Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture

Would you move back to your ‘home’ country?


You know that country your parents are from… How would it feel for you as an Adult Third Culture Kid? Just thinking about it now, packing your bags, saying goodbye to your friends, and going back to your roots, or maybe they’re not your roots, maybe it’s where your parents are originally from.  But it’s still a link that you have.

After spending 5 days in the South of France for some holiday fun with the family, I thought about what it might be like to move back to France in the future.  As a Third Culture Kid, the only real connection I have to it is my that it’s where my dad was born, where he grew up. But it’s more than that. It’s the songs we listened to in the car when we were kids.  It’s the small town in France that we visited every summer and and every Christmas to visit our grandparents.  Also it’s very simply in the food we had for dinner, in the expressions my parents explained while at breakfast, the novels we read at home.  I remember watching the news on the French TV channels TF1 and France 2 at 8pm in the evening.  We didn’t live in France, and yet so many bits and pieces of our life were influenced by French customs.

Every time I’ve gone back to France, and met people from there, I can’t help but think how different we are (my brother, my sister and I) as Third Culture Kids.  Although we speak the same language (my parents were adamant we spoke French at home and taught us how to read and write through additional courses after school), we had an American-ness that meant we didn’t feel we fit into that French world.  Some people I’ve spoken to never understand this. They think there can’t be that much of a difference, especially since our Dad is French and we speak French. But there’s so much more to a culture and a country. It’s the small things.


However, what I did realize is that even though we did not feel completely ‘at home’ in France, and we were not necessarily as ‘French’ as those that had lived there their whole lives, it didn’t mean it couldn’t be interesting to dive back into a culture that had been such an important part for our family.  Who knows, I may never move to France. I am so happy in London; I don’t see myself moving anytime soon or anytime really! But I can tell that little by little, I’m more open to the idea of reconnecting with certain parts of it.  If that means rereading novels I read in French when I was younger or listening to new French songs that have come out over recent years. Or even pulling out a French history book!

Of course, since my mom is Belgian, I would have to add that to the plan as well! And what about reconnecting to the place I was born and visiting Japan?  What are your thoughts about this TCKs?  Have you ever considered moving back to your ‘hometown’?



5 thoughts on “Would you move back to your ‘home’ country?

  1. I actually went ahead and did this. I moved back to Argentina nearly 8 years ago, after finishing high school, to try and reconnect with my roots. It is interesting to say the least, 8 years on and I’m still the ultimate outsider, I play as a local, but still have all the habits of a TCK so its a lot harder to fit in as people don’t understand how you can be local but so different at the same time, and they are more reticent to cut you the same slack they would cut a foreigner. It’s definitely interesting to get to know your roots, but I would limit time spent, unless you can really rework your mentality into the local one.

    • I completely agree Rodrigo. I think it would be incredibly tough going back. I think it would take a lot of work and effort to get back into a community there. And learn about the politics, news, customs again. As things change.

  2. Olivia, I grew up as a TCK in the US (I’ve since lived in 3 other countries, and am currently living in Turkey). However, there is NO way I would ever move back to where I was either born or raised in Kentucky. It’s just a place I’ll never feel at home at. Would I move back to the US though? I’m not sure, honestly. It depends where it would be. All I know, though, is that instead of moving back somewhere, I’m looking ahead, forward to where my life and my journey takes me!

  3. Yeah, it’s funny Mike. I have been thinking about it a lot since I last wrote this post. And as much as I would want to know more about where my dad is from and my passport country, I don’t really have any desire to go there. I guess it isn’t really who I am and so much of it just seems so far from what I know and who I am. The customs, the people, the activities, the views. It just isn’t me. I think it would take a lot to move there.

    • I can completely understand. My mom’s Lebanese and my dad’s Syrian (though both were born in Egypt, yes I know, long story as always haha). Anyways, when I moved to Lebanon for grad school, in my head, I thought it was going to be the missing society/community that I had always longed for. What I found was that, even though the culture was familiar to me, at the same time, it was completely foreign. In some ways it was even more alienating (if not simply disappointing), and when I left 3 years later, it also left me with more questions than answers. So, I get it. I realized there, too, that the people I was closest too were also”nos-nos” — “half-halfs,” or hyphenated misfits who had a background analogous to mine.

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