“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”
– David C. Pollock
My So-called Ex-pat Life
In just two months we will be celebrating our three year anniversary as an expat family in England. It seems not so long ago that we were in the US of A, wishing we could be living overseas. Back then the life we live now seemed so much like a dream. My husband and sons who were all born stateside had not been to Europe before. I was not born stateside but had been living in the US for about a decade. For me as a third culture kid (TCK) who grew up across military bases in Europe I felt lost. I did not connect fully to life in America and my nomadic past was slipping further away like another lifetime. That want and that need to move abroad fueled stronger. When my husband and I came to a fork in the road we chose to take the chance and move abroad. With no set jobs, no place to live, and no family in England we started on our Expat adventure.
I nickname the expat series on my blog, ‘My so-called expat life’. As a TCK, I am continually in that neither-nor world where I do not fully connect to one nationality or country. It is the same as in my expat life. Technically I am both a citizen and an expat. I was born in Oxford to American parents before they changed the citizenship requirements. Despite having an American accent and having so far spent more time living in Italy, I am a british citizen with an EU passport. Though we have been here nearly three years and I am a citizen, I am still frequently seen and thought of as an American. It is not a burden by any means but just the truth of being a TCK through adulthood.
What does Expat life mean for TCKs?
There are so many different backgrounds for third culture kids that though you can define a TCK, we can not simply be put neatly into a box. There are other classmates who I have known through my years of school on military bases who may also connect with life as a TCK. Though they would not easily be able to return to a place they once lived, no matter how much more they may connect with that place to their parent’s home country. Through our own experiences I have learned much that I had not known before we left the US.
Passports, Visas, and Permits
We have spent more money than needed on passports and visas in the last three years than we should have due to mistakes. Make sure to always double check what you read online and never just assume what you hear in one place to be the certain truth. Keep tabs on expiration dates of passports and visas so that you can be well prepared in advance. Be aware that rules are often being changed, so be aware. Expat life may seem like a challenge or even a bit scary in the beginning, but it is definitely doable.
My challenge to you.
Do you stalk travel and expat blogs? Have you often wondered what life would be like if you packed up your life and moved abroad? Does your wanderlust list grow longer as time goes by? If you feel expat life is calling for you, I challenge you to do something about it. Perhaps you start a conversation with someone who has done it before. Maybe you seek out employment information in the country to where you want to move. Or maybe the only thing holding you back now is just doing it. Where ever you are on your journey to expat life, I urge you to do something. I have been in place where you feel held back by circumstances and with the voices of those you know who do not share your love for expat life. Just remember that the choice is ultimately up to you. If you know where you want to be in life, why wait one more day to start working towards that goal? Live life.
Connect with other Expats
When you move abroad it can be daunting at times so making friends with fellow expats through sites like expatforum can really make the transition into expat life a lot easier- and who doesn’t like making new friends? Similarly, finding out the right and relevant advice before moving abroad from sites like HiFX who have created a new expat tip page, which I have recently contributed to (see here) is a great way to make sure you get the right advice from expat experts before you make the leap abroad.
Today I really wanted to give a shout out to Elena from Beautiful Hope about her sun filled post at Laguna Beach. Living in England is great, but I would be lying if I said I missed the sunshine! Find out about her Orange County adventures and more about her travel posts this week!
Now on to the link up! To link up with us, make sure to comment below and with my cohosts Melanie and Tina. Then hop around and share the love and experience more wanderlust from the other participants. The full details are below and as always, have fun!
HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere! 2. GRAB the lovely button above. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Melanie, and Tina in a link! 3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. Make sure to comment here, on the cohosts blogs, and visit around!