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Adolescents & International Transition

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« Readjustment to Home Culture | Main | Nostalgic "Maiden Voyage" Excursions »

March 06, 2007


Paulette Bethel


I love the idea of doing a timeline, and especially using the metaphor of the cardboard "moving" box!!

I know that it started out as a creative way of meeting the objectives of your assignment, but I wonder what other benefits may have come from doing this exercise. Did you learn a couple knew things about yourself? Did it reaffirm those things that you have already known, but maybe you hadn’t put words or language to it yet?

One of my interests is looking at the life of a TCK from an individual and family life cycle development perspective. I usually begin by encouraging TCKs to do just what you did with your timeline project. Next, I ask TCKs/ATCKS to look at their lives from a life cycle development perspective and looking at where they are based on the eight stages that a man name Erik Erikson felt that people needed to pass though from infancy to adulthood. That is a fancy way of saying, when you are ages 11-18 that there are certain things that one typically experiences that are important to their growth to adulthood. For TCKs, I believe that this process of growth may be a little different for individuals, as well as for families when looking at the normative stages that have been identified for families.

I would love to hear back from you about how your project went at school!!


Grant Simens

I am a third cultural kid. In my 8th grade humanities we needed to bring in an object that reflected our “culture”. This posed several concerns for me. First, we had just arrived in Thailand from a move from Africa so what sort of cultural things might I find in my backpack since our shipment had not yet arrived in our new home. This did not seem very promising. Second, what culture do I represent?

I decided to sit down and do a time line on my life to see if it might help direct me into finding just the right item to take into class. I decided to map my time line by months so it would reflect my summers in the USA.

The end results did not help narrow down my search for the idea culture object. I am 4% Australian, 25% African, 25% American and 45% Indonesian. Of course, I am 1% Thai since this is now my home country. I do carry an American passport but that is such a small part of my actual 13 years.

I finally had the perfect object for class. My object was a cardboard box. This box can hold your items when you are moving from place to place. I am a third culture kid, so I have moved a lot, this makes cardboard moving boxes a commonly used item for people like me. Most Third Culture kids have lived in other countries longer than their passport country. The packing box reflects the life of a moving family.

I hope my teacher will acknowledge this unique culture. If not, I have just blown my first grade in a new class in a new school. Being a third cultural kid makes you brave.

Jeannette Maw

This was an eye-opener for me to realize the issues my third culture clients come to the table with, often without even their awareness! Whereas it used to be a mystery to me, I'm just beginning to understand now what's at work in their programmed mind.

Thanks for bringing this to light, Paulette! I look forward to reading more about the effects of early and adult immersion in international communities, and how that affects traditional understanding of self.

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