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Help I’m a Third Culture Kid at Uni

A Picture of Millie

Are you English? American? Scottish? I’ve heard it all. If I’m ever lucky enough to meet any of you lovely readers, you’ll probably be confused by the typical ‘Third Culture Kid’ accent I’ve acquired over the years – a predominantly English/American/Scottish/International mix. In fact, someone recently said to me “You know Millie, every time you talk it’s just not the accent that I think is going to come out of you”… charming, maybe I should shut my mouth next time?

I was born in Norwich, raised in Aberdeen, and I lived in Singapore for 7 years. My teachers were British, American, Australian, you name it, and my friends come from places stretched all over the world.

I’m what the textbooks like to call a ‘Third Culture Kid’, a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parent’s home culture. A transient individual. I’m from everywhere, and yet nowhere in particular.

So… where am I going with all of this? Yes first year was an experience, we all remember it, but if you’re like me and had to add ‘moving halfway across the world’ into the mix, then I’m here to tell you that you’re going to be just fine! From one TCK to another, you’re not alone, and I’ve got some advice to make your transition just a little bit easier…

  • During first year, you’ll find yourself in a new, non-international-school environment, where many people are baffled by your history and may not understand. But that’s ok, just remember that everybody is new and trying to ‘fit in’. Just because you were raised differently doesn’t mean you won’t have anything in common! University is all about building new relationships, an opportunity to find what will connect you with others.
  • Get yourself out there! University is essentially a clean slate and now is the time to try all the things you’ve ever wanted to try. As a Third Culture Kid, you’re probably flexible and used to moulding who you are in any situation… so use this to your advantage! You’re a fresher now; don’t shy away, you’ve got endless opportunities waiting for you.
  • There will be dancing on the table moments and uncontrollable laughter, but also unbearable homesickness. Yes you come from a place that is too far away to visit for the weekend, I mean you can’t simply fly home? But just remember that transition and homesickness is completely normal, and everyone experiences it!



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