Growing Up In Different Cultures

Third culture kids (TCKs) live very exciting, but also challenging lives. Every day they have to master the balancing act between different cultures and languages. Friendly relationships do not usually last long, as there is frequent coming-and-going on the field. 

Friends visiting

All these circumstances often cause Barbara and me to think. We ask ourselves, ”what are we doing to our children?” Surprisingly, our children feel quite differently: Amelie and Lianne love their life here. They have learned to be adaptable, to deal with given circumstances and to let go of things that cannot be changed; especially the many changing relationships that seem very challenging to us. For this reason, we encourage our children to cultivate relationships with local people, because they usually stay here longer than the western families. 

Another exciting aspect is doing life in different cultures. Our children’s intercultural horizons are broadened automatically, as they learn early on to build bridges and understand other cultures. Especially for Amelie it makes no difference at all whether someone is dark or fair-skinned, whether they have straight or curly hair or which language they speak. 

There are many experiences here that shape our children, which would not be possible in Switzerland. For example, riding a motorcycle together with mom and dad, playing around in the trunk of the SUV, or sitting on dad’s lap while driving. And all the trips that we’ve undertaken by plane, etc. and the incredible places we have been able to visit. Or having school with mom and dad. We have a lot of time to shape our children.

Despite all this, it is important to us as parents to make it clear to our children where our home is. Because it will be important for them when they go back to Switzerland, that they can feel more or less at home there. 

Micha, pilot and base leader