Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas around the world.

Sorry to say I don't have much inspiration today, but I do want to wish you all a happy Christmas. So I will start by doing that in several different languages. On this website you can even hear how some are pronounced. As a third culture kid I grew up multilingual and I still enjoy hearing different languages being spoken around me.
  • Prettige kerstdagen en een gelukkig nieuw jaar (that's in Dutch)
  • Merry Christmas and a happy new year
  • Noflike Krystdagen en folle lok en seine (Frisian, the language spoken in the North of the Netherlands. It's the language my grandparents spoke). It's my "father tongue".
  • Joyeaux Noël et bonne année (French, the language I learned at school)
  • Feliz Natal! Feliz Ano Novo! (Portuguese, the language my parents learned when they had passed the age of 50 years and were preparing to work in Angola).
  • Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta (Finnish, just because the words look nice).
  • Glædelig jul og godt nytår (Danish, it sounds nice) .
 Here is some interesting information about Christmas around the world: 
  1. Did you know that the expats in Africa are most likely to make a call home at Christmas?
  2. Want to read more about what Christmas looks like for third culture kids? Read Libby Stephens' post called: Christmas TCK style.
  3. Did you know that: Christmas Day is just an ordinary day for most Chinese people. Sarah Crack is a teacher in Tianjin, China tells about it on the Telegraph website.
  4. Want to know how Christmas is celebrated here in the Netherlands? Read about it on The Expatica website. 
  5. For Dutch kids Sinterklaas is associated with getting presents. Read all about Sinterklaas on a previous blog post of mine.  
  6. Do you want to see a fresh telling of the first Christmas (done by children)? Go over to the Third Culture Kids & company website. Enjoy.
Well as a third culture kid we celebrated Christmas many times in Malawi and Zimbabwe. My memories of those times are a mixture of English carol singing, church, pot luck meals (yummy! trifles and more), new made friends, swimming, eating, making music and of course a Christmas tree. Even though there was never snow!
  • What are your Christmas memories? If you can say happy Christmas in an additional language please add it in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Video: Third culture kids and Global Nomads, their point of view!

Here is a film produced by ECIS. In the film children third culture kids are interviewed on different topics. These kids have lived in many different countries across the globe. Watch and listen to their story. First they explain in their own words what a third culture kid is.

This is list of the advantages of growing up as a third culture kid, as told by the children in the video. 

The kids say that they:
  1. Are more accepting of different cultures and other people.
  2. Learn more new cultures and learn new languages.
  3. Can understand the world better if you live in different parts of the world.
  4. Can see more of the world and not live a boring life.
  5. Can move around and have experiences that most other kids don't have.
  6. Get to meet new people.
  7. Get to make many new friends.
  8. Have an extra level of knowledge.
  9. Enjoy life and do not take things for granted (they have seen poverty and seen the extremes of life).
  10. Have more opportunities and can get a better education.

In a future blog post I will talk about the challenges the kids mention. Here's a list of My 10 disadvantages of growing up in another culture. I have written about My 10 advantages of growing up in another culture.  

If you want to know more about what children think of growing up abroad then I can recommend this interview What it's like to a third culture kid. Eleven year old Eliana explains all about being a TCK. She even has her own blog: TCKids (for Kids by a Kid).

What's your experience? What's your story? I would love to hear from you.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Just discovered a new book. Writing out of Limbo: The International Childhood Experience of Global Nomads & Third Culture Kids

I am so excited. I just discovered a new book all about third culture kids. I just can't wait to get my hands on it. I have a love for books anyway, but if the books are on subjects that I am interested about then the love is even greater. On Amazon I discovered that this book has 498 pages, so there's lots of "food for thought" there. The book has only just been published: 1st of December 2011, by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

The new book "Writing Out of Limbo: the International Childhood Experience of Global Nomads and Third Culture kids" by Gene H. Bell-Villada and Nina Sichel with Faith Eidse and Elaine Neil Orr. For a sample of the book, including the table of contents click here.

Here's what I read about the book that made my heart beat faster:

In this groundbreaking collection, writers from around the world address issues of language acquisition and identity formation, childhood mobility and adaptation, memory and grief, and the artist’s struggle to articulate the experience of growing up global. And, woven like a thread through the entire collection, runs the individual’s search for belonging and a place called “home.” 

About the authors: Gene H. Bell-Villada, born in Haiti of US parents, was raised in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela. A professor of Romance Languages at Williams College (Massachusetts), he is the author or editor of ten books, including a TCK memoir, Overseas American: Growing Up Gringo in the Tropics (2005). Nina Sichel is co-editor, with Faith Eidse, of Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing Up Global (2004), the first collection of memoirs by Third Culture Kids and Global Nomads. Raised among expats in Venezuela, she relocated many times as an adult, and currently leads memoir and guided writing workshops near Washington, DC. Last but not least editor Elaine Neil Orr whom I heard came up with the title of the book! (Sorry Elaine I forgot you the first time round).

This is what others say about the book:

“Well-grounded in classical perspectives and new visions of what it means to live in an intercultural world, the book offers a wonderful array of memoir, research, interviews, theory and even poetry. There’s something for everyone here!” Anne P. Copeland, PhD, Director, The Interchange Institute

“I recommend this book to all parents who are creating TCKs; to teachers and professors of TCKs; for general reading and understanding of the making of a citizen of the world; and, finally, to TCKs themselves, who will see that their experiences are shared with many others. Linda A. Garvelink, President, Foreign Service Youth Foundation

As I read about the book I think this is a "must have" for anybody doing research on third culture kids or cross cultural kids. I am glad that there is an increasing amount of books and information available for parents, teachers, therapists, adult third culture kids and anyone interested in this subject. Thanks for publishing this book!

If anyone is interested there is an interview available (free) by Jo Parfitt with Nina Sichel co-editor of the anthology Unrooted Childhoods, about her second anthology, called Writing Out of Limbo on the Writers abroad radio show.

Related posts:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Meet Sammy the snail, a third culture kid!

Here are some of Sammy's tips if you are moving overseas:

  1.  Keep family traditions alive (like celebrating Sinterklaas?)
  2. Bring soms familiar items from your home and put them in your new home.
  3. Create a special album or a box with memories and add new things as you go along. Then when you look at it you can remember all the great times.
  4. Stay in touch with old friends. Email is a good idea or you can also send a parcel.

Sammy hopes you have a great move! 

Do you want to know more about Sammy? In an earlier post called Global Nomads on the move part 2 I wrote about Helen Maffini's book called Sammy's Next Move. Helen was a third culture kid and she has lived and worked in 11 countries. Helen is a Canadian/British educational consultant who is currently living in Australia. 

Want to read more?

Global Nomads on the move it includes the short film MOVE, worth watching.
Libby Stephens explains what third culture kids are.
Children of the World: where are your roots?
Aga Magdolen's film "Les Passagers"
New book "Emotional Resilience and the expat child"by Julia Simens 

Do you have tips when moving with children? If you were a third culture kid, do you have memories of your moves? Any advice?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Twitter update: week 49. All about third culture kids

 Having a Baby Abroad - Global Differences Series: QATAR

New book coming up: Third culture kids & Global effects on Business Sustainability.

How Third Culture Kid’s Natural Cross Cultural Vision Can Power International Business Expansion  

Christmas traditions that just didn't happen.

Immigration and Language:  

Debora talks more about moving back to Switzerland as a TCK. Adjustments. Difficulties.

Many children are 'third culture kids' find out what this means and the challenges expat parents can face

A recovering third culture kid tells of fond memories of a "Displaced Christmas" in

Writer Pico Iyer describes himself as "a global village on 2 legs" Check out this interview:

So true and funny too! Read this: Top 10 Third Culture Kid Quirks

Gijs woont nu in : een interview met een third culture kid bij Wereldkids.

Want to read more? Here's my Twitter update week 43 all about kids growing up in other cultures.
Here you can find Great third culture kid information on the web.

Please add your links if you have an interesting blog or know of a good blog or website. Thanks!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wat missen Nederlanders in het Buitenland?

Er is pas De Grote Mis Verkiezing gehouden. Wat mis je het meest in het buitenland. Nederlanders en Vlamingen over de hele wereld konden stemmen. De televisie zender BVN hield deze Mis verkiezing. BNV staat voor het Beste van Vlaanderen en Nederland en is de publieke televisiezender voor Nederlandstaligen in het buitenland. Er waren meer dan 10 duizend reacties. Sommige missen een huis vol bloemen of gewoon naar de markt gaan om tulpen te kopen.

Foto genomen in Keukenhof Lisse

Op de website De Grote Mis Verkiezing konden mensen aangeven wat zij het meeste missen in het buitenland.  

Hier is de top 10:
  1. Haring 9,1%
  2. Kroket 8,6%
  3. Kaas 8,1% Zijn wij dan toch echte "Kaas Koppen"?
  4. Hema 8% dan zing ik meteen "Echte Hema!"
  5. Familie/vrienden 6,7%
  6. Fietsen 6,5% Nederkand is ook een echt fietsland. 13,5 miljoen Nederlanders (84%) heeft één of meerdere fietsen. Lees hier Fietsen in cijfers van de Fietsersbond.
  7. Bakker producten 3,7%
  8. Gezelligheid 2,2% (dit is een Nederlands woord dat niet goed in het Engels te vertalen is)
  9. Sinterklaas 2,1% ik heb laatst ook geschreven over Sinterklaas in het buitenland vieren?
  10. Beleg/slaatjes 2,1%
Hier is een kort filmpje van het jeugdjournaal er over dat heet Kroket meer gemist dan oma.
De Belgen in het buitenland missen friet het meest (16,9%)! Er zijn een aantal overeenkomsten met de Nederlanders. Wat Belgen ook missen zijn garnalen, bier, chocola, humor en de markten. Familie en vrienden komen pas op de 8ste plaats.

Tijdens mijn kinderjaren heb ik in Afrika gewoond. Ik kan vooral herinneren dat hagelslag en drop voor ons heel speciaal waren en dat bezoekers uit Nederland dit voor ons meenamen. Er was een periode dat er geen rozijnen of krenten te koop waren in Zimbabwe en ik weet nog dat mensen dit voor ons in hun koffers bij zich hadden. Het kan ook zijn dat wij zelf krenten en rozijnen uit Nederland meebrachten. Ze werden beward voor oudjaarsavond en moesten natuurlijk in de oliebollen mix. Ik weet ook nog dat mijn oma een keer bij ons op bezoek kwam in Malawi en dat zij samen met mijn moeder witte kool omtoverde tot "zuurkool"! Ja stamppotten zijn volgens mij ook typisch Hollands.

Ik heb eerder geschreven over Herinnering aan Holland.
Waar kom je vandaan?
Vliegende Hollanders
Kinderboek "Ik Heb het Niet Bedacht"
Ontdekken dat je een Third Culture Kid bent

Wat mis jij in het buitenland? Waar heb je alles voor over om het het te eten of te kunnen doen? Herken je deze top 10?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Top 10 countries for Raising Children abroad in 2011

The Expat Explorer Survey 2011 is a survey in which 3385 expats participated from over a 100 countries of the world. I am most interested in the chapter on raising children abroad. In other words that is the chapter on raising third culture kids. I want to know which country parents think is the best to raise your kids.

The survey looked at 3 main factors on raising kids abroad. These are the 3 factors:
  1. Childcare (safety of children, standard of education, quality of childcare and overall cost of raising children)
  2. Health and wellbeing (spending time outdoors, spending time with parents, playing sports, playing video games, watching TV, children eat less junk food now)
  3. Integration (settled in quicker than parents, enjoyed their lives, are learning new languages, missing home and friends, social integration)
Scores from each factor are weighted to arrive at an overall Raising Children Abroad score and overall rank. The weighting applied is as follows: childcare - 33,3%, Health & wellbeing - 33,3% and Integration 33,3%.

Now here are the top 10 countries for raising children abroad according to this survey:
  1. France
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Australia
  4. Hong Kong
  5. China
  6. Singapore
  7. United Arab Emirates
  8. Mexico
  9. United States
  10. United Kingdom
France provides the best environment for raising children, with the Netherlands second best and Australia in third place. Children in these countries appear to lead a much healthier lifestyle: spending more time outdoors and more time playing sports. Of course I am a little proud that the Netherlands scores so well on raising children. I will share more specific results about the Netherlands in one of my next blog posts.

What are your experiences with raising kids abroad? Do they match the results of this survey? Do you have tips for other parents? Please share it with us. Thanks.

Good reads:
Bilingualism and growing up abroad
My 10 advantages of growing up abroad
Third culture kids: learning their mother tongue
Third culture kids going to university

Photo by KConners, MorgueFile

Sunday, 4 December 2011

To do or not to do: Celebrate Sinterklaas abroad?

Sinterklaas coming to town 2011, Nederland
It's the time of year in the Netherlands that all the children are excited. They are full of anticipation, they are expecting a bag full of presents. It's the time of year that "Sinterklaas" is celebrated. He arrived in the Netherlands on the 12th of November this year and since then there has been a daily Sinterklaas news show on television for the children. This is the Dutch website of het Sinterklaas journaal (the news). Here the Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that Sinterklaas arrived safely in the Netherlands. This is an interesting fact: The arrival of Saint Nicholas #sinterklaasintocht even became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter for a while on Saturday.

I was talking to my brother-in-law last week and he told me that he enjoys hearing our stories and seeing the photos of our Sinterklaas celebrations in Malawi and Zimbabwe. He said "that is probably the most Dutch thing that you did when you lived there". For the Dutch community in Harare, Zimbabwe my dad was the Sinterklaas and as teenagers we dressed up as zwarte Piet (black Peter). I remember being stared at driving through the streets of Harare dressed up as zwarte Piet. I must admit I have fond memories of our Sinterklaas celebrations abroad.

On the InCulture website there is a blog post about St. Nicholas day. There a several countries in Europe where they celebrate a variation of Sinterklaas.

I met an expat here in the Netherlands and she has written several blog posts about Sinterklaas. I will add the links because sometimes it's good to have an objective description from an "outsider". To get into the feel of it. Here is Fourier Analyst her English Pepernoten recipe and her English recipe for Kruidnoten. Both pepernoten and kruidnoten are biscuits that are typical for Sinterklaas celebrations. Many schools and even daycare centres have the kids make these small biscuits as a fun activity. Here Fourier Analyst writes about the history of Sinterklaas. In the following posts she explains the traditions of adding poems to the presents and there is a lot more interesting information.
Who is coming to you house? part II
Who is coming to your house? part III
Who is coming to your house? part IV
Who is coming to you house? part V
Who is coming to your house? part VI

Did you know that half a billion chocolate coated pepernoten cookies are expected to be sold this holiday season?

There is a Dutch website for children abroad called Wereldkids. On their website you can see Sinterklaas in Madrid, Spain and in Singapore. There is even a photo competition for the best photo of a Sinterklaas celebration abroad. The winning photo's were made in Austria, Entebbe (Uganda) and Accra (Ghana), have a look.

This year for the first time in many years Sinterklaas did not officially arrive in Vancouver, Canada. The reason was that Zwarte Piet (black Peter) was not allowed to be part of the celebrations. There were accusations of racism. They decided that if Zwarte Piet was not allowed then the celebrations would be cancelled. So the question is to celebrate or not to celebrate Sinterklaas abroad? Do we teach our third culture kids abroad our home traditions or not? What do you think? What are your memories of celebrations abroad?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Vragen over wat third culture kids zijn en over identiteit.

Laatst kreeg ik een email van een medewerker van My Heritage blog met een aantal vragen over wat een third culture kid is. Inmiddels hebben zij een blog bericht over "Third culture kids" geplaatst. Zij hebben een leuk stukje over Jutta König geschreven. Hier heb ik ook al eens geschreven over een artikel van Jutta König.
Ik ben blij dat er steeds meer aandacht komt (ook in Nederland) voor third culture kids. Ik was wel nieuwsgierig wat My precies is.

Hier komt het " is gesticht door een team van mensen met een passie voor genealogie en een goede kennis van de internettechnologie. Wij willen mensen overal ter wereld helpen om de kracht van het internet te gebruiken om hun verleden te ontdekken en hun banden met familie en vrienden te versterken."

Deze vragen werden aan mij gesteld en hier zijn mijn antwoorden, ik vond het goeie vragen vandaar dat ik ze ook met jullie wil delen.

Wat is volgens u een TCK?
Een third culture kid is iemand die een deel van zijn jeugd in een andere cultuur heeft doorgebracht. Je kunt denken aan kinderen van diplomaten, militairen, zendelingen, ontwikkelingswerkers, tropenartsen, emigranten maar ook van vluchtelingen enz. Ik ben van mening dat er in toenemende mate third culture kids zullen opgroeien. Tegenwoordig kunnen wij veel makkelijker reizen en is emigreren makkelijker dan jaren geleden.

Hoe heeft u het leven in diverse landen ervaren?
Ik ben geboren in Zambia en heb tot dat ik naar de universiteit ging in Malawi en Zimbabwe gewoond. Ik heb goeie herinneringen aan mijn jeugd. Wij hadden avontuurlijk vakanties: beklommen mount Mulanje in Malawi, zwommen in het meer van Malawi, gingen op safari in een wildpark enz. Ik heb altijd Engelstalig onderwijs gehad, voornamelijk op international schools. Met enige regelmaat gingen wij op verlof naar Nederland.

Heeft u door dit leven problemen ervaren met uw identiteit?
Ja dat wel. Ik voelde mij in Afrika erg Nederlands met mijn blonde haren en blauwe ogen. Wij vierde sinterklaas thuis en spraken over Nederland als "thuis". De schok kwam toen ik als 19 jarige zelfstandig naar de universiteit ging in Nederland. Ik kwam erachter dat ik er misschien wel uitzag als een Nederlander maar ik voelde mij veel meer een "African". Inmiddels heb ik begrepen dat ze dat ook wel een "verborgen immigrant" noemen. Niemand kon aan mij zien dat ik mij helemaal niet thuis voelde in Nederland. Ik kende de grapjes niet, de TV series, de normen en waarden. Het was zo verwarrend en een hele eenzame tijd.

Op mijn blog heb ik er iets over geschreven: Waar kom je vandaan? Hier kan je ook meer lezen over terugkeer. Wat mij geholpen heeft is het lezen van het boek "Third Culture Kids, the experience of growing up among worlds" geschreven door David Pollock en Ruth van Reken. Ik kwam er achter dat er niks mis was met mij maar dat mijn verwarring alles te maken had met mijn levenservaringen en het opgroeien in andere culturen. Het was zo herkenbaar, heerlijk. Wat een verademing. Ik hoop erg dat er meer bekendheid in Nederland komt over third culture kids daarom ben ik ook mijn blog DrieCulturen begonnen. Ik denk dat de informatie in dat boek veel mensen kan helpen.

Voelt u zich Nederlander?

Ja ik voel mij Nederlander maar toen ik jaren geleden met het vliegtuig aankwam in Zimbabwe weet ik dat ik op het moment dat ik uit het vliegtuig stapte en de geur op snoof en de warmte voelde wist "dit is thuis", dit voelt zo goed. Mogelijk voel ik mij dus ook wereldburger. Ik bloei op met mensen van meerdere culturen om mij heen. Daar geniet ik echt van.
Ik wil nog iets toevoegen. Ik ben erg blij dat mijn ouders mij Nederlands hebben leren spreken en schrijven. Ik denk wel dat taal en identiteit verweven zijn. Lees hier meer over op mijn blog bericht over taal. Ik heb op mijn blog een aantal voorbeelden van Nederlanders die een deel van hun jeugd in een andere cultuur gewoond hebben, (TCKs).

Voor diegene die dit lezen en in het buitenland opgegroeid zijn: Voel jij je een Nederlander of een wereldburger. Hoe was het om terug naar Nederland te komen? Waar liep je tegen aan?