The last post was My 10 advantages of growing up in another culture. This week it is about the disadvantages of growing up in another culture. I do think the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages but the are real challenges when you grow up cross-culturally and when you relocate as a child many times, like my family did when I was growing up. In this blog post you can read how many times I moved as a child. Here are my tips when moving with kids.

So here are my 10 disadvantages:

  1. Having had to move often.
  2. Saying “good-bye” many times. I remember my parents used to tell friends and family that they preferred everyone to say “hello” to us and welcome us back to Holland at Schiphol international airport than that they would wave us goodbye. Maybe they found saying “good-bye” difficult too?
  3. Being far away from family and friends. I found this great blog post by Libby Stephens Grandparenting over the seas. Some good advice, worth reading. I grew in the age before email and skype. Communicating is a lot easier these days.
  4. Not knowing where “home” is.
  5. Not knowing the geography of my passport country. I never had geography of the Netherlands. When I had geography in Zimbabwe it was mainly “African” geography.
  6. Not knowing certain popular TV shows, songs etc.
  7. Having a kind of restlessness. I need new challenges and changes. I even find it difficult spend time at home during a holiday period.
  8. Preferring not to change my email address or telephone number if it is not absolutely necessary. In this I prefer to keep the same email address for ever if possible.Making it easier to stay in contact with old acquaintances?
  9. I have some language difficulty (with Dutch), I attended international and local schools, this was all in English. We had some extra Dutch lessons but I don’t feel very confident in writing Dutch.
  10. Not knowing all the Dutch sayings.

On the internet I came across The 10 Lifestyle habits of third culture kids. It gives insight into the life lived by third culture kids and the kind of baggage you are left with as a result of you experiences.

“Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.”  ~Tryon Edwards

I don’t think the list of disadvantages is complete but for now it is fine like this. What disadvantages do you experience or did you experience? (photo by Anita Patterson Morgue file)

If you want to read more visit my blog: DrieCulturen. You can follow me on twitter too: @DrieCulturen

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Genevieve and Johana for commenting. The accent story is quite a complex one by the sounds of it! Just like some of our lives…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Haven’t been here for a while, but thank you for all your posts!

    Hannah – yes you are totally right! That’s one of the reasons why I did that too. When I said Philippines, they’d be like, “Wow! That’s awesome…” And then noticed they couldn’t say anything else. When I started saying either Oregon or Alberta – they could relate more and it was definitely easier to get a conversation going – it’s the familiarity. 

    Cecilia – I consider you very lucky to marry a fellow TCK. I can only wish the same thing for me and say the same sweet words as you did, “He is my home, any where we move in the world”. But, “she” for me of course. Lol

    Hannah – yes you’re right.. there are definitely pros and cons for each side. But I think at the end, it’s how you utilize your experience the most – as a TCK, if you use your experience to your advantage, then that’s what makes it worthwhile. I think that’s why this website/community is so important for all of us – answering our questions of who we are is so important to our development – only then can we fully utilize our talents and experience, if we know who we are and we accept who we have become.