SYLP: The life of a TCK

By Cindy Lee
Summer Youth Leadership Program

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SYLP Class of 2013 during a field trip to the Wing Luke with Program Coordinator Tony Vo (front far left) (Photo from SYLP)

“Cindy, we’re moving to __________ in a few weeks.”

This was the sentence I dreaded to hear when we passed the two-year mark of being in one place. The name of the location that filled the blank never ceased to surprise me. It started off with different cities in United States. Then it became Egypt, Poland, and Korea. Then back to America. And so on and so forth. As a daughter of a foreign diplomat, this was a bi- or tri-yearly routine. I was used to it by the time I was in first grade — I would be in shock for a while, cry, let the information sink in, and then tell my friends after a few days. I thought it would get easier as I got older and matured a bit.

Unfortunately, it was the complete opposite. It actually got more difficult and I wanted to run away when I knew I would hear the sentence soon. But I knew it was inevitable and tried to get the most out of the experiences I got — that is, until I entered high school.

It was a few years ago when I learned what it was to be a “TCK” — a Third Culture Kid, a person who grew up in many different cultures. When my peers told me that it was their dream to move to a whole new place, I would tell them it was the opposite for me. It was my wish to stay in one place for a long time and to settle in. I started to realize the perks of being a TCK. When I learned what it was, I started to appreciate my story, background, and knowledge.

Like everything else in life, there are definitely pros and cons. The pros are that you know you’re moving so you can attempt to mend relationships that had cracks and that you have a full spectrum of new people to meet once you move. However, like everything else in the world, nothing is perfect. When you move, you have to leave all your friends knowing that you will slowly stop keeping in touch with most people as time passes and live in the fear of not being able to adapt and make new friends in a short amount of time. The worst part is being afraid to root firmly into the new soil you stepped on.

At the end, I strongly believe that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to being a TCK. Why not be positive and try to breathe in only the positive air? But on a more serious note, the fact that one is influenced by an assortment of cultures allows the person to think in varying perspectives and make wiser decisions. Additionally, if one moves around a lot, it creates many opportunities to network and allows them to make connections that will come in handy in the future. The hardships and trials that follow contrasting cultures may make the path a little rougher, but they cultivate one’s inner-self to be sturdy and develop one’s ability to be empathetic of others’ opinions and stories. (end)

Cindy Lee is a senior at Newport High School.

One Response to “SYLP: The life of a TCK”

  1. Gegt Tan says:

    can I ask what is the requirement for joining this camp, and will you hold this camp for next year?

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