One TCK’s (Third Culture Kid) experience with friendships

by Joyce Yeh

Today I would like to share with you an example of how challenging it can be to GirlsJumpinggrow up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK). I remembered when I was 13, one day, I learned that my whole family was about to move to another country again after 3.5 years back in our home country Taiwan. That day, while in school, I said to my best friend:

“Hey, I won’t be here already next semester ”

In my head, I thought “Haha, I don’t have to be with you all the time anymore! I’m so looking forward to meeting new friends in another country.” Yet, I remember very clearly the sudden sadness on her face. She did not want me to leave at all. At that age, I did not give it much thought. All I could think of back then was how much fun it was to move around from country to country. Fast forward to more than 10 years and we are still in contact with each other.

However, over the years, we have met new friends, formed new perspectives, led on different lifestyles. There is no one to blame. Over the years living overseas, moving from place to place, I take it less seriously now that it is not easy to expect friendships to last for eternity. However, it took years for this feeling and acceptance of being a TCK to come and embrace me.

What about you? What has been your experience with friendships and being a TCK?

Joyce is a young Chinese TCK writer who talks about Chinese cultural misunderstandings, doubts and confrontations in daily life at

4 responses to “One TCK’s (Third Culture Kid) experience with friendships

  1. I was born in the West Indies, raised in Australia, and have lived in the USA for the past 33 years. I grew up hating good-byes. Even as a child I somehow understood that nothing would be the same with my friends. And it hasn’t been. I thought Facebook would bridge the years, but things seemed forced and awkward, and I soon closed my account. This sounds negative, but I wouldn’t trade my experience as a TCK for anything. Culturally, it was an incredible life.

  2. Hi there! I absolutely agree with you. I wouldn’t want to trade my experience as a TCK for anything either! 🙂

  3. I can SO identify with this post. Thanks for sharing. Lovely, your positive ending of “I have so much to show you”. Being immersed into a totally new place, quickly figuring out the what’s and hows and phrases and bus lines etc can be soo addictive, and having to live in a small place with people who never went anywhere and who have a knitted sign over their door Home is Best can be so claustrophobic! 😉

  4. thank you for the positive comment! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s