If someone asks me who and what kind of person I am, the perfect answer would be “I am TCK (third culture kids)”. I don’t necessarily like the word ‘culture’ as it is coined by human and embeded the concept of social norm. But this terminology has perfectly explained who and what kind of person I am.
*If you are not familiar with the terminology or the characteristics, please read this article.
To give a brief introduction about myself, I am a TCK with Korean, Polish, American, Malawian background. Being in those countries regardless of how long I’ve been there, it has made who I am today.
I hold a Korean passport and I am living in Korea. I kind of settled in Korea and thought I could make something out of it by pursuing my dreams. However, it seems difficult due to my nature of characteristics of TCK.
According to the article from ‘The Telegraph’, the followings are the biggest struggles/characteristics of TCK. It’s mainly focused on the expats, but it does apply tremendously.
1. answering the question “where are you from?”
-> The concept of ” home ” is a question itself
2. explaining your “international” accent
3. mixing up your languages
4. planning holidays
-> there are so many countries when choosing which country to visit for the holidays
5. Long-distance friends and relationships
-> they are literally all over the place
6. Dealing with ridiculous questions
-> for me it was “Does Poland use English?”
7. Constant need to travel
8. Passport and immigration
9. Explaining your lifestyle
-> It maybe different with others
10. Different currencies and cost of living
-> it applys for the expats
For me, from tiny things such as respecting others culture and being open to somewhat different has made who I am today. But it sometimes can cause a problem.
I thought everything was fine until the previous and current workplace in Korea. I was lucky to have met a wonderful bosses and colleagues who were understandable to someone from multicultural background. But my previous and current workplace seems to be wanting to default the culture to Korean culture only. It’s not like I dislike the culture. I dislike the amazingly perplexed hierarchy and respecting culture. (other countries might be the same too )
Whenever I tried to learn it, there was a glass wall called ” mindset.” I have heard that I have a tendency to be straight forward and cannot read between the lines when it comes to Korean and its culture.
My Korean isn’t that perfect. I am still learning the TPO phrases and behaviors and it never seems to end. But amongst all, the biggest issues are learning cultural norm of language skills and behaviors, seeking for a challenge. For the language, I should’ve learned along with understanding the culture.:/
Now, I’ve came to a point where I am bored and doesn’t feel any kind of challenge other than leaving the office ASAP. Looking for a challenge and something interesting is a challenge itself now.
Being a TCK is great sometimes. I wouldn’t change anything except persuading myself working in Korea. Double standards and expectations that I can’t really fulfill is bringing struggles.
At first, I thought it’s a problem of myself by not being able to stand still at boring times. But now, I think being a TCK could have an influence.