Hey guys. I don't know if anyone still reads this, haha but the last time I spoke to some high school friends, they said that they still check up on me occasionally. So hello Juliana, Cynthia and Snoopy :)
Boy, where do I begin? Gamsat is next week. I finally got myself into this nice little routine where I'd wake up at 5:45 am, sleep on the train, gym, have breakfast at VC, do a bit of gsat, then begin my day. Everything has been quite full on cos I've also got my lit review due 3 weeks after gamsat and my Mum and sister just left for a holiday so Dad and I have to fend for ourselves lol.
Anyway, so a friend of mine told me that theres a name for people who grow up in a different country/culture to their parents (basically me and 100% of my friends, also prob something close to 50% of aussie kids, even. lol don't quote me)
So we are whats referred as 'third culture kids', children or adults now, who were once children who grew up in a culture that is different to the culture of their parents. There's a whole list of characteristics on wiki about us and they're pretty much all very true. What was surprising to me was that this term was coined in the 50's. Although, I guess a lot of people did migrate/immigrate post war etc.
We third culture kids are/have:
-bi or multilingual: true of pretty much all my friends
-an expanded world view: so we can view situations from multiple perspectives because we have been exposed to two (or many) different cultures who approach issues differently
-interpersonal sensitivity: this was like a big "TRUUUU" moment when I read this, haha. So because we've been exposed to multiple cultures, we are able to control our actions and emotions and are adept in registering societal norms and cues which differ to our own culture(s). Essentially, were more sensitive to the idea that people from different cultures do things differently and eat weird shit and have odd customs, but we're very open minded about it and are more readily accepting of these new ways as 'just how they do it, cos its a part of their culture' Some of my mono cultural friends can come off as rude when they just innocently ask or say things like 'but that's not how you do it' or 'thats the wrong way' etc. Even my relatives in vietnam (mono cultural) view some things that westerners do as out right crazy and will verbally express this. Although most westerners won't understand, haha.
-cultural adaptability: not just being able to move across diff countries with different cultures and be a bit more accepting of it, but also including the adaptability to different organisations, like cultural fit in a corporation.
Although we have an upper hand in these regards, we also face many challenges:
- Confused loyalties: This one rang true for me quite profoundly. So third culture kids can be confused about politics, patriotism and values. This is loosely related to having an identity crisis, which I know a lot of people face. Like, am I Australian or am I Vietnamese? because there is a clear distinction between the two in terms of political beliefs, cultural customs and values. And there hasn't really been a place before that has the amalgamation of both in harmony. So I guess were kind of the pioneers of that group. Like Aussie-asians. I know, especially for myself, that I don't feel like an aussie-asian. Its more like sometimes I'm more aussie and other times im more asian. I understand that I am both, but my identity makes a bit more 'sense' when I chose one of the two sides. I guess it is quite dynamic. And I do switch between the two. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't feel like adding vegemite to pho is ever going to be a thing that works well enough to be socially accepted. LOL
Ignorance of home culture: I literally know nothing concrete about what life is like in Vn. I can't really say that I understand what it's like to grow up in a developing country, or to go home from school between 11 and 1 to have lunch and then return. You know, like I may know a little bit of info, but its all anecdotal. I never really experienced it. (which goes back to how sometimes I can feel more australian than vietnamese, of course the converse situation also exists)
Adjusting to adult life: a mixture of influences from many cultures can make it hard to develop an identity and a sense of belonging. I think these all go hand in hand.
Anyway, I thought that was an interesting concept. It's nice to know that there's a name for what I am, haha.
Its late, until next month!