A Lesson for TCKs – Everyone Leaves

The experience of living overseas as a child is very different to the experience of living overseas as an adult. The impact of childhood experiences last a lifetime. They are formative experiences – they teach us how the world works. We all internalise ‘lessons’ from our childhood experiences.

TCKs grow up between cultures, learning lessons from more than one cultural viewpoint. Often these messages contradict one another, and learning to navigate this conflict is part of what makes a TCK. The lessons they learn about how the world works, therefore, often come less from individual cultures and more from the fact that they juggle more than one cultural viewpoint. The experience of being “in between” greatly affects their understanding of the world.

As I interviewed hundreds of TCKs there were a lot of repeated themes, and even specific phrases, that became familiar. These were the lessons these TCKs had learned through their childhood experiences. In this post I’m introducing one of the most common lessons of a TCK childhood: Everyone leaves.

Read More | About Misunderstood

Author: Tanya Crossman

Tanya Crossman grew up in Sydney and Canberra, Australia, and lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA for two years of high school. She had TCK friends as a child, before her own experience of life overseas, and long before hearing the phrase ‘Third Culture Kid’. She received a degree in Asian Studies from the Australian National University, and a diploma in Mandarin from Beijing Language and Culture University. She worked several bilingual jobs in China, including interning at a publishing company and Office/ HR Manager for a small textile trading company. After years of volunteering her time to mentor TCKs, Tanya left her job to work with TCKs full time. She coordinated over 35 camps and conferences for teenage TCKs in China and Cambodia, and was invited to speak to groups in China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore. After 11 years in Asia, Tanya is currently studying in Sydney. She is still passionate about advocating for TCKs, even in her passport country. She plans to return overseas in time to continue working with, and on behalf of, TCKs.

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