Third Culture Kids

Hello everyone!

My name is Faizan, and I’ll be a guest writer here on ArtyyShire, a blog that I have always wanted to be a part of! I’m from Canada and of Indian origin but I have lived in Tanzania for majority of my life. Yes, I know, quite confusing, but trust me I’m not the only one, and that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about today.

What defines a person’s culture? Is it their nationality? The languages they speak? Or their ethnicity? To myself, none of these apply. A single label isn’t an accurate depiction of my entire identity, yet all of them together make up whom I am. Yes I was born in Canada and that makes me a Canadian, yes I’m of Indian origin that makes me Indian, yes I’ve lived in Tanzania for 13 years and that makes me somewhat Tanzanian. But yet, I feel comfortable with none of these labels. These labels individually don’t accurately define who I am because I don’t feel an immense sense of belonging to any of these. I feel the need to mention all three of them because without one of them a whole part of who I am is non-existent. My culture isn’t labeled but if I had to label my culture I’d stick to the term TCK “Third Culture Kid” because it saves time and depicts my diverse spectrum of culture. A global citizen, a citizen of the world.

Basically a TCK is a person who belongs to several cultures or nations or feels no belonging to any. This could happen for a number of reasons. I encounter most TCKs in international schools. Generally, most of the TCKs I know have become their diverse selves because they have moved countries often or have parents who are of different nationalities. Additionally  some people have passports from nations they have never even visited. One could look at TCKs and see the disadvantages of being one, but I prefer to shed some light on the advantages of being a TCK and what it could mean for all of us.

Today, in the 21st century, there are certain nations whose political ties between each other are not as close as we would like them to be. TCKs are a perfect example of integrating cultures together and being able to relate to others easily. With this attitude of pluralism and an open mind, we can anticipate to see a world with mutual understanding in the future if we choose to promote these values. This concept of learning from others and becoming united through our differences will be a driving force not only for being able to relate with one another but also for world peace. Although this all might sound overly optimistic, the reality is that this concept is strongly lacking in many societies. We must learn to embrace and develop together as one globe so that we can all feel part of something larger and power the global citizen dream.

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