How growing up as a third culture kid changed my life for the better

Have you ever hear the term “third culture kid” before? I’ve lived in three countries so far, and am grateful for learning about the world at a young age. From  You know you’re a Third Culture Kid when the question “Where are you from?” has more than one reasonable answer. From  You may feel like a global nomad because you live in one culture, and you feel a sense of belonging where you live now and where you grew up. Elements from both cultures are blended, resulting in the third culture. 

I lived in Germany as a child because my father was stationed there with the U.S. Army. We lived off base and I attended German schools and made friends with German children. My experience was that it is easy to learn a second language as a child. 

In high school, I took French. The French Club went to Montreal and Quebec, so I worked at Burger King to earn half the fare, while my parents matched me dollar for dollar! Here is one of the Jr. Spice cats “helping” me to prepare for a trip to France (and more), years later.

I studied during junior year of college in Vienna. I’m still amazed that my parents trusted my judgment and waited for postcards as I travelled to 10 countries that year, including Russia using a Eurail pass and a shaky Aeroflot plane. I didn’t feel especially brave, but tried to use common sense and travel with friends. 

Finally, upon graduation, I started a social work job where many employees and clients spoke Spanish, so I took a continuing education class and can get by in Spanish. This gave me increased confidence to vacation in Spain, Panama (more) andEcuador (more).

Living in numerous countries and getting to know people who are different from me but equal to me has taught me that the world is a small place. I believe that all people and nations have rights to individuality and to contribute to the wellbeing of our planet. 

I encourage you to read “Military Brats” by Mary Edwards Wersch for more information. Children who move are able to make friends and adjust to new situations for the rest of their lives more quickly than others. There may be mixed feelings about relocating, but with a sense of adventure and some fun, it can be a positive situation.