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Third culture kids - cultural intelligence

May 31, 2017

Have you ever dreamt about moving abroad ? You’re probably met someone who grew up in a different country to where they live now, but I bet there are things about them you have never realised. I am one of these people.

I was born in Slovakia, but I lived part of my life in Greece and moved to Spain when I was 26. I moved to Greece when I was 21. Traveled thousands of times to arabic countries . Sorry to disappoint you I didn’t accept 200 camels that man offered for my hand in marriage. I denied and continue travel. :)

 

And I become a cultural mess: I look western with pale skin,blond hair and green eyes but I quickly adapted to the Arabic, greek and spanish culture and their values really resonate with me.

People like me are often called third culture kids - and the stories we have are pretty cool.

Growing up in different parts of the world is incredible; I met people from all over , but one thing you have to understand is that no always my life was incredibly exciting to me.

But like everything else in life there are also two sides to this story, and there are some things you probably didn’t know about us third culture kids.

  1. We are and will always be seen as a foreigner, even in our “home” country. Home is nowhere and everywhere for us,yet we are seen as foreigners everywhere we go. You feel more foreign in the country you hold the passport from then any other place in the world. Unless we learn to be really good at impresonating locals, we will always be seen as an outsider.

  2. No one will ever understand where our accent is from. Accent from no where and everywhere.I once spoke with a Slovak by phone in slovak language and after all she told me ...do you speak very well slovak , where did you study ? I lost my accent. People who grew up abroad are basically chameleons and we change our accent slightly depending on whom we are speaking to.

  3. A simple question like “ where are you from?” becomes one of the hardest to answer . ..You mean where I was born, grow up or living? to avoid tell the whole history we are telling little white lie or just telling Home is where wifi conects automatically or home is where the people you love live.

  4. we are more cultural inteligent - first at all we are more culturally confused than you ‘ll ever be able undestand. Do you shake hands or do you avoid touching, do you kiss on one cheek or both when you meet someone new? We adapt to your culture, but no one adapts to ours. Growing up in a country as Slovakia where you never touch when greeting someone, getting kissed on the cheek is a step too far, but we are too polite to do anything about it ( and many times we feel uncomfortable doing it )

  5. we make friends easily but it takes a long time for us to fully let people in. Third culture kids usually have a lot of friends but only a few close ones. So if you want to get close so someone who grew up apart, give it some time .

  6. We probably switch between languages without knowing, and sometimes mix them up. With my slovak firends with the same cultural mix as me, we would literally get three languages into one sentence. Just like that , without thinking and without knowing but understanding each other. Three languages is a minimum, some speak more.

  7. we appreciate the small things in life . We are citizens of the world, we have seen a lot of things, poor people without nothing but happy , children happy to ply with the simple rocks and we know that we are lucky to have water, electricity and even a bed to sleep. I knew people who sleep on the floor or no food to eat. That doesn’t mean we don’t take it for granted most of the time, but we know we could be worse off.

Welcome in my world !

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