Written by Hussein
BA Hons Multimedia Journalism
I first learned the label ‘third culture kid’ when I was seventeen and I was immediately intrigued. It was nice to put a label to something unknown, especially when the conversations of “Where are you from?” would arise. Third Culture Kid is defined as those individuals who are raised in a culture different from their parents or their country of nationality.
I was born on the Western side of Malaysia, and shortly moved to the Eastern side. At the age of seven, I moved to Saudi Arabia, where the rest of my life resided until university approached. In Saudi, I attended an American High School and learned the ways of the world through American teachers, however my friends and community come from all kinds of backgrounds all over the world.
At one point my identity was stuck, I was Malaysian but not the most fluent in its culture or language. I am not Arab, even if Saudi Arabia is my home, and I am not American even if my accent says otherwise. So when people ask me, “Where are you from?” I would often respond with a short explanation to give an insight of myself, because I felt as if only naming my country of birth was not an accurate reflection of who I am.
Since moving to the UK, I was quick to adapt. I try to learn the culture, the lifestyle, and even shifting my intonations to some words – unintentionally. Of course I won’t be parading around calling myself British, but living here will shape another aspect of my personality. The more I interact with this world, with locals, and with my degree, I can’t help but incorporate new elements to my life from this culture.
You may be wondering what the point of this blog and my explanation of my background is for. Well the point is this… international living can be a scary venture. Your life from one place to another will need to adjust and adapt. There’s no doubt you will carry on who you are when you get here, but you will soon learn about an entirely new culture that you can choose to adopt. That’s the beauty of international living, it allows us to take a step into all sorts of perspectives and learn the multi-faceted opportunities that the world can give.
So, whether you are an international student growing up or have become one since attending university in the UK, just know that you should make this life as fun as it can be and grab every opportunity you can. Share with this world who you are and the culture you will be bringing to the table, and don’t shy away from learning about the culture you will be immersed in.