Expatriation: Return on experience from a Third Cultural Kid

Planning on moving abroad with your family? The following is an article submitted by a Third Cultural Kid which gives an honest and realistic overview of the experience and the benefits gained from their perspective.

Would you like to live abroad for a while?

"Living abroad can be exciting, as well as terrifying. People surely think of it as a way of escaping their everyday life. But when it comes to confronting the reality of change, their dreams can fade away and they are sometimes disappointed. 

Living abroad means adventure, new style, meeting new people and a new way of thinking and living. It is also best adapted for certain types of people. Not everyone is able to live abroad. You should be open-minded and prepared to be out of your comfort zone. The thirst for adventure and the desire to learn from foreign civilizations should be the main motivations.
if this is not the case, it is useless, and you will waste your time because it is not made for you.
Due to my personal experience abroad, I can really tell you how I felt living abroad, the good aspects and what it brought to me. Nevertheless, there are some aspects that you are never completely prepared for, that can negatively impact your experience.

Firstly, you realize that you imagine the perfect life that you are going to lead. You are sure and certain that it will go well (because why not?). Most of the time you have a conception that is actually far from the reality of the life you will lead there.
The first year is dedicated to discovery. Yet this first year which is supposed to be wonderful is fraught with difficulties. Adapting to a different lifestyle is often difficult, especially if you have never lived in another country before. You must integrate into a new school. Fortunately, there are often other students coming from different countries. I was also able to learn a new language; International schools are wonderful since you go to classes mixed with other nationalities.
If integration can sometimes be difficult at the beginning, at the end you realize that it was an extraordinary experience that you may never live again.

Most of the time you have a quality of life that is not comparable elsewhere. I led a sunny life 3/4 of the year and once a week, I went surfing with my friends. Good weather and weekends sunbathing were part of my daily life. But don’t be fooled, I was in a privileged environment.

I also had the opportunity to discover breathtaking landscapes that you may never see twice in your life.

Your whole daily life is turned upside down from changes. With hindsight, we forget the difficult moments and only remember the best, you make incredible acquaintances and see things that will change your life".

A special thanks to this TCK for sharing their experience.

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