and, at times, attempt to redefine it. Passionate about Singapore’s contemporary art scene, I wrote my dissertation titled, Reflections from Golden Spaces: An exploration into Singapore’s Contemporary Art Scene. It explores Singapore’s attempt to transform their cultural dessert into The art hub of Southeast Asia. In a country that views art as an economic and national tool,

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its punishment and reward system has a massive influence on the practices of local artists and the production of art. Intrigued by the relationship between artist, public and government in a country going through a major cultural shift, I followed Priyageetha Dia, an up-coming artist who recently sparked controversy in Singapore when she gold-foiled a staircase within a public housing property. With the aid of several interviews with Dia and other case studies, my investigation explored, not the controversy itself, but the conditions that transformed it into a local viral sensation—How do artists navigate their practice in Singapore? What territories do they (un)occupy? And how do artists condition themselves to sustain their practice? Using gold and ‘The White Cube’ as a metaphor, I pose a larger question: What are issues in the Singapore art scene and what does it need? Singapore is beginning to realize the value of art beyond its commerciality, viewing art more than just a product for sale. There is a focus on nurturing the relationship between artist and audience. I am currently furthering my exploration into Singapore’s contemporary art scape as an extension to my dissertation. I am interested in understanding Singapore’s relationship to Western and global art scenes and identifying how others view contemporary Singaporean art practices within non-Asian contexts—How is Singaporean art exotified and presented? I aim to figure out how I, as an artist can communicate contemporary Asian art to non-Asian audiences without the problematic label of ‘Asian Art’ in the process.

HELLO KITTY NATION (2017) Video, run time: 7 minutes, 49 seconds (on loop) Courtesy of Kana Higashino Website: I am interested in the impact of westernisation on Asia —how culture is produced, “sold” and appropriated. Born in Japan, having moved between Singapore, London, and the United States, I constantly feel that nothing belongs to me. Appropriating pop culture icons is my way of understanding my relationship to westernisation. In Hello Kitty Nation (2017), I take icons, like Hello Kitty, and transform them to make it my own. Though Hello Kitty is strongly associated with Japanese pop culture, many are not aware that Hello Kitty is a British school girl. Japanese women were fascinated by British culture in the seventies, as it represented the idealized childhood for many in Japan. Due to this phenomenon, the character’s story was built on Eurocentric values. The Hello Kitty mask featured in this work is a sentimental object from my childhood. As a child, I used to visit traditional Japanese summer festivals, where they sold cheap plastic PVC masks of popular cartoon characters, like Hello Kitty. Other masks include characters like Sailor Moon, UltraMan, and Pikachu as well.

To watch the video, visit:



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I was about 8 when my mum bought a world map and stuck it on the kitchen wall. Pointing to a tiny island in the Caribbean, she showed my brother and I what would soon be our new home. ‘It isn’t on a lot of maps’, she told us of the small sliver of land; the real reason the map she’d purchased was so big which took up an entire wall became the centre of our attention. She was right; once I’d become aware of this new place, I would scour globes and atlases at school but would rarely see it.

‘Curaçao’ I’d say to my fellow 8-year-olds. ‘It’s in the Caribbean, near Aruba and Bonaire, they’re known as the ABC Islands.’ I don’t know if that helped them contextualise where I was going - it probably didn’t - but it was all I knew to say about this country with a name I wasn’t sure how to pronounce and struggled to spell. Reciting those lines gave me the upper hand; ‘let me tell you something you don’t know’, it allowed me to regard Curaçao as a little less alien.



My brother and I protested, believing as kids do that our whiny pleas would have the ability to sway her executive decision. The thought of living anywhere other than the borough of Hackney was unthinkable. Clapton Pond was only down the road, we didn’t need any larger bodies of water than that. ‘A year will go by so quickly’ was her counter, and what seemed like the biggest lie turned out to be absolutely true. Our year in Curaçao flew by and it was an amazing one; we lived across the road from the beach and would stroll across the road to eat fresh snapper and rice for dinner while listening to the waves crash softly on the sand. I’d spend weekends snorkelling, putting the lengths I’d swam in my local leisure centre in London to good use, and by age 10, I was a certified Scuba Diver. Whilst I look back fondly at this year in Curaçao - and hope to go back one day - I also regard it as the year that washed away my sense of identity, instilling within me a sense of perpetual sense of un-belonging that I deal with to this day.

About six months later, we were off again, this time to the island of Trinidad. I was relieved as I felt I didn’t belong in Hackney anymore, so surely the Caribbean was where I needed to be.

At age 10 I was plopped back into Hackney, sun-kissed and with an Americanised twang to my east London accent courtesy of the international school we attended. I was excited to be back and couldn’t wait to tell my friends about how I had a locker at school, like in all the American cartoons we grew up watching, expecting everything to go back to normal after not having had very regular contact. I’d send a select few friends an email every now and then and expected to be ‘queen bee’ once more upon my arrival. Instead, I was met with stares of disbelief; I had been forgotten about and now suddenly had miraculously reappeared. I’d spent the year running barefoot through trees while my school friends had renegotiated old friendship groups and become more interested in boys than pretending to be Destiny’s Child on the playground.

And poignantly, being in Trinidad made me aware of my blackness for the first time in a negative light. I was one of a small handful of black students in my class, which was surprising considering I was in the Caribbean. I got the sense that my blackness was okay purely because I was English and when people called me ‘coconut’ for being black on the inside but ‘acting white’, I would feel a small sense of relief that I fit in when I really did not.

On the verge of teenagehood, however, I found it wasn’t as easy to be the new girl. My English accent was a novelty, but not enough to make people want to be your friend as it was a few years ago. I became aware of the wealth of the people around me at the international school I attended, and how much we didn’t have in comparison. In London, taking the bus home after school was an exciting prospect, but in Trinidad, it was unheard of. My brother and I would wait at the bus stop while our peers got picked up from school by their parents in SUV cars. They would ask us what it was like to ride the bus as if it was something they couldn’t imagine doing in their wildest dreams and we got into the habit of leaving school later so no one would see us get on the bus.

About a year into our time in Trinidad, I told my mum I wanted to move back to the UK. With no hesitation she decided that I’d come back to do my A levels; living there wasn’t the Curacao part 2 we dreamed of and this was her way making up for it.


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When we talk about our time in Trinidad now, we laugh at trials and tribulations and my mum usually tells me how sorry she is that she moved us. As an adult, I can appreciate why she did and I have grown not to need her, sorry that felt so necessary when I was 16. When I moved back to London, Hackney had become trendy, the place to be, but growing up the threat of gangs and negative influences were very real and open for my brother. He spent his teenage years fishing and finding a love for skateboarding, and when I look at the man he has become today, it all feels like it was absolutely necessary. But I am not entirely sure how necessary it all was for me. I spent 5 years waiting for the moment I could leave; I was always a very average student, but became studious, wanting to get the best grades possible so I could get into a good school in London. And I did. I got into a private school, I came back home and had finally achieved my biggest dream. I thought surely now I would finally feel belonging. But in fact, I felt like my purpose had been realised and there was nowhere else to go, I felt empty. I had become studious out of necessity but couldn’t muster up the energy to apply this to my A levels. I didn’t really think about where I wanted to go to university and had no real concrete job aspirations outside ‘writing for a magazine’. I had become accustomed to relocating, building a new life from the ground up and a part of this meant I didn’t really invest in friendships. As much as I wanted to make friends, I didn’t put much effort into it because I had grown accustomed to not being in one place for too long, as well as being hyperaware of my difference in race and class. Again I found myself to be one of a handful of black students and surrounded by students who were privately educated their whole lives. The first kind face that approached me would 312 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

become my friend. As long as I had someone to eat lunch with, I was fine. I spent a lot of time with people I didn’t particularly share interests with, always yearning to be one of the ‘popular kids’ because I believed they’d like similar things to me but never having the courage to find out. I felt as though I’d never make real friends because no one was like me. Growing up in three different countries gave me the sense that my knowledge on a lot of things was never fully developed, I was always catching up so it was best to sit back and listen when it came to things like the social hierarchy at school and not attempt to shift things too much. To this day I still feel as though I’m catching up. The years I spent merely avoiding being alone means that now, I try to be intentional about making genuine friendships which pushes me very far out of my comfort zone. Last year, I attended a 5-year school reunion and was able to reconnect with the people I did my A levels with. I spoke to the people I was too afraid to talk to all those years ago and even came to realise I wasn’t the only one who felt they didn’t fit in in that environment, how being black and at private school causes a similar identity crisis. While I still struggle with feelings of un-belonging, I find comfort in the fact I don’t feel this alone. It is only now that I write this that I can trace the effects of leaving London to travel the world that my mum opened up to me when she stuck that map on the kitchen wall. While It has been confusing, I am so grateful that I was able to see so much of the world at such a young age subconsciously it has allowed me to dream big as I know that I can make anywhere my Images •

Lashley, N. (2005) Clapton 2 Curaçao.


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In a nutshell? I’m a consultant by day and poet by night. I’ve always loved writing, but it wasn’t until recently, when I was going through a number of storms, that I began to write with the intention of processing emotion.

There are still days - many days - when my head is clouded by an endless stream of thoughts. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to escape the noise entirely. But in the meantime, I invite you to join me in my pursuit of clear skies.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, feelings have not traditionally been my forte, but words have always brought me comfort. And so I decided to harness their power by writing my way out of the labyrinth. Slowly, I started to regain a sense of clarity and intention.

Valerie Wong (AKA @theglutenfreepoet) was born in Toronto, grew up in Hong Kong and is currently working as a management consultant in New York. As a Third Culture Kid (TCK), she is at once a local and a foreigner wherever she goes. Website: THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 313




MONOLOGUE “Have I ever told you how I’m basically Swiss, this oddly harmonious fusion of opposing cultures? I’m an ISTJ with an eye for romance. Like a robot tied up with a really nice ribbon. I believe in German efficiency and walk faster than most New Yorkers, yet I can read at a café, sipping a cappuccino for hours in true Franco-Italian style. Most Swiss of all, I am painstakingly neutral. It’s not as sexy as passion, but it lasts.” “My life is small. What can I say? My heart is limited. I have to put up boundaries. But this way, everyone who manages to slip past is guaranteed a lifetime of generous (I like to think) support. So yeah, I guess I’m pretty damn Swiss, but it got me thinking, what about my American side? The side we all assumed I was on? Linguistically, that’s where my alliances lie, but culturally, I don’t know man. I prefer subtlety to volume, quality to convenience, smaller to bigger. Times Square, to me, represents everything that is wrong with America today.” “Besides, I wasn’t born yesterday. I’m an econ major: I know competition comes at the price of community, that efficiency comes at the cost of equity, that the razzle dazzle of marketing can be blinding. I think I’ve always assumed I was American because it was a convenient answer - so far from Hong Kong - but maybe I don’t love this country so much as I covet its crown jewel. To breathe in the halal fumes of New York from now till eternity. That’s what I believe in. I believe in drinking coffee slowly and strolling the length of the Hudson, savouring every drop. I believe in art. I believe in bourgeois-bohemian bookstores

and Sunday brunches spent dreaming up future lovers. I believe in grass, brownstones and puppies. I believe, in short, in living beautifully. What a fucking luxury.” “All this, of course, is a problem from Immigration’s perspective. I tell people I’m from Hong Kong but apparently the government thinks I’m a foreigner - my passport application got rejected a few years ago. Most locals probably feel the same, not that I blame them. My passport reads Canada, and sometimes I feel it, but I sure as hell don’t know it. Maybe that’s why I’m so afraid to go “back.” Not because of the hellish winters or taxes or even the plight of having to be constantly nice, but because I’d be so afraid of being caught out for the imposter I am. That people will take one look at me and draw blanks the way they do in other places. If they don’t recognize me at “home,” then where the hell do I belong?” “Look, I don’t have the answer to that question, or many other ones for that matter. But here are a few things I do know. Hong Kongers are too practical. Work is important, but a career is a path to a lifestyle. Homesickness catches up with everyone eventually, but at least it means you have something worth missing. ‘Control yourself/take only what you need from it.’ It’s not enough to feel or think; you need to do both. Don’t hold back too much, or people stop trying. I guess, if anything, what I’m trying to say is, I’m aiming for more than mere existence. Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, so I get help from people around me, in the flesh or on paper. I’m telling you, it’s all about balance. I want to live small but deep.”



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This is a question I ask myself frequently. I draw mostly animals in a style I call World Folk Art. It’s like World Music, but for the eyes. I research how the animal lived in the wild, stories and symbolism ascribed to them by nearby Peoples and their art, textiles, clothing, body art, and architecture. I revel in how the human family everywhere loves to decorate themselves and their surroundings. Turtles are my most recent art project. I’ve drawn over thirty of them, all from different regions and in the styles of different People. I will share five of them with you to show how being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) has affected me and defined my art. I grew up in Saudi Arabia and Panama, and traveled extensively in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Far East.


That childhood gave me direct access to the world, and immersed me in the many diverse ways people use color and design to express their perceptions of the world and themselves. What I find most fascinating is the way so many traditional art styles and design motifs have traveled around the world, carried by cross-cultural migrants to new locales, only to influence and be influenced by the traditions and styles in those new places. Art, I have come to see, is a universal conversation – a visual conversation. My art is my contribution to this discussion.

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There is another aspect to my work. I regard it as a gift that came to me from being very ill. For a dozen years I had very active lupus with a lot of cerebral involvement, including a mild stroke. Recovery was a process. First to return was my love of music, then my vocabulary. Prior to my illness I could copy well, but not create art. As I started getting better and realised I couldn’t work outside the home I started drawing. My first big project was a multi-cultural ABC book, Paisley Pig and Friends. In the process of drawing/writing it, my brain came alive again. I love drawing and it helped me get my life back. The connections between art and emotion, art and disability, access to our creative selves, and the peace that art (observed or created) gives us, fascinates me. Official Website: World Folk Artist Workshops on Creativity, Art, and Strife

SCHEHERAZADE’S THE HEATHCOCK AND THE TORTOISES (Image 109) Middle Eastern - Among the tales attributed to Scheherazade in 1,001 Nights, is of a heathcock who rests on an island populated by tortoises. They come to adore the bird who clips his wings for them, agreeing to stay with them always. Not good - a wily weasel makes easy prey of the bird. Predating Jesus, the heathcock forgives the tortoises as he is dying. When I was four my family moved to Saudi Arabia. My father worked for ARAMCO as a pilot bringing oil tankers into the Gulf to fill up with Arabian crude. Even though we lived behind a fence we often explored nearby locales and ancient sites. I was fascinated by intricate Islamic tile work and gorgeous architecture.

KURMA, VISHNU’S SECOND INCARNATION (Image 110) In Hinduism, Vishnu connects and protects. In his many incarnations he is responsible for holding creation together and safeguarding it from obliteration by evil forces. As Kurma, he rescues creation by tricking demons, thus winning a massive war between good and evil. As an early teen traveling in Nepal, India and Cambodia with my mother I was surrounded by brilliant colors, terraced gardens, handwoven textiles, temples without one speck of uncarved space, and ornate jewelry. Even though I was submerged in Mad magazine and wondering if we were there yet it must have soaked in. It was in Nepal I saw my first hippie, a young woman traveling alone, and decided that was what I wanted to be when I grew up.


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TORTOISE AND THE LEOPARD (Image 111) Guna People of the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama - The story of the Tortoise and the Hare is told around the world, with a wide array of morals and actors. The Guna highly value getting along and their version includes a second part to the story, resulting in a tie finish. When I was in 7th grade, looking forward to going to Beirut for school the next year, we abruptly moved to Panama where my father became a Panama Canal pilot. It was strange to be surrounded by so much greenery. It was there that I developed a love for the Guna (formerly Kuna) People. My first love was the mola, a hand sewn, brightly colored, layered fabric panel used by Guna women for the front and back of their blouses. All of my art has a mola feel to it. Then I explored their culture. I was so aware of their fiercely guarded privacy that I never even visited the San Blas Islands.

VISIONS OF DISCOVERY (Image 112) Huichol People of Central Mexico - Dreams and peyote visions are recreated in yarn art to record and better understand their meaning. Turtles assist rain goddesses in stewarding underground waters.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME (Image 113) In a Greek story, Zeus invited tortoise to his wedding. She demurred preferring her humble home to Zeus’ lavish nuptials. Zeus became enraged at her absence. From then on, he declared, she would carry her house with her wherever she went. When I recently found out about Third Culture Kids I was surprised and comforted by how much the description fit me. I had trouble fitting in when I came to the States for college. My understanding of body language, my sense of time, and my smaller personal bubble all set me apart. I didn’t know popular culture. Also, I couldn’t share my stories because they seemed fabricated to folks who’d lived within the same cultural space all their lives. World Folk Art is now my way of sharing - it is my side of an ongoing conversation I am engaged in with the many cultural influences that have defined me. What is home? In a sense, I am like that Greek turtle living in an English Tudor cottage. All of these influences travel with me. I’m now settled and have a full life, with a TCK spouse and three children who love to travel. Like Zeus’s turtle I can make a home wherever I am.

I realised this was a self portrait after I completed it. The sun is my awakening brain after a protracted illness, the deer and corn symbolize the abundance of loving people, food, and wellbeing in my life. Below the surface is a whole world running deeply. It is rich with life experiences, bubbling up to the surface.


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WELCOME HOME. AIYSHA JAHAN. CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOME FROM A PLACE OF UNBELONGING. It’s a December morning in 2019 and we’re coming in over the sea from the northwest, the picture-postcard approach into Dubai. The sky is a clear blue and I’m seated at a window on the right, guaranteeing a view of the city. Just a few hours ago I was in the grey, cold and wet of the UK, where I now live. But as I catch sight of the sun-soaked city in the distance, I know I’m home: towering Burj Khalifa and the high-rises that cluster around it, where every road seems to lead to a one-way lane into Dubai Mall; the revolving restaurant atop the Hyatt Regency, where we celebrated my sister’s graduation, the first doctor in the family; my childhood neighbourhood under the flight path, where we’d make a game of guessing the airline as each plane grew larger and thundered past, wheels already deployed. In 2016, as part of my PhD research on growing up non-Emirati in Dubai, I interviewed four South Asian women about this place that we call home. As the Arabian Sea gives way to land and the plane is minutes from the airport, I remember Sidra’s feelings of arriving in Dubai after a long absence: ‘The moment you land over there, you feel, it’s my place. I’m here. I’m home.’ Like all the other participants of my study, Sidra, who was 40 at the time of the interview, lived her formative years in what Useem,

Useem and Donoghue describe as a ‘third culture’, an interstitial culture that is created and shared by children who live outside their parents’ passport country/ies. Sidra’s parents had moved to Dubai from Pakistan when she was a baby and she lived there until she married and had to move away. While a Third Culture Kid (TCK) can be defined as any child who has spent a significant part of their developmental years in a culture/s other than their parents’ home culture, the term doesn’t distinguish between those who are highly mobile and the fairly static lives of expatriate children who live in places like the Middle East long term. The latter are akin to second-generation immigrants; however, as many host countries such as the UAE don’t yet offer a clear path to naturalisation, these children exist in limbo, neither citizen nor alien. Vora refers to Indians who live in Dubai as ‘impossible citizens’, who although they can stake ‘historical, cultural and geographical claims’ to the city, their legal status places them squarely outside the nation. This dichotomy between where you feel you belong and where your passport says you belong has a significant impact on identity formation and belonging. Mehr, then 29 and a resident of Dubai, said: ‘It’s caused a lot of confusion. People ask where I’m from and I don’t know if I’m meant to say I’m from here or from India…even though this feels like home I don’t really think I really belong here, because we’re not considered from this country.’ In a THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 325

similar vein, Fatima, then 22, expressed her sense of identity as complicated: ‘my birth certificate says Dubai…But my passport says Bangladeshi. I am confused as to what I should identify myself as – by roots that I [don’t] have much experience with, or birthplace?’ Many families like my own have lived in the city for generations. My nephew is a four-year-old Dubai kid to whom India is little more than a holiday destination. Although he displays a confident sense of self at this stage, it is likely that he will have to unpick his third culture childhood as he grows older. According to Erikson, the process of identity formation can be conceptualised as a series of stages, with the fifth psychosocial stage, usually occurring during adolescence, the most essential in developing a sense of personal identity, the result of the crisis being identity formation or identity confusion. In contrast to Fatima and Mehr, Hira, my fourth interviewee, expressed a very secure sense of identity. Hira had moved to North America at 26 and at the time of the interview was 39 and a dual national (Pakistan and Canada). She said: ‘the Pakistani passport [was] just a passport and whenever people ask me, even now, where are you from it’s really that I’m from Dubai. Dubai was home and that really is my identity.’ During our conversation, she cited her father’s ‘business background’ as leading to a stable childhood: ‘The 3 year visas, you know, being at the mercy of your employer and all of that, I never grew up with that feeling, because we had – my dad had a business’. This lack of a fear of repatriation to her passport country may be a source of the development of a more certain connection to the place she grew up. It was also interesting to note the nostalgia 326 - THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK)

that permeated both her answers and Sidra’s, which is reminiscent of a diasporic community’s nostalgia for their homeland. Hand in hand with the love for a city you consider home is the fear of repatriation to your passport culture. Sidra likened her return to live in Pakistan to being ‘in a maze’ that she could not escape. Gilbert states that when TCKs re-enter their passport culture, their ‘socially ambiguous losses are not or cannot be openly mourned or socially supported’. While Sidra looked like her Pakistani compatriots, she could not fit in, and much of that grief and struggle was evident in the interview. In a similar way, Fatima also expressed that she found it hard to adjust to life in Bangladesh when her father lost his job and they were forced to repatriate. When asked if she struggled to fit in, she said, ‘Definitely! It was never easy, and it still isn’t’. Although all returnee TCKs must deal with the issues that arise from moving to their passport countries, children who hail from developing nations where international moves are motivated by better employment opportunities and a higher standard of living, will have to tackle economic factors that are likely to further complicate the process of reacculturation. Fatima was studying in the US at the time of the interview and said that she was determined to remain there if she could to ‘get the passport because of the privilege that comes with it’. This answer is one to which many non-Emirati children can relate, including myself, as my own move to the UK was motivated by living in Dubai in a perpetual state of enforced unbelonging and the threat of repatriation that comes with it.

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As the plane touches down, a familiar feeling creeps in. Like the experience of growing up in Dubai, there is a contradiction in this feeling. There is a loosening of something inside that comes from being home after an absence and a simultaneous steeling of yourself, a shoring up to feign nonchalance as you go through passport control, where you’ll be asked, resident or visitor, when all you really want to hear is, welcome home. Update: In January 2021, the UAE government adopted amendments to its citizenship laws, through which select non-Emirati professionals (such as investors, doctors and authors, along with their families) may be granted citizenship. However, this amendment still does not offer non-Emiratis a route to apply for citizenship as individuals be nominated by government or other officials.

Kathleen R. Gilbert, ‘Loss and Grief Between and Among Cultures: The Experience of Third Culture Kids’, Illness, Crisis & Loss, 16 (2008), 93-109 (p. 96)

Froilan T. Malit Jr. and Ali Al Youha, Labour Migration in the UAE: Challenges and Responses, (Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2013) < labor-migration-united-arab-emirateschallenges-and-responses> [accessed 25 July 2016].

Jarallah, Juman and Shireena Al Nowais, ‘UAE to grant Emirati citizenship to “talented and innovative” people’, The National, 30 January 2021 < government/uae-to-grant-emiraticitizenship-to-talented-and-innovativepeople-1.1156264>

Bibliography •

John Useem, Ruth Hill Useem and John Donoghue, ‘Men in the middle of the third culture: The roles of American and non-Western people in cross-cultural administration’, Human Organisation, 22 (1963), 169-79 (p. 169).

David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken, Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds, rev. edn (London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2009), p. xi. Neha Vora, Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora (London: Duke University Press, 2013), p. 3

Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1968), pp. 128-34.



SPEAKERS Ardi Kuhn is a graduate student at the AsienAfrika-Institut, University of Hamburg. His current research interest is in postcolonial queer Southeast Asian studies.

‘My parents wanted me to learn English and fit in. But they expect me to be fully Asian too. They don’t understand that I sometimes feel I’m not Western enough and I’m not Asian enough.’

Aiko Minematsu is a university lecturer in Tokyo and is Co-Chair of the FIGT Japan Affiliate. Aiko attended seven elementary schools in Japan and the USA.

Many Third Culture Kids (TCKs) grow up speaking a different language from one or both of their parents. Some experience a disconnect, a lack of language to communicate with those who are closest to them: their families. To one degree or another, they may feel a sense of loss of home language and culture, as well as the frustration of not being understood by their own family. From the earliest age, children get their cultural cues from their parents, who are important anchors and mirrors for a child’s identity. But when a child’s strongest language is different from that of one or both of their parents — and because language and culture are so closely intertwined — it can create a sense of cultural disconnection that can affect the parent-child relationship, even into adulthood.


Karen Tan is an Intercultural trainer, leadership coach & Founder of Think Impact. Karen is now also pursuing a doctoral degree in member care. Danau Tanu is an anthropologist and author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School, which is based on her PhD research on Third Culture Kids. She is also a Co-Chair of the FIGT Research Network. HOST Isabelle Min has spent the last decade as founder and CEO of the TCK Institute to help break down these hierarchies. To listen to the podcast, visit:

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FINDING INTERSECTIONAL CREATIVES IS EASY. This database aims to bring together our growing community of creatives and acknowledge the expertise of global communities of visionary practitioners. The aim of this database is to support work in the following areas: • Decolonising creative curriculums • Acknowledging cultural currency. • Affirmation of diverse communities contribution to the creative sector. By making this resource accessible we hope to challenge any assumptions which seek to suggest that marginalised communities have made no significant contribution to the creative sector.



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think. Being an artist is a more subtle way of inviting people to access things on different levels and enter into it themselves.

Shades of Noir spoke to artist Gayle Chong Kwan as she starts her Artist’s Residency at the V&A Residency in Photography on Capturing Motion.

I often work in the public realm and in nongallery spaces, I strongly believe that the idea of art and culture as just being confined to art spaces is defunct. A lot of the projects that I develop don’t have clear outputs, and it’s hard to see where the work actually is: is it in process, the events, concrete outputs, physical objects or in the experience of the participants or the viewers? These questions are exciting for me as they interrogate and complicate what we consider as art. Every few years, I do a large project that lasts between two and three years, like The People’s Forest, between 2017 - 2019, in which I focused on the history of politics and protest in Epping Forest in London - which is an area of complex history - that was saved for the common good, through protests by commoners, and which I linked with political protest of the 80s and 90s against the building of the M11 link road in the area. ACME Studios, with whom I actually have my studio in London, had a lot of artist houses along the road in which I live, which had been condemned for the building of the link road, so art and protest existed side by side. A lot of artists lived there, a lot of the protesters went on to the ‘Reclaim the Streets’ movement. The work took the form of different aspects - sensory events and experiences in the forest, participatory walks, an exhibition at the William Morris Gallery and an 11-metre installation relating to tree and protest structures through two floors in the Barbican. To just have one physical artwork on a wall is not how I work at all.

Please can you introduce yourself and your work? I’m a contemporary artist. A lot of my work is based around an expanded and embodied notion of photographic practice, which includes large-scale works in the public realm and experiential and ritual events. I draw upon the politics of the gaze and the vista in relation to post-colonialism, and my embodied approach to photography relates to my experience of myopia. What is your origin story? How did you find your way from studying politics to creating large-scale installations? I had an unusual route into art. My first degree was in politics and history, and I specialised in postcolonial politics in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m half Chinese-Mauritian, half Scottish, and I was really trying to better understand my history. I also have an MSc in Communications and an MPhil in Fine Art and am soon completing my PhD in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. I think it’s a second-generation [immigrant] thing; art was what I always wanted to do, what I dreamt of doing, but academia was what was expected of me and I could do it. It has given me a real grounding in politics and what it means to me to be an artist and to make or do art. I’ve been affected by modes of address in politics, thinking through how art can model or consider different realities or different possibilities rather than hitting people over the head with a message. Even as a politics student, I had an aversion to the idea that I could tell other people how to

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intergenerational learning, but centred around a local vernacular dish called panaculty. There’s a lot of disagreement over how to make it and how it is even spelt, but it’s always made from leftover and waste ingredients. There were many different parts to it, including a large event on the fields above where the mine had been, in which local community craft and cooking groups and teachers passed on local skills and traditions that are on the verge of disappearing to a range of ages, and I even hosted the first World Pan Hag championship, which crowned a winner of the world’s best panaculty recipe. A lot of the things I do are part of that expanded photographic practice, and that’s why I was excited to get the photography residency at the V&A. A lot of my thinking is around questioning museology, the way in which objects are categorised and kept from people in museums and institutions, but which are presented as being ‘Universally Accessible’. I recently did a large project in Auckland, New Zealand, around the environmental effects of the dairy industry on the rovers and land, where I did a lot of research and thinking around objectified, objects not being historic objects that belonged to ancestors but actually being ancestors themselves, objects are not able to be separated from people, context, relations, and land. It’s quite exciting and complicated that I’m in the V&A, I have a lot of questions. A lot of my art is research-based. I’m just completing a PhD at the Royal College of Art entitled ‘Imaginal Travel’ (as well as being a single mother of two small boys). It’s about the notion of imagined travel, reconceptualising travel as movement through us rather than humans moving through static landscape. I am examining early images of the ‘monstrous’, images that allowed us to dehumanise ‘othered’ people, take away their Citizenship.

Tracing how they became non-Citizens through images. I argue that images travel, and ask what the political consequences of that are, and that relates also to my fellowship at the V&A. Are you worried about your ability to critique an institution such as the V&A whilst working within it? The V&A is really embracing critique at the moment. I’m really against the idea of me ‘capturing’ anything so I was clear that I would approach the theme of ‘Capturing Motion’ in a different way; my work is an expanded notion of photography, it’s inclusive and contingent. It’s less confident that I can represent the world according to my eyes, and the V&A were really positive about that. I’m excited about working between sites, my studio is by the Olympic Park which is where the V&A East is going to be, they are exploring how the V&A can be situated in different places and accessible in expanded ways. Me working between different sites is important to that. I’m excited about working with the V&A Photography Centre, which has an incredible collection of photography, that feature multiple moments within one work, as well as works of collage and montage there are also works, such as Gustave Le Gray’s produced photographic works that were made of two different negatives together, featuring a sea from one place, a sky from somewhere else, bringing different moments and places together through collage. The work will somehow be wearable, moveable photographic works, that move across sites and historical times. What questions are you trying to answer in your work? The same questions as you are asking me - what can art provoke, how can art model different realities, that are not separate from the work. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 337

I was influenced by Arte Povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto and his foundation in Italy, who was an early proponent of the idea of using poor or common materials in his work. He set up a foundation, Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto to explore socially responsible art. What does it mean to be part of something? I am not separate from society. The V&A is going through a critical stage, building the V&A East, and are asking what does it mean to have the objects in a different space and context? Museology is the concept of universal access to objects, but I don’t see how that can be, how can Pacific Islanders have access to them, real access? Even if they are invited into Auckland Museum, they have to touch their ancestral objects with plastic gloves and provide the missing information from labels in the Museum that just recount who took the objects, or whom they were ‘gifted’. I don’t know the answers, and I probably won’t find them, but I’ll keep asking. That’s what I learned from studying politics, to not need answers. What writers, thinkers, academics, artists, inspire you? I’m really interested in the writers Eduardo Vivieros de Castro and Hannah Arendt. De Castro has this way of turning things on their head, he has an anthropological focus on naturalism. He says that instead of having one nature and many cultures, there is one culture and many natures, different realities, for example, the concept that Pacific Islanders have of objects not being just objects, as a different way of looking at the world. We need to stop pretending that there is one nature. As an artist you are never not inspired, somehow you just need to manage what you are inspired by.


What medium is your art practice rooted in? I studied sculpture, but started using photography when I created ‘Cockaigne’ in 2004, a series of photographs of sculptural mise-en-scenes made of rotting and sweating food, around Medieval notions of the land of gluttony which connected with the incremental theatricalisation and consumption of my father’s island of birth, Mauritius. I taught myself how to use a largeformat camera, explored the idea through the front stage and what was behind, like a theatrical presentation but writ large on landscapes of tourism. What issues provoke you to make art? Anger at how things are, curiosity, questions, complicating things. That’s what inspired me to work with waste arts and waste food. Whilst I was studying I worked in catering, and the amount of waste was shocking. The work I do is what’s leftover, what can be done with them, what does it mean to consider something waste or not waste in a capitalist society? Art gives you a large area to ask those questions. My PhD definitely helped me focus my questions, it has been a really fruitful process to go through.

Interview by: Florence Low.

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Illustration of SoN team member. Courtesy of Kana Higashino.

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Illustration of SoN team member. Courtesy of Kana Higashino.

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Screenshot from Narrative Video. Courtesy of Shades of Noir

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Image of Aiysha Jahan. Available via

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Image of Aiysha Jahan. Courtesy of the Author.

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Image of Aiysha Jahan. Courtesy of the Author.

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Image of Ruth E. Van Reken. Courtesy of the Author. Available via: enlarging-our-tents-thoughts-for-the-internationally-minded-therapist/

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Infographic of Home, Host and Interstitial or “Third Culture”. Copyright of Shades of Noir, 2020.

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Chart showing the top 20 destinations and origins of international migrants in 2019. Source: UN DESA 2019. Avaible via:

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Photograph: Gideon Mendel/Corbis. Description: Schoolchildren aged six to 16 who lived in the five London boroughs that hosted the London Olympic Games, 2012: ‘Third culture kids refers to a child who has spent a significant part of their formative years outside their parents’ culture.’ Faye, N. (2016) Available from [Accessed 1 Jul. 2019].


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Image of Christelle Kamanan. Courtesy of the author.

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Alexandr Ivanov (u.d.) Available via

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Infographic of TCKs and Codas. Copyright of Ellen Mellett (FIGT Research Affiliate Centre. Children of Deaf Adults as “Third Culture Kids”, 24th July 2020. Available via:

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Image of Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Fannie Barrier Williams, (1855-1944). Photo by Paul Tralles, ca. 1885. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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African American men, women, and children who participated in the Great Migration to the north, in Chicago, 1918. Chicago History Museum / Getty Images.

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Image of Montaz Marché. Available via:

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Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay (1761-1804) and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray (1760-1825). Johann Zoffany, 1778, Oil on canvas. Available via: uncovering-black-women-eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century-britain

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Elisabeth, Sarah and Edward, children of Edward Holden Cruttenden (with Black nursemaid). Joshua Reynolds, 1763, Oil on canvas Available via: uncovering-black-women-eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century-britain


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Illustration courtesy of The Black Expat Podcast. Apple Podcasts. Available via: id1273596975 The Black Expat Podcast aims to highlight the ups and downs of the expat experience. It touches on travel, current events, jobs, friendships, family, mental health and the overall expat experience. The goal is not only to provide others with information, but also provide a space for expats worldwide to have their voices, stories, and experiences shared. We as people have far more in common than we think. Through interviews with other expats and people all over the world, together we can learn about the paths that may take when deciding whether or not to become expats. The Black Expat Podcast reaches those seeking interesting stories and perspectives, good laughs, and information and knowledge presented in an entertaining way.

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Snapshot of the proportion of international migrants around the world. Source: UN DESA 2019. Available via: Note: This map is for illustration purposes only. The boundaries and namesshown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the International Organization for Migration.

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Snapshot of International migrant population globally between 1995 and 2019. Source: UN DESA 2019. Available via:

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Hand on Globe (2012). Sourced from Getty Images. Credit: Design Pics/Don Hammond

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Dr. Kwarme Baah and Friends. Chelsea College of Arts, UK. Image Courtesy of Shades of Noir

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Illustration of SoN team member Courtesy of Kana Higashino.


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Screenshot from Reverse Culture Kids Key Term Video. Courtesy of Shades of Noir

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Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa Headshot Courtesy of Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa.

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Black Americans Living Abroad Poster / Logo Courtesy of Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa.

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Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa Courtesy of Katrina Sunnei Dais Samasa.

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Infographic of TCK's - parent cultures, host culture and mix of other cultures. Copyright of Shades of Noir, 2020.

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Pictured: Akshay Bhoan Courtesy of Akshay Bhoan.

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Pictured [LEFT]: Boys in procession, Sunam, Punjab. Silver gelatin print, 2014, Part of project “Betab”. Pictured [RIGHT]: Chainye te asla (Chain & Ammo), Punjab. Digital print, 2014, Part of project “Betab”. Courtesy of Akshay Bhoan.

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Hollow of the holy trunk, 2020 Courtesy of Akshay Bhoan.

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Kunal, New Delhi, India 2016 in ‘Identity and Trauma’ via Lense Culture: Kunal barely talks about his emotional relationships. He explained that being a man allows you to talk about a lot of things but it comes with a lot judgment towards vulnerability. Courtesy of Akshay Bhoan.

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A photograph of a Solonia Teodros. Courtesy of Shades of Noir

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A photograph of a Solonia Teodros. Courtesy of Shades of Noir

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Portrait of Chiizii. Courtesy of the Artist.


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Babylonpostercolor. Available via:

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Portrait of Teja Arboleda Sourced via Vimeo: Courtesy of Teja Arboleda

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Ted Talk, 2015 Courtesy of Teja Arboleda via Courtesy of Teja Arboleda

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Portrait of Hilary Wan. Courtesy of Shades of Noir.

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Kim, G. Uproot. Available via:

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Portrait of Yasmine Nasser Diaz. Courtesy of the Artist. Available via:

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Dirty Laundry (Detail 3) Installation. Courtesy of the Artist

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Dirty Laundry - 7812. Installation Courtesy of the Artist

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Hanna Bint Ghamar Crctd / Hanna daughter of Ghamar (2018). Pink neon tubes on wood. Measuring 17.25 x 45.5 x 4.5”. Courtesy of the Artist

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Dirty Laundry (Detail 2) Installation. Courtesy of the Artist

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Wolf Girl in BKK (2010). Courtesy of Bess Frimodig. Available via


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Portrait of Bess Frimodig. Courtesy of the Artist. Available via:

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Portrait of Oz Katerji. Available from

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Image of Montaz Marché. Available via:

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Portrait of Anastasia Goanna. Courtesy of the artist.

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Pedestal (2016). Self portrait project in collaboration with Mia Hawk. Courtesy of the Artist. Available via:

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Image of Nour Malas. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Untitled (Gyros) 2019 Paint, paper mache, chicken wire, metal pole. Measuring 265cm / 104.3” Courtesy of the Artist

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Twelve Desperate Egg-Plants (2019). Plaster, eggs, table and cloth. Measuring 80cm / 31.5”. Courtesy of the Artist

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Twelve Desperate Egg-Plants (2019). Plaster, eggs, table and cloth. Measuring 80cm / 31.5”. Courtesy of the Artist

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Outside In (2019). Acrylic on paper. Measuring 105 x 75 cm. Courtesy of the Artist.


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Inside Out (2019). Acrylic on paper. Measuring 105 x 75 cm. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Portrait of Danau Tanu. Courtesy of Artist. Available via: Danau, an anthropologist, began by pointing out an underlying tension surrounding the use of the term “TCK,” between a desire to be inclusive of other experiences—a wider circle that includes other “cross-cultural kids” (CCKs), so named by Dr. Ruth Van Reken, co-author of Third Culture Kids—and the desire to clearly define the boundaries of what constitutes a “Third Culture Kid,” especially when it comes to research.

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GROWING UP IN TRANSIT: The Politics of Belonging at an International School (2017). Available via:

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Pictured: Dr. Anisha Abraham Sourced via Dr. Anisha Abraham Courtesy of Dr. Anisha Abraham

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Pictured: Dr. Anisha Abraham and family Sourced via ‘Raising Global Teens: A Practical Handbook for Parenting in the 21st Century’ eBook via Amazon Kindle Store Photographed by MmmBetty Photographers Courtesy of Dr. Anisha Abraham

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Portrait of Shannyce Adamson. Available via: reinventing-the-clothes-hanger

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Choose. your Words. Image Credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash. Available via: As seen on Medium (2019): my-few-words-3cad9b1295d1


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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Radiant Brilliance (2018). Mixed Media. Measuring 16cm x 20cm. Courtesy of the Artist

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Portrait of Yusef Abdul Jaleel. Courtesy of the Artist

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All Smiles (2018). Mixed Media. Measuring 16cm x 20cm. Courtesy of the Artist

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Sisters (2018). Mixed Media. Measuring 16cm x 20cm. Courtesy of the Artist

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Reflections at Fajr (2018). Mixed Media. Measuring 16cm x 20cm. Courtesy of the Artist

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Ibtihaj (2018). Mixed Media. Courtesy of the artist.

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Image of Usha Natarajan, Assoc. Prof. American University, Cairo. Available via: global-south-visiting-scholar-usha-natarajan

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Image of Ibrahim Awad, Prof. American University, Cairo. Available via:


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Ethiopian migrants waiting to cross over to Saudi Arabia in the town of Haradh, Yemen, March 16, 2012. Khaled Abdullah/Reuters. Available via: of,percent%20from%20North%20to%20South

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Fatou Kine works on a customer’s order on a sewing machine purchased with money from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in her shop in Guediawaye, Senegal April 16, 2018. Mikal McAllister_Reuters. Available via: the-global-souths-new-migration/

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Pictured: Amy Jung Courtesy of Amy Jung

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Pictured: The cultures of Third Culture Kids can contrast as starkly as Norwegian lace and vibrant Ghanaian kente cloth. Courtesy of Amy Jung


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Portrait of Shireen Taweel. Courtesy of the Artist.

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The Call (2019). Courtesy of Shireen Taweel.

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Tracing Transcendence (2018). Courtesy of Shireen Taweel.

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Portrait of Naima Sutton. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Flight Plan (2020) Flight plan by Naima Sutton, using Trip Happy -

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Portrait of Shazia Sikander. Image Credit: Courtesy of Matthias_Ziegler. Available via:

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Perennial Gaze (2018) Courtesy of the Artist

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Entangled (2001) Courtesy of the Artist

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Photo Essay. Courtesy of Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

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Pictured: Line Sidonie Talla Mafotsing Sourced via Courtesy of Line Sidonie Talla Mafotsing

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Portrait of Kana Higashino. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Hello Kitty Nation (Image 1) Courtesy of Kana Higashino

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Hello Kitty Nation (Image 2) Courtesy of Kana Higashino


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Portrait of Hope Cunningham. Courtesy of the Artist.

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Untitled_22012020_173819_003 Courtesy of Hope Cunningham

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Untitled_22012020_173819_002 Courtesy of Hope Cunningham

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Untitled_22012020_173819_004 Courtesy of Hope Cunningham

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Untitled_22012020_173819 Courtesy of Hope Cunningham

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Portrait of Valerie Wong Portrait by Chris Mei Photography

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Image of Willow Bascom. Courtesy of the Artist. Available via:

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Scheherazade’s The Heathcock and the Tortoise. Courtesy of the Artist Available via:

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Kurma, Vishnu’s Second Incarnation (u.d.). Courtesy of the Artist Available via:

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Tortoise and the Leopard (u.d.). Courtesy of the Artist Available via:

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Visions of Discovery (u.d.). Courtesy of the Artista Available via:

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No Place Like Home. Courtesy of the Artista Available via:


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Passport (Collage). Courtesy of the Artist. Available via:

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Image of Aiysha Jahan. Courtesy of the Author.

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Third Culture Stories Podcast (Logo), courtesy of Danau Tanu Design by Karen Tan of ThinkImpact Sourced via third-culture-stories-a-podcast-by-tcks-of-asia/ Third Culture Stories Podcast (Logo)

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Portrait of Gayle Chong Kwan in her studio. Credit Georgia Kuhn. Courtesy of the Artist

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Wastescape (u.d.). Credit Linda Nylind. Courtesy of the Artist

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The People’s Forest (2018). Courtesy of the Artist

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Black Leia (Middle) (u.d.). Mixed Media. Measuring 40cm x 90cm. Courtesy of the Artist


KEY TERMS. Abandonment

The action or fact of abandoning or being abandoned.

Academic [in] Exile

Academy [in] Exile defines scholars who are threatened in their home countries because of their academic work and/or civic engagement in human rights, democracy, and the pursuit of academic freedom.

Acculturation Process

Acculturation is a process of social, psychological, and cultural change that stems from the balancing of two cultures while adapting to the prevailing culture of the society. Acculturation is a process in which an individual adopts, acquires and adjusts to a new cultural environment as a result of extended contact between differing cultures. According to John Berry’s (1994; 2001) model, the Acculturation process has four differing strategies: Integration, Assimilation, Separation, and Marginalisation.

Aggregate Race

An aggregate race usually means that it is made up of all different aspects of race and background. This means that different things that make up one type of people come together and create a different type.

Assimilation (Cultural)

Cultural assimilation is the process in which a minority group or culture comes to resemble a dominant group or assume the values, behaviors, and beliefs of another group.

ATCK, also known as Adult Third Culture Kid

ATCK or ‘Adult TCKs’ or ‘Adult Third Culture Kids’ are TCK’s who are now adults. It is commonly reported that many suffer difficulties with adjusting to adult life and challenges in developing an identity as well as with a sense of belonging. Feelings of rootlessness and restlessness can make the transition to adulthood a challenging period for TCKs.

Behavioural development

Behavioural development is an essential survival tool, whereby experience modifies the way we interact with our environment. Over a lifetime, brain biology, behaviour and environment interact and influence each other to determine an individual's overall development.

Beyond Borders

The phrase, ‘Beyond Borders’ refers to the existence of a global community and the challenges that await which must have dynamic agents of change working throughout society who have been trained to wield a variety of skills with purpose and vision.



Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.

Border management

The control and security of the border, effectively controlling who legally comes in and out and prevent any illegal immigrants or substances coming in.


A line separating two countries, administrative divisions, or other areas

Business Brat

A synonym for a Corporate Kid, though some prefer instead to simply be called TCKs or Global Nomads. The child of a business employee or executive who is living in, or has lived overseas in a foreign culture. Though all children of businessmen and businesswomen could be called by this name, this term especially refers for those who have lived overseas.

Circular migration

The repetitive movement of a migrant worker back and forth between home and host areas.


A citizen is a legally recognised subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalised. Citizenship, therefore, is the status of a person recognised under the custom or law of a sovereign state as a member of or belonging to the state.


Being a citizen of a particular country.


Groups of people who live in the same area, or that have particular characteristics and attributes in common.

Corporate Kid

See ‘Business Brat’ descriptor.

Counter Culture

A counterculture is a culture and/or lifestyle of a group of people whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially (reject or oppose at variance) from the prevailing social norm often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. A countercultural movement expresses the ethos and aspirations of a specific population during a well-defined era.


Cross-Cultural Kid

A Cross-Cultural Kid is a person who has lived in or meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during their first 18 years. TCKs are a sub-group of this overarching definition of people who live cross-cultural lives. Other subgroups include children of bi-racial or bi-national parents, children of immigrants and refugees, children who cross cultures daily to attend schools of another culture and even children of minorities.


The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society

Cultural Broker

The term ‘cultural broker’ is not particularly defined in the literature but is defined through common usage as a person who facilitates the border crossing of another person or group of people from one culture to another; the act of bridging, linking or mediating between groups or persons of differing cultural backgrounds for the purpose of reducing conflict or producing change’ (Jezewski, in Jezewski & Sotnik, 2001).

Cultural Chameleon

The term ‘culture chameleon’ characterises an individual who blends in and can integrate well with other cultures, and has adaptive skills to thrive in cross-cultural situations. The term is being increasingly used to describe TCK’s due to their high-mobility status in which they learn to thrive in new cultures.

Cultural Imposition

Cultural imposition is the tendency of a person or group to impose their values and patterns of behaviour onto other persons, satisfying their belief that their cultural values and beliefs should be dominant.

Cultural Homelessness (CH)

Individuals who do not experience this same smooth transition into the new culture are referred to as ‘culturally rootless’ and ‘cultural homelessness’ Culturally homeless (CH) individuals often experience confusion over their identity and especially because the TCK is frequently abroad during the adolescent development years when identity is most solidified psychologically.


Cultural Jet-Lag

The expression cultural jet-lag was coined by Marc Perraud during his research into cross-cultural psychology as the phenomenon of partial socialisation in adults born from bi-cultural/national unions and whose childhood was characterised by nomadic displacement during key personality developmental stages. Cultural jet lag refers to the feeling of disconnect that Third Culture Kids (TCKs), as they have now become known, experience in relation to any culture, including the ones from which they stem. This disconnect, also present in adult third culture kids (ATCKs), applies to all the cultures to which they are/were exposed, whether it be their parents’ cultures or those to which they were exposed during their upbringing through international travel.

Culture Shock

Culture shock is an experience a person may have after they moves to a cultural environment which is different from one’s own; it is also the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, a move between social environments, or simply transition to another type of life. One of the most common causes of culture shock involves individuals in a foreign environment. Culture shock can be described as consisting of at least one of four distinct phases: honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment, and adaptation. There is no true way to entirely prevent culture shock, as individuals in any society are personally affected by cultural contrasts differently.

Cultural Tolerance

Cultural tolerance is understood to be one's ability to withstand, respect and tolerate a particular culture, belief and it's practices.


A form of government, tied strongly to Ancient Greek political systems, wherein Citizens of a state elect representatives to govern them and potentially have the power to remove such representatives from their position.


Factors and statistical data of a population.

Developmental years

The first five years are especially crucial for physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development. Keep your child’s personality and age in mind when looking for child care experiences and activities. The following pages provide insight into a child’s developmental stages from birth through fourteen years.


Scattered population whose origin lies within a smaller geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland.



Force (someone) to leave their home, typically because of war, persecution, or natural disaster


The act of being displaced and/or the condition of having been displaced.

Dual Citizenship

When a person is regarded as a national of more than one state.


In general terms, consists of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and North Korea; sometimes, Mongolia and Vietnam are included in the definition.


The term emigrant is often used in reference to the country moved from through the act of emigration; with an emphasis on leaving.


When an individual leave’s their own country to permanently reside in another.


A group of nations or peoples ruled over by a supreme power in governing; imperial power; sovereignty. Usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom.


Relating to a population subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group) with a common national or cultural tradition.


A group of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared historical, social, cultural experiences, ancestry which distinguish them from other groups.


An abbreviated term for an Expatriate.


‘Expat’ is an abbreviated term for an Expatriate. An expatriate or ‘Expat’ is a term given to a person residing in a country other than their native country. In common usage, the term often refers to professionals, skilled workers, or artists taking positions outside their home. Note that this term, in some instances, should not be conflated with patriotism, which is an entirely different concept. Some expatriates feel extremely patriotic upon returning to their homeland, while others may feel disenfranchised and disappointed. When that person returns to the home culture, he or she is called a ‘repatriate’ or ‘repat.’


Expatriate Lifecycle

The entire process of expatriation and repatriation. Ideally, this involves the assessment and selection of the overseas candidate, pre-departure training, the overseas experience, preparing for reentry, reentry (hopefully leading to adjustment), and perhaps preparation for subsequent overseas assignments.


The state of having no protection from something harmful.

Facilitated migration Where migration is encouraged and made easier, through methods such as streamlined visa processing. Feelers

Feelers are people who make decisions in a somewhat global, visceral, harmonious and value-oriented way, paying particular attention to the impact of decisions and actions on other people. Feelers prefer the more subjective, values-based reasoning.


‘Flexpatriates’ are short-term assignees and international commuters), also known as ‘Global Trotters’ or person(s) who travel between countries, and hold visas of different countries.


Acronym for ‘Fresh of the Boat’ and refers to new immigrants to a country (mostly Western). A phrase first coined in New Zealand in the early 90’s by Polynesians to differentiate new arrivals (immigrants) from the old country (Tonga, Samoa, etc) from those with a Western upbringing. Now commonly used to describe any person new to a country, who is not well versed with its language or culture (mainly Western). Can be taken as an insult, or a term of endearment (eg; pride of culture).

Forced migration

A term that usually refers to refugees and civilians whom have been displaced by some kind of disaster.

Freedom of movement

An individual's right to travel within a state or outside of a state, and still return to it.


The process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

Global Majority

The term ‘People of the Global Majority’ has been adopted by many people to describe the majority of the world who consider themselves non-white. The term ‘global majority’ is empowering as it unites people from all corners of the world that are struggling against white oppression.


Global Nomad

One who grows up in a country (or countries) other than their passport country. This term implies an internationally transient childhood.

Global or ‘World’ Heritage

Heritage implies ownership and yet in the modern world multiple communities feel they have a stake in the past. ‘World Heritage’ is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such will be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Global or ‘World’ Citizen (Cosmopolitanism), also known as ‘International Nomadism’

Global Citizenship is the idea that an individual’s identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: ‘humanity’. This does not mean that individuals who define themselves as global Citizens renounce their nationality or other, more local identities, but that such identities are made ‘second place’ to their membership in a global community. It recognises a way of living that recognises our world is an increasingly complex web of connections and interdependencies. One in which our choices and actions may have repercussions for people and communities locally, nationally or internationally.

Global Worker Mobility

The movement of individuals across national, regional, cultural, or linguistic boundaries has been referred to as ‘global mobility.’ Theory attempts to address these movements of globally mobile individuals ranging from business expatriates to more recently identified groups such as self-initiated expatriates, international business travelers, international commuters, and ‘flexpatriates’ (short-term assignees and international commuters). Traditionally, this has been described in terms of push and pull forces that drive migrant workers and immigrant laborers toward more developed countries. However, not all labor mobility is outward movement toward more advanced economies. An increasing number of individuals move to less developed countries to provide new expertise or return their expertise to their country of origin. This includes a return movement or repatriation of internationally relocated individuals such as immigrants, refugees, sojourners, retirees, military personnel, international students, or other expatriates. Such movements of people may influence interstate relationships concerning politics, economics and culture. Thus, global workforce mobility research is relevant to both host and home country policies. From a focus on longer-term and assigned expatriation, current research is focusing on the drivers and dynamics of a range of new alternative forms of global mobility in the workforce.


Something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition. Additionally something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth.


Home Culture

The culture with which one feels the strongest affinity. This may be the culture of one’s birth, passport, or a culture in which one has lived, as all three of these places may be different for a TCK.

Hidden Immigrant

When a person looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture but thinks and acts differently from it. This can be a very uncomfortable situation because when a person looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture, there are certain assumptions and expectations that are placed on him or her. Even a student from another country who looks and sounds like the dominant surrounding culture will be placed in this category and does not have the usual grace that would be extended to a foreigner who makes a cultural mistake.

Home or ‘Passport’ Culture

The term ‘Passport Culture’ is often used synonymously with ‘home culture’ and is a signifier for the country stamped on the person’s passport regardless of how much time they have spent in another country/culture. Ruth Hill-Useem referred to the ‘first culture’ as that being the passport or home culture.

Host Culture

The foreign culture in which one lives while they are not in their own home culture.


The characteristics determining who or what a person is

Identity crisis

Coined by German psychologist Erik Erikson, an identity crisis is the failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence. During this stage of development, adolescents experience a period of psychosocial conflict and/or distress about their social role (inclusive of personal values and beliefs) and often a sense of loss of continuity to one’s personality which, in some cases, endurs into adulthood. It is believed that identity disorientation is, in some instances, a result of growing up under disruptive, fast-changing conflicting internal and external experiences, pressures, and expectations producing acute anxiety.


The term immigrant is often used (in a pejorative way) to describe a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country; with emphasis on entering a country.

Immigrant Expat

Immigrant Expat to refer to families who experienced both immigration and subsequent expatriation. These families are connected to the parents’ original culture, the naturalised passport country, and the culture(s) they live in as expatriates.



The permanent movement of a person or people from one country to another.


Indigenous populations are communities that live within, or are attached to, geographically distinct traditional habitats or ancestral territories, and who identify themselves as being part of a distinct cultural group, descended from groups present in the area before modern states and colonial contact.

Internally Displaced "Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to Person (IDP) leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border” Not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something. International

International is an adjective meaning ‘between nations’. The term ‘international’ has a smaller scope encompassing only two or more countries while’“global, on the other hand, has a much larger scope which includes the whole world. Although they are sometimes used in lieu of each other, ‘global’ means ‘all-encompassing and worldwide’ while ‘international’ means ‘foreign or multinational.

International Bubble A community made up of internationals. It becomes a bubble when people choose not to interact and therefore connect with others outside that community. It is sometimes referred to as an ‘international ghetto’. International minimum standards

The minimum standard of treatment which states must uphold when dealing with foreign nationals and their belongings.

Interstitial or Liminal Space

Interstitial defines a world between worlds.

Irregular migration

Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular migration.


Liminality (Cultural)

Introduced into Anthropological discourse in1909 by Arnold Van Gennep, liminality is the quality of ambiguity or the feeling of disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. Thus, cultural liminality characterises a transitory, in-between state that migrants progress through through the passage of travel: separation, liminal period (transition) and reassimilation. To find out more, visit:

Labour migration

Where an individual migrates to another country for employment purposes.


The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.

Marginality (Cultural)

Cultural marginality is defined as ‘situations and feelings of passive betweenness, when people exist between two different cultures and do not yet perceive themselves as centrally belonging to either one’ in the context of immigrant adolescents’ experiences. Marginal living is viewed as a process of being in between two cultures with emphasis on being in transition rather than being on the periphery of one culture. Across-culture conflict recognition is a beginning understanding of differences between two contradicting cultural values, customs, behaviors, and norms. Easing cultural tension resolves across-culture conflict. The factors influencing the process of across-culture conflict recognition, marginal living, and easing cultural tensions are described as contextual/personal influences.

Marginality (Encapsulated)

Janet Bennett conceptualised the term cultural marginality as encompassing two outcomes: encapsulated marginality and constructive marginality (Bennett 1993). Encapsulated marginality, according to Bennett’s framework, is indicative of loneliness, alienation, self-segregation, and internal distress. She identifies ‘the degree of similarity between internalised cultures as a factor in the intensity of disintegration for the encapsulated marginal’ (ibid. p.114). Thus, the more vastly different two cultures are from one another, the more prone an individual is to ‘internal culture shock’ (ibid. p.112). Bennett continues to describe the internal struggles within the encapsulated marginal, maintaining that this could be escalated by the opposing views between the two cultural groups. At times, the original culture may accuse the individual of rejecting his or her roots or beliefs of origin, and conforming to the mainstream (McCaig, 2002).


Marginality (Encapsulated) cont.

At the same time, the second culture may be pressuring the individual to abide by their conception of norms and values, in order to be accepted into their group (ibid.). This state of cultural conflict may leave the encapsulated marginal to feel culturally homeless, without a peer group to provide a sense of belonging, resulting in what Bennett termed ‘terminal uniqueness.’ The conflicting pressures of establishing one’s identity, belief system, and goals remain a constrained effort to the encapsulated marginal and coincide with high levels of distress (ibid.).

Marginality (Constructive)

The second type of marginality, according to Bennett, is a person who takes an active role in consciously constructing his or her identity (Bennett 1993). This type of individual, termed the constructive marginal, is said to move or shift effortlessly between cultural identities and create an ‘integrated multicultural existence’ (McCaig 2000: 13). Bennett emphasised the ‘self-differentiation’ and assumption of ‘personal responsibility’ in making life choices, aiding in the ability to shift frames of cultural reference with ease. Within her framework, she suggests that the ideal situation is one in which people look to their own self-reference and awareness for their identity, as opposed to the established definitions provided by singular cultures (Bennett 1993). Similarly, Yoshikawa (1987) believed in the integration of eastern and western perspectives in which an individual thrives in between two cultures, discovering the most about himself/herself because he or she is living without the constraints of established cultural confines. It is the belief of both Bennett and Yoshikawa, that from this marginal place, one is able to exhibit the utmost in ‘intercultural sensitivity’ (Bennett 1993; Yoshikawa 1987).

Mass academic mobility

Refers to students and teachers in higher education moving to another institution inside or outside their own country to study or teach for a limited time. In some cases is it chosen for positive reasons, usually by young students with no family commitments.


The term migrant is often used to describe someone who moves temporarily to a new country; with emphasis on the action of moving between.


The movement of a person or people to a new area or country.

Migration (Existential)

Existential migration is a term coined by Greg Madison (2006) which describes expatriates (voluntary emigrants) who supposedly have an existential motivation, unlike economic migration, simple wanderlust, exile, or variations of forced migration. ‘Existential migration’ is conceived as a chosen attempt to express something fundamental about existence by leaving one’s homeland and becoming a foreigner.


Military Brat (MB)

The son or daughter of a military personnel.


A small group of people within a community or country, differing from the main population in race, religion, language, or political persuasion.

Mixed Race

Denoting or relating to a person whose parents belong to different racial or ethnic groups.


The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.


Of, or relating to, or including several ethnic groups.


Relating to people of many/multiple races.


Of, relating to, or including several ethnic groups.


Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world’s population.


Relating to people of many/multiple races.


Relating to or characteristic of a nation, rather than to part of it or to other nations.


The nation an individual belongs to.


A person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, whether subsequently resident there or not.


The process in which a non-national in a country can acquire nationality of that country.


A nomad is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads (owning livestock), and tinkers or trader nomads. In the twentieth century, the population of nomadic pastoral tribes slowly decreased, reaching an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world as of 1995. Sometimes also described as ‘nomadic’ are the various itinerant populations who move among densely populated areas to offer specialised services (crafts or trades) to their residents — external consultants, for example. These groups are known as ‘peripatetic nomads’.



Normlessness denotes the situation in which the social norms regulating individual conduct have broken down or are no longer effective as rules for behaviour. This aspect refers to the inability to identify with the dominant values of society or rather, with what are perceived to be the dominant values of society.

Orderly migration

Migration that adheres to the rules of the state which the individual has exited and the state in which they’re migrating to.

‘Parents of TCKs’ or PTCK

PTCKs who have not themselves been TCKs face a formidable task. But while PTCKs who have themselves been TCKs have memories and may have greater insights, they sometimes block out the difficulties they experienced. As a result, they are not always as adept in helping their TCK children as one might expect.

Peripatetic Nomads

Peripatetic nomads offer the skills of a craft or trade to the settled populations among whom they travel. They are the most common remaining nomadic peoples in industrialized nations. Most peripatetic nomads have traditions that they originate from South Asia.

Political climate

The aggregate mood or opinions of a population about current political issues that affect said population in some way

Political migrants

People unable to return home due to well founded fears of being persecuted and unlikely to receive protection from government

Pull Factors

Factors that attract people to a location.

Push Factors

Factors that drive people away from a location.

Push-pull factors

Factors that cause people to migrate, either through attraction or by pushing them away.


A socially constructed system of classification of the human population into distinct, unequal, discontinuous groups, based, from the 17th century onwards, on physical features and ancestry. Though the concept existed long before this time, in many different forms, it was used by European scholars, scientist, merchants and nobility to legitimise and justify their genocide and dispossession of the peoples of America and enslavement of Sub-Saharan Africans.


Relating to race


Receiving country

Country of destination or a third country. In the case of return or repatriation, also the country of origin. Country that has accepted to receive a certain number of refugees and migrants on a yearly basis by presidential, ministerial or parliamentary decision


Relocation is the process of one or more individuals leaving one dwelling and settling in another. A move can be to a nearby location within the same neighborhood, a much farther location in a different city, or sometimes a different country.

Repatriate or Repatriation

The personal right of a refugee, prisoner of war or a civil detainee to return to his or her country of nationality under specific conditions laid down in various international instruments (Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Protocols, 1977, the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention, 1907, human rights instruments as well as customary international law) A ‘repatriate’ or ‘repat is an individual who has been, or is in the process of being repatriated, returning to their own home culture after living in a foreign culture as an expatriate. This is frequently one of the most difficult periods of the expatriate life-cycle.


The return of someone to their own country. the sending of money back to one's own country.


A remittance is a transfer of money, often by a foreign worker to an individual in their home country. Money sent home by migrants competes with international aid as one of the largest financial inflows to developing countries.


Rootlessness is at the core of restlessness. It is a migratory instinct that can take control of a global nomad’s life. We often see it as early as adolescence when the TCK keeps changing his major over and over again, or changes schools, never being able to settle down.

Returned Immigrant Expats

Returned Immigrant Expats are individuals whose families who returned to the parents’ original country, but now with foreign Citizenship.

Reverse Cultural Shock

Reverse Culture Shock is a term used to describe the emotional and psychological distress suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.


Rights-Based Approach to Mobility

A ‘Human Rights Based Approach’ is about empowering people to know and claim their rights and increasing the ability and accountability of individuals and institutions who are responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights. As a result, all peoples are better able to fifil high-mobility lifestyles for both work and/or pleasure.

Rootlessness (Cultural)

The term rootlessness characterises the condition of ‘having no roots’, or ‘having no basis of (cultural) stability, resulting from geographic economic and social change that is felt by some to be at the core of the Third Culture Kid experience in the loss of their ethno-cultural root/identity (a psychological and socio-cultural caricature).

Scientific Racism

Propaganda with the veneer of science which was fabricated to support a racist paradigm.

Second Culture

The term ‘second culture’ refers to the culture in which the family currently resides that differs from the home or ‘passport’ culture of individuals living high-mobility lifestyles. Second culture acquisition, is often felt to be an integral aspect of the acculturation process, and characterises the adjustment of the immigrant to the dominant culture they now reside in.


Another view of culture shock in its relation to an identity crisis is to see it in terms of ‘self-shock’ or the omnipresent strain or pressure between the individual’s own internal sense of self, and the environment around him (Kim 1996: 355). Although often thought of in extreme terms, this ‘culture shock’ can be felt on many levels (Bochner 2003).

Social Alienation

Social alienation is ‘a condition in social relationships reflected by a low degree of integration or common values and a high degree of distance or isolation between individuals, or between an individual and a group of people in a community or work environment’.

Social Connectedness

Social connection is the experience of feeling close and connected (and subjective psychological bond) to others. It involves feeling loved, cared for, and valued, and forms the basis of interpersonal relationships to individuals and groups of people.


This Hebrew term and its translation convey the basic idea that a person (or group) is residing, either temporarily or permanently, in a community and place that is not primarily their own and is dependent on the ‘good-will’ of that community for their continued existence.



In international law, a stateless person is someone who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law’. As an example, some stateless people are also refugees, however, not all refugees are stateless, and many people who are stateless have never crossed an international border. In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have the nationality of any country.


A ‘subculture’ is a group of people who may accept much of the dominant culture but are set apart from it by one or more culturally significant characteristics.


A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.


a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.

TCK Identity Development

The process TCKs go through in the search for congruence in the sense of who they are. Dr. Barbara Schaetti developed a TCK identity development model (adapted in part from William E. Cross Jr.’s seminal research on identity development) and defines the term ‘identity’ as ‘simply the sense of who each of us is’. Dr. Schaetti’s model describes five stages the TCK goes through in their search for congruence in the sense of who they are: (1) Preencounter, (2) Encounter, (3) Exploration, (4) Integration, and (5) Recycling.

Terminal Uniqueness or ‘Personal Exceptionalism’

Terminal uniqueness is the false belief that some hold in which the individual believes that their experiences are unlike anyone else and therefore others would be unable to relate. As an example: A TCK may feel that they are different from others, but does not understand that it is their international living experiences that make them different; They know they are different but cannot understand why. For more information, please visit: the-global-nomads-guide-to-university-transition/glossary/

Third Culture

The community of people who share the experience of living outside their passport cultures and are in the process of relating to another culture. Another way of expressing it is the expatriate culture. and although not widely agreed upon by the TCK community, some sources refer to the third culture as the amalgamation of these two to create a third ‘unique’ culture.


Third-Wave Immigrant

The Third Wave (circa 1850-1930), brought over 20-25 million European immigrants to the United States, at an average of 650,000 a year at a time when the United States had 75 million residents. Third-wave European immigration was slowed first by World War I and then by numerical quotas in the 1920s. Immigrants in this period mainly came from Southern and Eastern Europe from territories such as Italy, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia, and Baltic nations) and Far East Asia.


Transient is also used to describe a person who moves from place to place, signifying a state of (theoretical) homeless. This term is applied to a person with no ‘fixed’ address or a person passing through one state into another state, and who stays in a place for only a short time before going somewhere else, and in high-ile lifestyles characterise seasonal labourers.

Transnational Activists

On occasion, some transnational migrants can, and in some cases are, more focused on their countries of origin while at others they are more involved in their countries of reception. Similarly, they climb two different social ladders, moving up, remaining steady, or experiencing downward mobility, in various combinations, with respect to both sites. Together, they can transform the economy, culture, and everyday life of whole source-country regions. They challenge notions about gender relations, democracy, and what states should and should not do.

Transnational or ‘Transnationalism’

The transnational or ‘transnationalism’ defines the activity of travel ‘in-between’ or beyond national boundaries. When immigrants engage in transnational activities, they create ‘social fields’ that link their original country with their new country or countries of residence or eventual settlement. These social fields are the product of a series of interconnected and overlapping economic, political, and socio-cultural activities.

Transnational Citizenship

In terms of the categories of social and individual forms of belonging, transnational citizens are marked by multiple identities and allegiances, and often travel between two or more countries, all in which they have created sizable networks of differing functions. Similar to global or cosmopolitan Citizenship, it is composed of cross-national and multi-layered memberships to certain societies. Transnational Citizenship is based on the idea that a new global framework consistent of sub-groups of national identities will eventually replace membership to one sole nation-state.


Transnational Migrants or ‘Transnational Migration’

Transnational migration is then defined as ‘ process of movement and settlement across international borders in which individuals maintain or build multiple networks of connection to their country of origin while at the same time settling in a new country’ (Fouron & Glick-Schiller, 2001, p. 60). Transnational migrants work, pray, and express their political interests in several contexts rather than in a single nation-state. These allegiances are not antithetical to one another.

Transnational Migrants Perspective

Transnational migration is not new. In the early part of the 1900s, European immigrants also returned to live in their home countries or remained active in the political and economic affairs of their homelands from their posts in America. However, the ease of transportation and communication, meant that migrants are inserted into the labor market, sending-states’ increasing dependence on remittances, and the policies they put in place to encourage migrants’ enduring long-distance nationalism. Moreover, not all migrants are transnational migrants, and not all who take part in transnational practices do so all the time.

Transition Cycle

Five very predictable stages of any life transition. David Pollock’s model of the transition cycle includes the (1) Involvement stage, (2) Leaving stage, (3) Transition stage, (4) Entering stage and (5) Re-involvement stage.

Transition or ‘Culture’ Shock

Culture shock that is experienced whether you are expatriating or repatriating.


An official document that allows an individual to enter, leave or stay in a country for a period of time.




International Family Transitions (Success and Adventure in Transition) internationalfamily transitions.comt

International Family Transitions (IFT) is a comprehensive service that specializes in helping: (1) students who have been living outside their passport countries (Third Culture Kids) successfully manage their transition to college / university whether they are returning to their home country or going on to another host country and (2) foreign nationals who plan to study in the U.S. whether it is for some or all of their high school years and/or university. IFT also provides resources to those who support TCKs and other international students on the receiving end.

TCK International

Interaction International collaborates and networks to provide a quality flow of care for thet global TCK community; this is accomplished by a worldwide strategy of developing services and resources, providing curriculum and training, and advocating for the needs and potential of TCKs.

Families in Global Transition

Families in Global Transition is a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them. We promote crosssector connections for sharing research and developing best practices that support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world.


TCKid Community – a forum where you can connect and communicate with TCKid’s around the world. TCKid is a active global community of Third Culture Kid (TCK) adults and youth across geographical boundaries. TCKid is a non-profit organisation that serves the community of third culture kid (TCK) and cross culture kid (CCK) adults and youth across geographical boundaries. We also serve to inform the non-TCK and non-CCK, general public and those who serve this community. TCKid’s mission is to increase and support the individual and general awareness of the TCK experience and unique gifts by facilitating connection and community engagement.


Tales from a Small Planet

Tales from a Small Planet, Inc. (Tales) is a 501(c)(3) organisation with a volunteer Board and a small team of volunteer editors and social media and marketing specialists. Most of our volunteers are part of the U.S. Foreign Service community. Tales collects and publishes honest, unbiased information, in the form of post reports, school reports, and personal essays from volunteer contributors, about “what it’s really like to live there” in hundreds of cities and countries around the world.

US Department of State: Education & Youth: Bouncing Back Transition and Reentry Planning for the Parents of Foreign Service youth family-liaison-office/ education-and-youth/ bouncing-backtransition-and-reentry-planning-for-theparents-of-foreignservice-youth/

Bouncing Back is the revised, abbreviated edition of According to My Passport I’m Coming Home. First published by the Family Liaison Office (FLO) in 1998, this was the first internal State Department publication that addressed, in detail, the challenges internationally mobile Foreign Service youth face when transitioning back to the U.S. The original publication identified many of the areas of concern for both parents and youth. I­ n creating Bouncing Back, FLO’s Education and Youth team incorporated excerpts from the original publication, updated the content, and focused on how parents can help their Foreign Service child make a smooth and healthy transition “home.” Bouncing Back identifies general issues relating to certain age groups. However, children may also exhibit behaviors that are not stereotypical of their age. Bouncing Back, encourages parents to create an environment of support, trust, and understanding in their family. Building a strong family foundation can help a Third Culture Kid (TCK) transition “home” more comfortably.

Foreign Youth Foundation Service

Established in 1989, the Foreign Service Youth Foundation is the only nonprofit organisation dedicated exclusively to the support of children of employees of the US foreign affairs agencies. Growing up in the Foreign Service can be challenging for our youth. Through publications, outreach, workshops and regular family events, we help young people adapt to their changing environments, as they transition between posts worldwide. We strive to help Foreign Service Youth embrace the adventure by: encouraging resilience, fostering camaraderie, and celebrating achievements. The Foreign Service Youth Foundation is dedicated to helping the youth of the American diplomatic service. This site has numerous links to websites that support the internationally mobile family.


Resillency in Action: The Resiliency Quiz, developed by Nan Henderson, M.S.W.

The Resiliency Quiz. by Nan Henderson, M.S.W. I developed this quiz for anyone—teens, adults, elders—to assess and strengthen the resiliency building conditions in their lives.

www.resiliency. com/free-articlesresources/ the-resiliency-quiz/ (RNG) Interbational Education Consultants third-culture-kids/

The mission of RNG International Educational Consultants, LLC is to transform lives and provide innovative solutions through expert educational advice for students and families around the world. RNG International Educational Consultants works with individual students and families on any and all educational issues facing internationally mobile young people as well as international students. This includes individualized college admissions counseling, choosing appropriate boarding schools, identification of resources for children with special needs, selecting the right international schools, and transition and resilience issues for Third Culture Kids. The guiding philosophy is that making the right educational choice is based on knowing and understanding individual student needs.

Bristol SU: Third Culture Kid Society uk/groups/the-thirdculture-kid-society Facebook Page: bristoltck

This is a social society created to meet, connect and share unforgettable experiences with others, where a confusing mix of cultures are celebrated not categorised. It is going to be open to anyone and everyone interested in spending time in an international environment!

EuroTCK links/

EuroTCK is part of the European Evangelical Mission Association and has close links with the European Member Care. EuroTCK is a network of various national TCK groups across Europe and also organisations that provide services and support for TCKs. The list below is various links to TCK material and support systems.


Global Connections:Third Culture Kids Forum www. globalconnections.

The forum’s main focus is to help and encourage the support, care, education and training of TCKs. Recent meetings have covered: Debriefing Families, and ‘Raising children in restricted societies’. It also provides advice on many areas, such as access to education and settling back into the UK. The forum is also closely linked to the European TCK Network


The Global Multicultural Lifestyle network is dedicated to embracing liminal identity, uncovering hidden diversity, and celebrating cultural mobility through broadcast, print, and web media.

Family Lives: www.familylives. secondary/healthand-development/ talking-to-your-childabout-culture/

Families should have access to active support and understanding. We build better family lives together. Family Lives was formally registered as a charity in 1999, and operated under the name of Parentline Plus. The parents that founded Parentline believed that there needed to be a dedicated organisation supporting parents, before they reached crisis point which could result in abuse. A merger in 1999 between the National Stepfamilies Association, Parentline and Parent Network built on the collective experience of these three charities, to provide a range of national and local services to support parents and families across the country.


PODCASTS. Podcasts


Up/Root the Podcast www.uprootthepodcast. com/podcasts

Up/Root is a podcast about identity, culture and global living.

Third culture podcast www.thirdculturepodcast. org

A podcast celebrating people who are from everywhere and belong nowhere. Hosted by Naima Sakande

TCK Tales open.spotify.comshow/ 1DZyp7ilMaNqPEHD2 fxgnR

Stories told by Third Culture Kids about both the adventures and realities of growing up cross culturally - on Spotify by XN Podcast Network

Diary of a Third Culture Kid podcast/anchor-podcasts/ diary-of-a-third-culture-kid

(Spotify) Samuel Flynn — written by and for TCK’s Welcome to Diary of a Third Culture Kid (TCK)! Every episode your host, Samuel, (a TCK himself) interviews people or shares his own stories and experiences that could only come from individuals that have moved and lived around the world. Get ready for unique discussions with fun topics for all.

Diary of a TCK

(Soundcloud) episode 1 by the Abwaan Led by Ayesha: a 25-year-old proud Pakistani and “Third Culture Kid” (TCK).

TCK: The Podcast Network

Third Culture Kids is about telling stories. Some of those stories are fact. Some are fiction. But regardless of their content Third Culture Kids is committed to the way humanity originally told stories - through voice. That’s why we’ve established a podcast network to support and promote a medium we just can’t get enough of. If books are the closest thing we’ll ever have to telepathy then podcasts are the second closest. There’s nothing quite like the voice of another to tell you a fascinating story. All podcasts are creator owned and produced.


The Culture Guy Podcast: Growing up as a black TCK in Germany us/podcast/podcastthe-culture-mastery/ id1014036988

Trevor Gillies talks about his experience with racism and ethnic inequality as a U.S. third-culture kid in Deutschland

TC Third Culture Podcast www.buzzsprout. com/638827/2183156

#7 Noorany Razbully - A TCK at heart: what it means to be Third Culture Noorany Razbully talks about being a third culture kid. Noorany was initially unsure if he was a TCK. We discuss what it is to be Third Culture and how it is an umbrella term that includes Third Culture Kids, Cross Cultural Individuals and those who share the same values and mindsets.

TC Third Culture Kids Podcast show/3D0vPA53 BAqFZeY2PZOffb

TC Third Culture Podcast - Harry Oram

Up/Root the Podcast podcast/lilly-bekelepiper/ uproot/e/59866151

Hear how six students navigate their global lives, questions of identity and make the most of being from everywhere and nowhere.

As Told By Nomads

This is the Australian podcast about all things Asian - what it’s like to live as a third culture kid in the great down under. Each episode we’ll bring you stories from Aussie Asians around a particular topic, and we’ll question, explore and celebrate what it means to be an Asian Australian.

Shoes Off

Welcome to a Podcast made by a Third Culture Kid (TCK), which will dive into discussions about culture, society and current events by focusing on personal experiences!

Cracking Cultural Conundrums

Welcome to a Podcast made by a Third Culture Kid (TCK), which will dive into discussions about culture, society and current events by focusing on personal experiences!


Squad Chat with Third Culture Kids

Welcome to Third Culture Kids page. We started off as a bunch of misfit freshmen, from here and there in a London based University. But we developed into something much more; A makeshift family. We found commonality in our status’ as TCK’s. Third Culture Kids are those who have had to learn to relate to another culture. Kids whose personal culture is a fusion of two or more cultures. Spread literally all over the world we as a squad epitomize this and every other week come together in a new episode to discuss, the latest happenings in our international and nomadic lives, news, pop culture, book suggestions as well as issues and topics relevant to TCK’s around the world. The SquadChat by the Third Culture Kids is a podcast mimicking our actual WhatsApp group of a similar name. Where conversation flows smoothly, laughs are had, and our relationships with each other and our status in the world are not only dissected but strengthened. Leading us to believe in the value of self-expression, self-love, and friendships without borders. TCKsquad gives you a chance to be a part of a global conversation and a part of our squad.

That Med Kid that-med-kid-2425557

6,000 miles away from home in Bangkok, Holly Dejsupa is just another third culture kid struggling through medical school. In class, she learns bizarre stuff like why the ER is busier on Valentine’s Day and why cheese can give you nightmares. Outside of class, she has cool conversations with much cooler people (“history-taking”, she calls it). Thus, THAT MED KID is a crockpot celebrating the weird and wonderful.

Mindful Expat, with Dana Nelson, Ph.D.

Mindful Expat is a weekly podcast show designed for those living abroad to provide you with weekly guideposts for emotional wellbeing and resilience in your international life and to help you make the most of your inner and outer journeys. Living abroad presents us with unique challenges, but also equally unique opportunities for personal growth and development. Psychologist and expat counselor, Dana Nelson, Ph.D., shares insights on emotional wellbeing for overseas adventurers and brings you interviews with experts on topics related to intercultural relationships, Third Culture Kids (TCKs), mindfulness, self-compassion, emotional resilience, self-care, and personal growth.

Growing up Worldly growing-up-worldly-apodcast-about-my-life-asa-tck/

A podcast about my life as a TCK by Megan Donnelly via Youth Compass


TheThirdCulture thethirdculture

We are Kelly H and Jessica B and we both grew up overseas! We are here to talk about the third culture and how that pertains to other women who grew up overseas!

Biz Bzar

Where the strange, pop culture, the third eye kids, and the world talk

Migrant Diaries migrant-diaries

Migrant Diaries is a podcast for engagement and conversation about various issues that affect individuals, as migrants, moving across the globe. The intersections of culture, outlooks on life, their experiences and other things that help them to navigate the world of migration.

Words in Transit words-in-transit

Western New England is home to immigrants and refugees from around the globe, and their presence revitalizes the region and redefines its culture. Their journeys have involved fear, uprootedness, and isolation as well as perseverance, creativity, and hope. New England Public Radio (NEPR), in collaboration with Copeland Colloquium at Amherst College produced Words in Transit, an oral history project collected the personal stories of nearly thirty people who have made this area their new home.


Third Culture Adult.

The Writing Game: Third The Writing Game examines different approaches to storytelling to see Culture Kids how they fit into the narrative design of video games.The Writing Game is produced and hosted by Gregory Pellechi for Third Culture Kids. podcast/the-writing-game/ id1349670897 Kiss My Ashes: 3rd Culture Kids podcast/kiss-my-ashes/ id1469950753?i= 1000444692219


Join us as we talk about all things life, the diaspora, bare jokes (and a lot of Akosua’s nonsense) - from the perspective of three women existing in an intersection of multiple cultures. It’s your girl Akosua from Ghana, Michelle from Zimbabwe and Ritual from Kenya, coming at you Live from Vancouver, Canada.

The Third Culture Podcast - by Third Culture Kidz gb/podcast/the-thirdculture-podcast /id1483429984

Welcome to The Third Culture Podcast Hosted by Terri, Omar, Shay and Frank where we discuss debate and share our opinions & views from a third culture kids’ perspective. Tune in to our eye-opening, and often entertaining, multi-cultural conversations on a variety of topics from Entertainment, Society, Technology, Trending News, Social Media and so much more.

Chit Talk by Rithu Jagannath gb/podcast/chit-talk/ id1474729113

College peers, turned coworkers and best friends, Rithu and Annika are your friendly neighbourhood girls from Vancouver, who come from very different walks of life and have called many countries, across the globe, their home. Growing up with an Indian, and Swedish / Singaporean Chinese heritage, they add a refreshing new twist on life, the universe, and everything in between! Together, they reveal their experiences and stories that have shaped them, as they try to figure out life all over again; from society and culture, to university and life after college. They’re not too sure where the road we call “life” is taking them, but they’re learning and evolving along the way. Just two friends chatting, having fun and shooting the sh*t.

Expat Hour by Austyn Smith gb/podcast/expat-hour/ id1465687129

On Expat Hour Podcast Austyn interviews expats living all over the world as they share their inspiring international stories, offer tips and resources for expats, and advise on how to find your expat community. Connect with people living in foreign countries and expand perspective while listening to these unique and insightful first hand perspectives. Stories of expat careers, expat teens, expat relationships, and everyday expat life provide intrigue for all ages and social groups

Raising Third Culture Kids podcast/raising-thirdculture-kids-5495

A podcast discussing raising children abroad, specifically, as thirdculture kids. TCKs are people raised in a culture different to that of their parents and the country named on their passport.

Her Royal Science

A new #podcast created to feature ethnic, gender, and social minorities in #STEM from around the world. Pioneered by Dr Asma Bashir (she/ her)


Third Culture Kid (n): Otherwise with Shado Twalale food

The Atlantic

How Will We Feed the New Global Middle Class? - The Atlantic Charles C. Mann


VIDEOS. Videos


Third Culture Kids: the impact of growing up ina globalised world, Ruth Van Reken watch?v=vrVWHfEQz6

A Third Culture Kids are those children who grow up in a culture that is different from his parents’ culture. The number of TCKs has increased as never before in History, and this is not without consequences. Ruth Van Reken shares her insight on the griefs and gains of being the Third Culture Kid.

Jennifer Huan spoke Finding the third culture kids watch?v=uetGNJigT24

In her talk, she will introduce the idea of "The Third Culture Kids" and share her thoughts and opinions about coming to a new environment as a kid. Jennifer is a senior at Mountain View High School. She spends her time practicing badminton and calligraphy with her friends, giving tours to transfer students as an Ambassador, and organizing school events within student government. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her two lovely cats. As a reclassified ELD student, she wants to promote cultural diversity in MVHS and let others hear the stories of ELD students.

Art Bites https://

Lebanese-Australian identity examined through art. "I never felt like I could be part of that artistic community, really purely because I never saw any representation from my own background."

Third Culture Kids - Diego Meneses watch?v=_o_r6FQVmxY

This talk is about the experience of a growing phenomenon -Third Culture Kids--from a 6th grader's perspective. It's about how they live and experience moving a lot. How they can lose lots of friends and meet new ones also. How parents should support them and give them all the love they need so they can have the best time in their new life. Diego was born in Mexico. He has lived in Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. He speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.


Third Culture Kids Growing Up Global (Short Documentary) watch?v=-X6iOwIjHdw

“This documentary has been made with passion and determination to give all those who struggle with their identities hope. Hope to find themselves. Hope to better understand who they are. No matter how lonely someone feels, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are other people feeling what you’re feeling somewhere in the world. It’s been a dream come true working on this project and we are very grateful for those who supported us.” - Ana Hummes Ota Where do I belong? What is my culture? Where will I end up? Where is home? These are some of the questions that weigh on the minds of our modern day ‘Third Culture Kids’ (TCKs). Students attending international schools around the world have faced the challenge of assimilating into unfamiliar environments, making new friends, and learning local customs. All of this sounds glamorous, but being a TCK has its challenges. This short documentary film highlights some of these challenges; it also sheds some light on the fact that if you are a TCK, you are not alone. The brainchild of a Mont’Kiara International School student, Ana Hummes Ota, Growing Up Global is a wonderfully balanced documentary that takes into account the lives a handful of students who recognize themselves as TCKs. Produced in collaboration with Mont’Kiara International School and a Portuguese journalist Madalena Augusto, it is a documentary that is bound to open the eyes of many viewers to the lives that these young global Citizens lead. Growing Up Global was premiered on Friday, August 30, 2019 at Mont’Kiara International School

Building Identity as a Third Culture Kid - Erik Vyhmeister watch?v=8RCmg MKJRy8

Erik Vyhmeister explains what it means to be a Third Culture Kid, and why this matters in an increasingly connected world. Having grown up across four continents, Erik Vyhmeister shares his experience as a Third Culture Kid both abroad and returning "home" to the United States.


What is it like to be a Third Culture Kid? watch?v=b5UM3U 2fpUA

Third Culture Kids: Being from More than One Country

My experience growing up as a third culture kid, and becoming a third culture adult. I grew up in Poland and Denmark, and for the past couple of years I have been living in Copenhagen, Bangkok, Shanghai and Paris, and I wanted to share with you my experience growing up in multicultural environment. My thoughts no what is it like to grow up in two different countries, move frequently, speak several languages ona a daily basis and have friends from all around the world. The good and the bad about being a third culture kid, and the constant struggle of feeling like you don't really belong anywhere. Any third culture kids out there?

I'm a Third Culture Kid. Let's talk about what that means! Whether you're one yourself and can relate, or are new to the phenomenon and would like to learn more about it, this video summarises the experience of having parents from two or more different countries. watch?v=nitpeK0louY Third Culture Kid? NO, no, no! Bridging Kids! - Yui Mikuriya watch?v=wKMU mqUFgNk

Being of Japanese heritage and spending most of her life living in France, Yui explores the struggle she has had in trying to feel like she belongs. She shares her insight in how to overcome feeling baseless or rootless, inspiring the audience with her venture to ensure her multiculturalism was a benefit to her and those around her. Yui is currently a Grade 11 student studying the IB Diploma at K. International School, Tokyo.

Third Culture Kids Documentary watch?v=Z5GmPea1fw4

EPQ documentary created on Third Culture Kids

Third-Culture Kids - A Short Film watch?v=ltZ-PrWj8w0

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In Between - TCK Documentary

“In between” is a 23 minutes documentary that explores the identity development of people who have grown up as third culture kids. Identity is our sense of who we are and guides our interests and our life choices. Moving between cultures affects the development of identity. Through the stories of 3 TCKs, the film investigates the often-overlooked effects on adults who had international upbringings. watch?v=IZ2L-wKLEMo


Third Culture Kids in Japan watch?v=LGDribNguu8

"Home is..." An Interview on Third Culture Kids

Identity is a difficult issue for anyone, but for 3rd culture kids it can be an even more fraught question. Questions like: "Where do I belong?" "Where am I accepted?" "Where is home?" can remain unanswered long into adulthood.Through the interviews from those both raised in Japan, and raised abroad, this video also explores how Japan is changing as a country, and a culture. It asks the question, is Japan drawing closer to becoming multicultural?

Student Final Project Video watch?v=YTpHQ6ecJp4 Hair Love watch?v=kNw8V_Fkw28

Sony Picture Animation Hair Love, an animated short film from Matthew A. Cherry, tells the heartfelt story of an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.


KEY ORGANISATIONS. Key Organisations, Contacts, Services & Support Groups.



Denizen is an online magazine dedicated to today's Third Culture Kids. It represents the modern global nomad community, complete with attitude, expression and creativity.

Youth Compass

YouthCompass seeks to address the unique needs of mobile teens by providing caring adult role models who assist them in navigating life.

Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs) atcks-adult-third-culturekids/

ATCKs Adult Third Culture Kids Meetup groups


A forum where you can connect and communicate with TCKid’s around the world.

Third Culture Kids Resources (FAUSA)

Network of expatriates and returnees to keep their connection to their clubs, maintain overseas friendships, and continue to participate in world affairs through the FAWCO Global Issues Teams and UN activities.

TC: Third Culture

A platform for the culturally ambiguous. THIRD CULTURE is an organisation that serves as a platform for third culture individuals, supporting efforts in film, theatre, fashion, and writing. Here on the THIRD CULTURE online magazine, we share stories of diversity, identity, and belonging, and bring you the latest discussions on crosscultural issues.

Culture3Councel adult-third-culture-kidsthird-culture-kids/

ATCK’S and cross cultural kids. It is an intricate theme for presentations, conferences, writings, curriculum projects, research, coaching and counselling in assisting ATCK’s and Cross Cultural, working with this young group of global people for several decades,


Cross Culture Kid resources/

Third Culture Kids: Resources. Organised by Ruth E. Van Reken on issues related to global family living. She is co-founder of Families in Global Transition. In addition to other writing, Ruth is co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.

(FIDI / FAIM): Global assignments and Expat Children

FAIM The world's most recognized standard for international movers


International education is the cornerstone for building a more understanding and peaceful world. With more than 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the leading organisation committed to international education and exchange, working to advance policies and practices that build global Citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today's interconnected world

Expatika roots-branches/

Roots and branches – Parenting Third Culture Kids by Dr Talya Goren. Relocation expert, specializing in international relocation coordination, HR administration, parents groups facilitation, one on one parents consultation, coaching, and lecturing to varying audiences. PhD in Special Education with qualifications in Psychology, Communication, and Special Education from Haifa University in Israel and San Jose State university in California.

Parent Chronicles

Did you know we offer free resources delivered right to your inbox every month? Sign up for our Parent Chronicles and receive articles, podcasts, and activities for you and your family.

The International An online listing of professional mental health therapists familiar with the Therapist Directory Third Culture Kid and international expatriate experiences. While we are not licensed healthcare providers, we are passionate about mental health and want to point you to someone who can meet the needs of you and your family!


Third Culture Kids : Growing Up Among Worlds, by David Pollock book/show/121920. Third_Culture_Kids

Commonly referred to as the “TCK Bible,” this is a textbook-worthy epigraph of all the facts you want to know about third culture kids. The new 3rd Edition is edited by Michael Pollock and includes relevant information and resources for a wider umbrella of “cross-cultural kids” as well.

Taking Route Podcast podcast

Our very own Jessi Vance joins the podcast and discusses the challenges TCKs face and ways to support them as they grow up in a mixture of cultures.

Taking Route community

Experience this online community directed at adults living overseas and parents of TCKs that includes fun recipes, parenting blogs, travel experiences and more. It’s one of our very favorite comprehensive websites for third-culture families.

Creative Worship um/5OiLG0S0t5nQxl MRkh7Fjt?si=Tucn8is _R--IM59G5kbnRA

A Spotify playlist by Kaleidoscope composed of favorite worship songs.

Velvet Ashes

Velvet Ashes is here to connect the hearts of women who are separated by geography but bound together by the life of serving overseas.

Nord Anglia www.nordangliaeducation. com/article/2017/9/13/ third-culture-kids-adifficult-journey-but-agreat-destination

Third Culture Kids: A difficult journey but a great destination. Thinking Beyond Traditional Education: We embrace innovative approaches to ensure that your child thrives as a student and as a global citizen. We nurture confident, creative global Citizens with a thirst for knowledge and the vision to change the world for the better. Our results are consistently higher than global averages, and one in three Nord Anglia students goes on to study at one of the world's 100 best universities.

Zein International Child Care www.zeinchildcare. nl/about-zein/ third-culture-kids

Organisation that aims to help children feel positive about themselves, their abilities and the people around them and the importance of intentional teaching of 'socio-emotional competencies' - a key success factor in bringing up happy, well rounded young people.


Truman Group

Psychological Care for Expats - Help from Home: The Truman Group provides psychological counseling to individuals and couples for a broad range of issues, including anxiety and depression, trauma, grief and loss, maintaining sobriety, relationship issues, life transitions, and anger and stress management. Mental Health Resources Available to Expatriates: While there are mental health resources available to expatriates in many places throughout the world, there may be a limited number of providers in the community that share your language and culture, or they may not have sufficient training or experience to address the issues you are facingThe Truman Group provides care to people across the world without being restricted by geography. We have worked on every continent on the globe and have served people located north of the Arctic Circle, in combat zones in the Middle East, in major metropolitan areas, in the deserts of Northern Africa, and in the rain forests of Central America. If there is access to the Internet, the Truman Group can provide care.


Building Cross-Cultural Bridges. TCKid is a non-profit organisation that has been serving the community of Third Culture Kid (TCK) adults and youth since 2008. TCKid has been featured on BBC, ABC & TVO. We are a growing tribe with over 30,000 members and followers.

The Black Expat

The Black Expat features stories from brilliant and diverse members of the Black Diaspora. They’ve got writers who range from college students to seasoned adventurers, all of whom share their experiences of international living.

The Expat Woman The Expat Woman is a global platform designed to engage, educate and empower women through our community, content and curated events.


FURTHER READING. Confused or multicultural: Third culture individuals’ cultural identity. Moore, A. and Barker, G. (2012). Confused or multicultural: Third culture individuals’ cultural identity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, [online] 36(4), pp.553-562. Available at: article/pii/S0147176711001015?via%3Dihub [Accessed 18 Dec. 2019]. Does the third culture kid experience predict levels of prejudice? Melles, E. and Schwartz, J. (2013). Does the third culture kid experience predict levels of prejudice?. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, [online] 37(2), pp.260-267. Available at: www. S0147176712000971?via%3Dihub [Accessed 18 Dec. 2019]. ACCORDING TO MY PASSPORT, I’M COMING HOME. Eakin, K. (1998). According to My Passport, I’m Coming Home. 1st ed. [Washington, D.C.]: Family Liaison Office. Improving Creative Problem-Solving in a Sample of Third Culture Kids. Ju Lee, Y., Bain, S. and McCallum, R. (2007). Improving Creative Problem-Solving in a Sample of Third Culture Kids. School Psychology International, [online] 28(4), pp.449-463. Available at: journals.sagepub. com/doi/10.1177/0143034307084135 [Accessed 18 Dec. 2019].


Report: TCKs Four Times More Likely to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees. Useem, R. and Cottrell, A. (1999). TCKs Four Times More Likely to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Dec. 2019]. Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, 3rd edition. Pollock, V., Pollock, D. and Van Reken, R. (2017). Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, 3rd ed. London, UK: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Available form: books/about/Third_Culture_Kids.html?id=Y67jDEtn2cC&redir_esc=y [Accessed 18 Dec. 2019]. Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century. Crossman, T. (2016). Misunderstood. Summertime Publishing. Third Culture Kids: A Gift to Care For. Ernvik, U. (n.d.). Third Culture Kids. Familjeglädje. Writing Out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids. Costa, R. (2011). Book Review: Gene H BellVillada and Nina Sichel (eds), (with Faith Eidse and Elaine Neil Orr), Writing Out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Finding Home: Third Culture Kids in the World. Pollock, D., Reken, R. and Pollock, M. (2019). Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds: The original, classic book on TCKs. 3rd ed. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. THIRD CULTURE KIDS-The Children of Educators in International Schools. Zilber, E. (2019). THIRD CULTURE KIDSThe Children of Educators in International Schools. Woodbridge: John Catt Educational Limited. Home Keeps Moving: A Glimpse into the Extraordinary Life of a Third Culture Kid. Sand-Hart, H. (2010). Home keeps moving. Hagerstown, MD: McDougal Publishing. Insights and Interviews from the 2017 Families in Global Transition Conference: Building on the Basics: Creating Your Tribe on the Move. Indrelid, T. and Bertuccelli, D. (n.d.). Insights and Interviews from the 2017 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Conference. Chinglish: An Almost Entirely True Story by Sue Cheung. Cheung, S. (2019). Chinglish. London: Andersen Press Ltd. Unnurtured Teen: Poems from a Third Culture Kid. Unnurtured Teen: Poems from a Third Culture Kid. (2019). Dominic Pt. Fragments and Faith: An Adult Third Culture Kid Experience In Evangelicalism. Young, M. (2019). Fragments and Faith: An Adult Third Culture Kid Experience In Evangelicalism. Melody Young.

Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey. Gardner, M. (2018). Worlds apart. [Place of publication not identified]: Doorlight Publications. Gone (Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK). Kym, M. (2018). Gone: a girl, a violin, a life unstrung. New York: Crown. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away. Watson, C. (2012). Tiny sunbirds far away. London: Quercus. A Long Way Home. Brierley, S. (2017). A Long Way Home. Thorndike, ME: Center Point Publishing. On Rue Tatin. Loomis, S. H. (2002). On Rue Tatin. Flamingo: Pymble, N.S.W. Home, James. Jackson, E. S. (2018). Home, James, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform An Overview of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds. Pollock, D. C., & E., V. R. R. (2017). Third culture kids: the experience of growing up among worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Confessions of a Third Culture Kid + A Book Giveaway. Garber, B. (2014)Confessions of a Third Culture Kid A Book Giveaway. Accessed on 16 December 2019 from confessions-third-culture-kid-book-giveaway/. Sammy’s Next Move: Sammy the snail is a travelling snail who lives in different countries. Maffini, H., & Swaim, M. (2011). Sammys next move. Place of publication not identified: Third Culture Kids Press. THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 389

Migration, Diversity, and Education: Beyond Third Culture Kids. Benjamin, S., & Dervin, F. (2015). Migration, diversity, and education beyond third culture kids. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Writing out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids. Bell-Villada, G. H., & Sichel, N. (2013). Writing out of limbo: international childhoods, global nomads and third culture kids. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing up Global. Eidse, F., & Sichel, N. (2004). Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing up Global. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Notes from a Traveling Childhood: Readings for International Mobile Parents and Children McCluskey, K. C. (1994). Notes from a traveling childhood: readings for internationally mobile parents and children. Washinton: Foreign Service Youth Foundation. Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World. Pascoe, R. (2006). Raising global nomads: parenting abroad in an on demand world. Vancouver: Expatriate Press. Expat Teens Talk: Peers, Parents and Professionals Offer Support, Advice and Solutions in Response to Expat Life Challenges as Shared by Expat Teens. Pittman, L., & Smit, D. (2012). Expat teens talk. Place of publication not identified: Summertime Pub.


The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition. The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition Strangers at Home. Smith, C. D. (1996). Strangers at home: essays on the effects of living overseas and coming “home” to a strange land. Bayside: Aletheia Publ. Barack Obama, Forever a Third-Culture Kid. Spaeth, R. (2017). Barack Obama, Forever a Third-Culture Kid, Accessed on 16 December 2019 - barack-obama-forever-third-culture-kid Expat Alien, My Global Adventures. Gamble, K. (2013). Expat alien: my global adventures. London: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The Ecology of Third Culture Kids . Cameron, R. (2008). The ecology of Third Culture Kids. Saarbruken, Germany: VDM Verlag. A Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Overseas: Volume 1. Devens, J. (2017). A Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Overseas: Volume 1. 5th ed. US: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition. The Nomadic Slave: Memoir of a Third Culture Life. Pswarazayi, A. (2018). The Nomadic Slave: Memoir of a Third Culture Life. Unknown: Undependently published. Life stories of Swedish Third Culture Kids: Belonging and Identity. Wu, H. and Koolash, R. (2011). Life stories of Swedish Third Culture Kids: Belonging and Identity. Poland: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

Hybrid: The transformation of a crosscultural people pleaser. Melkonian, L. (2015). Hybrid: The transformation of a cross-cultural people pleaser. US: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing Up in Ethiopia and America. Kurtz, C. (2019). A road called down on both sides. Pretoria/US: Catalyst Press. Living Abroad: What every expact needs to know: How to handle culture shock, foreign affairs, third culture kids, frequent travel, and other issues of expatriate living. Tsang-Feign, C. (2013). Living Abroad: What every expact needs to know: How to handle culture shock, foreign affairs, third culture kids, frequent travel, and other issues of expatriate living. 3rd ed. US / Japan: Top Floor Books; Edição. The Art of Coming Home. Storti, C. (2011). The Art of Coming Home. London: Nicholas Brealey Pub. Safe Passage: how mobility affects people & international school should do about it. Ota, D. (2014). Safe passage. Lincolnshire: Summertime Publishing. I Am Third: Stories from Josiah Venture Kids Venture, J. (2014). I Am Third. US: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. This Messy Mobile Life: How a Mola Can Help Globally Mobile Families Create a Life by Design. Ottimofiore, M. (2019). This Messy Mobile Life: How a Mola Can Help Globally Mobile Families Create a Life by Design. S.l.: Springtime Books.

A phenomenological approach to understanding early adult friendships of third culture kids. Choi, K. M., & Luke, M. (2011, June 2011). A phenomenological approach to understanding early adult friendships of third culture kids. Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling, 1, 47-60. http://dx.doi. org/10.18401/2011.1.1.4 TCK - Third Culture Kids: Exciting Lifetime or Rootless Childhood? Sashinskaya, M. (n.d.). TCK - Third Culture Kids: Exciting Lifetime or Rootless Childhood?. 2nd ed. Women Who Walk: How 20 Women From 16 Countries Came To Live in Portugal. Ross, L. (2018). Women Who Walk. London: Moyhill Publishing. Belong Everywhere and Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile. Bushong, L., Van Reken, R., Davis, P. and Edwards, K. (2013). Belonging everywhere & nowhere. IN: Mango Tree Intercultural Services. Broken Stereotypes: Stories from Third Culture Kids. Druktuld, C. (2016). Broken Stereotypes: Stories from Third Culture Kids. US: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Transformative Dialogue for Third Culture Building: Integrated Constructionist Approach for Managing Diversity. Matoba, K. (2011). Transformative Dialogue for Third Culture Building Integrated Constructionist Approach for Managing Diversity. Opladen: Budrich UniPress Ltd.


Where Are You From? Art Education for Third Culture Kids . Keeney, L., (2009). Where Are You From? Art Education for Third Culture Kids. Retrieved from issuu_capstone_final_. Asian third culture kids: A phenomenological study of the crosscultural identity of Chinese students educated in a Western-curriculum international school. Long, D.T., 2016. Asian third culture kids: A phenomenological study of the cross-cultural identity of Chinese students educated in a Western-curriculum international school. Northeastern University. Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds: The original, classic book on TCKs. Pollock, D.C., Van Reken, R.E. and Pollock, M.V., 2010. Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds: The original, classic book on TCKs. Hachette UK. Misunderstood: The impact of growing up overseas in the 21st century. Crossman, T. (2016). Misunderstood: The impact of growing up overseas in the 21st century. United Kingdom: Summertime Publishing Narratives of third culture kids: Commitment and reticence in social relationships. Lijadi, A., & Van Schalkwyk, G. J. (2014, June 2014). Narratives of third culture kids: Commitment and reticence in social relationships. Qualitative Report, 19, 1-18. Retrieved from publication/264121506


Bouncing back: Transition and re-entry planning for parents of foreign service youth. Family Liaison Office (2013). Bouncing back: Transition and re-entry planning for parents of foreign service youth. Washington, DC: US Department of State TCKs come of age. Lambiri, V. (2005). TCKs come of age. Retrieved from Come%20of%20Age.pdf Identity in flux: Clinical implications of working with global nomads and third culture kids. Young, J. T. (2015, January 2015). Identity in flux: Clinical implications of working with global nomads and third culture kids. International Psychology Bulletin, 2, 28-33. Retrieved from publication/275893832 It’s lit. Google (2018). It’s lit. Retrieved from storage. Identity shifters: AN RPA report. (2018). Retrieved from Coming home to friends: Third culture kids’ relational development through the lens of social penetration theory. Jurgensen, N. (2014). Coming home to friends: Third culture kids’ relational development through the lens of social penetration theory (Master’s thesis). Third culture kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere. Mayberry, K. (2016). Third culture kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere. Retrieved from article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-ofeverywhere-and-nowhere

Generation next: Meet Gen Z and the Alphas. McCrindle, M. (2018). Generation next: Meet Gen Z and the Alphas. Retrieved from generation-next-meet-gen-z-alphas/ 7 Spot-on ways TCKs deal with grief. Murray, T. J. (2015). 7 Spot-on ways TCKs deal with grief. Retrieved from taylorjoymurray. com/2015/12/07/7-spot-on-ways-tcks-dealwith-grief/ Emotional resilience and the expat child: Practical tips and storytelling techniques that will strengthen the global family. Simens, J. (2011). Emotional resilience and the expat child: Practical tips and storytelling techniques that will strengthen the global family. United Kingdom: Summertime Publishing.

Implications for professional counselors when working with adult third culture kids. Washington, C. R., & Gadikar, A. J. (2016). Implications for professional counselors when working with adult third culture kids. Vistas Online. Retrieved from knowledge-center/vistas Meet alpha: The ‘next generation’. Williams, A. (2015). Meet alpha: The ‘next generation’. Retrieved from www. meet-alpha-the-next-generation Third culture kids: The co-construction of third culture identity. Wang, S. (2015). Third culture kids: The coconstruction of third culture identity (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from

On the other side of normal. Murray, T. J. (2018). On the other side of normal. Retrieved from taylorjoymurray. com//03/21/on-the-other-side-of-normal

Move over millenials, here comes generation z. Williams, A. (2015). Move over millenials, here comes generation z. Retrieved from move-over-millenials-here-comesgeneration-z

Third culture kids: Growing up among worlds (3rd ed.). Pollock, D. C., Van Reken, R. E., & Pollock, M. V. (2017). Third culture kids: Growing up among worlds (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Relationship Negotiation. Tunberg, H., & Stephens, E. (2012, April). Relationship Negotiation. In E. Stephens (Chair), The TCK Profile for Today’s TCKs. Symposium conducted at the MK Caregivers’ Consultation, Kansas City, MO.

Refusing to be erased: Acknowledging the TCK experience. (n.d.). Retrieved from refusing-to-be-erased/

Global nomads: Finding home in the age of technology. Wu, A. (2015). Global nomads: Finding home in the age of technology. Retrieved from

Exploration of themes evolving from the experiences of third culture kids. Sellers, E. D. (2011). Exploration of themes evolving from the experiences of third culture kids (Doctoral dissertation).

Remembering who we are. Murray, T. J. (2016). Remembering who we are. Retrieved from taylorjoymurray. com/2016/01/20/remembering-who-we-are/ THIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCK) - 393

Global Connections: TCK Resources. (2017) Available via: https://www. localhost/files/papers/tck_resource_list_-_ july_2017.pdf [Accessed 20 October 20202] Training: TCK Resources. Available via: resources. [Accessed 28 October 2020] TTK/CCK Resources. Family in Global Transitions (FIGT). Available via: [Accessed 28 October 2020]


TWITTER USERS. Twitter Users


Third Culture @ThirdCultureX Third Culture Experiment

Third Culture Kid (n): Kids raised in a culture outside of their parents' for a stint. In 2014 we all qualify. So come mingle while enjoying delectable food.

Diplomatic Kid @dipkid101

From Everywhere and nowhere - Canadian diplomat by birth, international nomad by career choice. It is all about travel and politics


Association of American Schools in South America International Education - Teacher Recruitment - Professional Development - ASSA’s mission is to enhance the quality of education in American/international member schools

Passport and Plates (Sally) @passport_plates

Arab-American Muslim food & travel blogger helping you find the best local food & travel experiences.

Third Culture Kidz @3rdculturekidz

Official Third Culture Kidz account

Tanya Crossman @TanyaTck

Author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Oversees in the 21st Century A book about how overseas life impacts young people

Just Luminate @justluminate

Digital media platform and global community of luminaries igniting powerful change in the way we work, lead, live, and love.

Tayo Rockson @TayoRockson

Bestselling Author of Use Your Difference To Make A Difference Consultant, TCK, & 4x TEDx Speaker on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Inter Nations @InterNationsorg

The Largest Global Expatriate Community from Expats for Expats: Connecting Global Minds


TWITTER HASHTAGS. Twitter Hashtags



A standard abbreviation for 'Third Culture Kids'.


A term used frequently to discuss pre-adolescent children in many global relocations.


The life of a person who temporarily resides in various countries.


A person, activity or group affiliated with more than one country.


A legal inhabitant of an environment/ country in that particular place of residence who has become naturalised.


A person who is constantly in transit and is therefore relatable to the entire sphere.


A shortened term for expatriate.


A narration of scenes and activities often autobiographical and often to present a moral to collectively learn from.


To think globally but act locally by considering the effects on the sphere and also microsocial communities.


A Third Culture Kid currently residing in the United Kingdom.


A singular pre-adolescent person living in a country dissimilar to their place of birth.




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