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Sunday, 18 October 2015

What is Third Culture Kid (TCK)? (Interview with a TCK below in English)


Pernahkah Anda mendengar istilah TCK (Third Culture Kid)? Mungkin bagi yang memiliki educational background Psikologi atau Sosiologi, istilah ini sudah tidak asing lagi.

TCK adalah term untuk mereka yang memiliki budaya ketiga karena hasil dari pengalaman hidup di budaya yang berbeda dari orangtua. Budaya ketiga ini hasil dari pemcampuran budaya yang dialaminya ketika dalam masa childhood atau developmental years.

Sebagai contoh, kedua orangtua dari Indonesia, tapi besar di luar negeri selama masa kanaknya. Budaya dia ketika besar dapat terbentuk dari budaya yang diajarkan di rumah oleh orangtuanya dan juga dari luar rumah, yaitu lingkungan sekitar (sekolah, pertemanan, kehidupan sosial, dan lain-lain).

Contoh lain adalah seseorang dari hasil pernikahan orangtua yang berasal dari budaya yang berbeda, misalnya interracial marriage Austria dan Indonesia. Anak dari hasil pernikahan ini akan mendapatkan budaya dari Austria, Indonesia, dan terbentuklah budaya ketiga dari hasil percampuran ini.

Sering sekali ketika seorang TCK ditanya, "Kamu lebih merasa seperti orang (Indonesia) atau (Austria)?" atau "Kamu lebih suka negara yang mana?" jawabannya adalah, "Enggak tahu", karena dia merasa memiliki dua atau tiga budaya tapi tidak 100% karena sebagian besar masa kecilnya yang sangat multiculture dan mobile.

Manusia adalah makhluk sosial yang perlu suatu komunitas yang dapat menerimanya dan dia pun merasa diterima dan dimengerti, tapi tantangan seorang TCK adalah menentukan komunitasnya. The fact is, they are not only from one culture but all the cultures they have lived in. It is just who they are as a global citizen.

Hal ini menjadi menarik untuk diteliti lebih lanjut dari segi pembentukan karakter, pandangan hidup, bagaimana orangtua mendidik anak TCK, sense of belonging and identity, dan masa depan (settling down and career).

Mungkin diantara kita ada yang TCK atau yang merasa TCK atau bahkan akan menjadi orangtua dengan anak-anak TCK. Di era globalisasi ini, semakin banyak kesempatan studi dan kerja di luar negeri dan di masa yang akan datang, akan semakin banyak anak-anak TCK. Menurut kami, awareness tentang TCK ini penting untuk diberikan kepada masyarakat--untuk orangtua dan anak.

Salah satu hal yang menarik bagi kami adalah bagaimana para orangtua memiliki planning dan pandangan yang berbeda dalam mendidik anak mereka yang TCK. As a parent, you have the choice on how to raise your multicultural kids and it's fun as well as challenging.

Contohnya mengenai bahasa, ada yang ingin anaknya hanya fokus ke satu bahasa saja, dan ada juga, di rumah bahasa Indonesia, di sekolah bahasa Jerman dan Inggris. Ada yang membuat jadwal: Senin bahasa Inggris, Selasa bahasa Jerman, Rabu bahasa Indonesia dan seterusnya. Ada juga yang dengan ibunya, mereka hanya berbicara bahasa Indonesia dan dengan ayahnya hanya berbahasa Jerman. What may sound easier, ada juga semua kosakata dari berbagai bahasa dipakai dalam satu statement.
Pusing enggak? Hehe.

Kimberley Grimsditch adalah seorang TCK yang sering menjawab "I don't know" jika ditanya "Where are you from?"

Seorang TCK juga sering merasa kesulitan jika ditanya "Where is your hometown?" karena "where you were born or where your parents are from or where you grew up" memiliki jawaban yang berbeda-beda bagi mereka.

"I have never lived in either of my parent's countries. My Mom is from Chile and my Dad is from England. I grew up in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. I have lived in Netherlands, Vietnam, and Spain. So, usually, my answer usually is 'I don't know'. Actually, I did live in England (which is my passport country) but only moved there when I was 17. And I only lived there for 2 years out of my 25 years of life," begitu kata Kimberley.

Mungkin bagi TCK lain, seperti Hashem Galal, seorang Egyptian TCK, tidak terlalu sulit untuk menjawab pertanyaan 'Where are you from?" karena kedua orangtuanya berasal dari Egypt dan dia lahir di Egypt, walaupun besar di beberapa negara seperti Austria, Jordan, Indonesia, Benin, dan Egypt.

Berikut adalah perbincangan kami dengan Kimberley dan Hashem tentang bagaimana rasanya menjadi TCK, dan juga pendapatnya tentang pentingnya memiliki identitas dan 'roots'.

1. So when did you know the term TCK and that you are one?

Kimberley: "When people asked me 'Where are you from?' and I felt uneasy and didn't know what to say. I knew there must be others who felt like me. So when I was 15 and my friend sent me an article...I think it was when I was about 15 or 16. A friend sent me a link to an article called 'You know you're a TCK when....' and I could identify with every single point written. That was the first time I had ever heard the term 'TCK'. I then bought the book Third Culture Kids by David Pollock to learn more."

Hashem: "I first became familiar with that around 8-9 years ago, my friend, who is also a TCK, explained it to me and told me about the TCK book." 

2. How did you feel when you found out you were a TCK?

Kimberley: "I felt a sense of amazement - knowing that there's a whole group of people just like me! People who can relate to me and know exactly how I feel! I felt a sense of relief and excitement to learn more and meet other TCKs."

Hashem: "It was a positive response. It made me understand myself a bit better, and some things started to make more sense, like why I feel different from other people in my home country and why I feel that I belong nowhere and everywhere at the same time."

3. Do you think it is important to know one's identity as a TCK? 

Kimberly: "I think it's important if you feel the need for that sense of identity. It can really help  if you are experiencing a sense of disconnection (along with the other problems commonly felt by TCKs) and wondering why...I think knowing the term 'TCK' and knowing that's what you 'are' can help you feel like you belong to some kind of community, when you're normally an outsider and not quite, in my case, British/Chilean enough among your 'native' peers and family."

Hashem: "I think it is important to know one's identity as a TCK, because it helps TCKs themselves better and to identify themselves as a subgroup within society."

4. What are some good and bad sides of being a TCK or multicultural person?

Kimberley: "Being able to blend in pretty much anywhere I go is definitely one of the best things. Not being phased by other cultures, adapting super quickly, being able to be friends with anyone and everyone, being able to relate to anyone and everyone and being exposed to so many wonderful multicultural experiences. Having friends from totally different countries and being able to pick up languages fairly easily. Feeling like a citizen of the world.

As for bad things, I'd say lack of identity (even if I can identify myself as a TCK), not being British/Chilean enough (my parent's countries), always having to make new friends as a kid (and as an adult actually, as the transient nature of being a TCK has continued on in ATCK life), having no 'home' or 'roots' and feeling like I have to continue moving place to place as there is nowhere to return to.  Other bad thing is having family and friends scattered around seeing them very rarely."

Hashem: "You have seen a lot more than the average. You are more likely to accept other cultures. You had an interesting childhood. You are used to interacting with foreigners from a very early age and by the time you are 18 would have made an intensive group of international friends. The bad things are no stability, losing friends every time you move, although nowadays the internet makes this problem much less significant, not having a place you can call 'home'".

5. Did your parents know you are a TCK?

Kimberley: "I don't think so. I'm not sure if they are aware of the term. My father might be as he is actually an ATCK (British, born in Peru and raised in Chile and has now lived in the UAE for 24 years)."

Hashem: "My parents did not know about it, although they do understand that I have had difficulties moving back to my passport country."

6. Do your parents understand you or do you have some conflicting views on life?

Kimberley: "They have never opposed or questioned me as to why I keep moving from country to country, if anything they embrace it. Although my mother is not a TCK (Chilean, born and raised in Chile) she has also been living in the UAE for the last 24 years (so  a long term 'expat' - very different from TCK, annoys me when people confuse the two!) so I think that helps her to understand me to an extent, but she still has her Chilean roots, culture and language so I feel like she'll never 100% 'get' what it's like. "

Hashem: "I think we have some conflicting views on life. For example, when I tell them that I would like to live abroad again in the future, they tell me it is not going to be the same enjoyable experience I had when I was a kid."

7. How did your parents raise you in terms of adopting different cultures and languages?

Kimberley: "Unfortunately, I was not raised bilingual. English was the only language used at home. Honestly, I think I still hold resentment towards my parents about that - I often think what a shame it was they didn't make the effort to also speak to me in Spanish and how many doors that could have opened. I feel embarrassed around other Chileans or native Spanish speakers when they find out I'm half Chilean but can't speak Spanish. 

However, I understand a lot of Spanish (much more than my parents think, actually), so now as an adult, my mother will often speak to me in Spanish (and I will understand fully), but reply in English. I can also watch movies in Spanish, but because I have never actually 'used' the language, my grammar is pretty poor and I can't speak it well. It's hard to explain. Basically my receptive skills are fluent, but productive skills are not. 

As for culturally, I feel a huge sense of lacking towards the Chilean side; I have been to Chile and seen family there only twice; the last time was 20 years ago! We did not celebrate Chilean holidays nor eat Chilean food. As for the British side, I visited my family in England once a year in the summertime - it wasn't really enough to forge very close relationships with my relatives there, but possibly enough that I can say I felt slightly more 'connected' to England than Chile. 

I didn't eat British food growing up, probably watched more American TV than British as a kid, didn't have many British friends (maybe a handful) and also didn't do 'traditionally' British things at home. When I was 18 and went to live in England for the first time, for university, I felt like an outsider and couldn't relate to the culture or people there. Most of my friends were other international students. 

That is why I definitely feel like I have my own 'third culture' - I don't fit into/ have full ownership of either the first culture (Chile & England), nor the second culture (UAE). My third culture is a mix of all of them, plus the countries I have lived in since as an adult."

Hashem: "My parents sent me to international schools throughout my whole school life. At home we talk in Arabic the whole time, which is my mother tongue." 

8. Do you have an idea or plan of how you want to raise your children in the future? Do you wish to settle down or keep moving?

"I have always told myself I don't want to raise my kids the way I was raised - that I want them to have roots, stability, a sense of connection to a community and sense of belonging.

However, because of the nature of my ATCK life (I have also lived in the Netherlands, Spain and Vietnam - and will soon be moving to Japan), I realise that is quite inevitable my kids will have the same TCK upbringing I have - for starters, as an English/Chilean woman who grew up in the Middle East, it unlikely I will meet an English/Chilean man who also grew up in the UAE - my future husband will likely be from Japan, Vietnam, Germany...who knows! So there already I would have the issue of having a multicultural/racial kid.

 Let's say I marry a Japanese guy. Our hypothetical children would be Japanese/Chilean/British (and there I thought I have an identity crisis). Now let's say my hypothetical Japanese husband, is 100% born and raised Japaneseband was not prepared to leave Japan, therefore the kids would be born and raised in Japan. I'd actually feel really happy about that. Then at least my kids could feel some ownership of ONE of their 'native' cultures -  I would be so happy if they could speak Japanese fluently, go to a Japanese school and feel part of the culture. I know it's hard for multicultural kids to be fully accepted in Japanese society, but so long as my kids felt culturally Japanese, I'd be happy. That's the thing, I've never felt culturally 'anything'! What I really wouldn't  like is if my hypothetical Japanese husband said 'hey, let's go live in Kenya/Russia/Sweden etc' and my kids spent their developmental years there. I would want them to have SOME kind of tie to one of their countries. 

It probably wouldn't be to Chile or England, because I myself cannot identify myself as culturally Chilean or English, so I don't have any traditions or culture to pass onto them - except for the English language, which yes, I would definitely use with them. I would definitely want to speak both Japanese and English, as I still have resentment about not being raised bilingual. However, I would definitely try to raise my kids with the experience and knowledge I have gained  as a TCK - I would definitely want my hypothetical family to travel whenever possible, expose them to different cultures, teach them values of tolerance and diversity, encourage them to interact with people and make friends of different cultures  (maybe put them in a bilingual Japanese school or an international school) and  learn new languages."

Tedx Talk by Ruth Van Reken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrVWHfEQz6A

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