Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
questioning my identity
As a Filipino-American girl living in Singapore, doing Irish dancing and taekwondo, I am used to the label of a Third Culture Kid, after all, I was raised in a culture different from my parent's origin and was exposed to a larger variety of cultural influences. However, in my school being a third culture kid is not unique, almost everyone is a third culture kid as being international students, we are all expats.
Growing up, I had my fair share of lemonade stands, thanksgivings and blanket forts, but those stands were also used for sharing Hongboa's, that dining table for setting out coloured dye to celebrate Holi with our neighbours, and those blankets, for 'lion dancing' shows where my siblings and I would hop from chair to chair with the blankets over our heads. I grew up celebrating Deepavali with my friends and stealing Haw Flakes from my siblings, so when I reached the age of 14 and was asked whether or not I was a Third Culture Kid, I confidently answered, yes! Yet now the answer's less clear in my eyes.
My own definition of a third culture kid is someone that is immersed in the said culture, the keyword being: immersed. As I grew older and head into high school, I began to realise something I had dismissed the majority of my childhood. In Singapore, there is a very solid line between the international students and the local kids, something I had never really understood until I brought it up the dilemma with my kindergarten classmates, 2 of us had gone on to be international students and the other, a local student. The main reasoning for this distinct separation is because international and local students each hold their own stereotypes of the other. International kids also cannot attend local schools, even if they wish to or their parents wish them to, and vice versa, with the exception if permission is granted from the Singapore board of education. This lack of connection with local kids my age meant I lacked what I believed to be the true definition of a third culture kid, immersion.
Nevertheless, every time after those 8 hours from JFK to Heathrow Airport, and 13 hours to Singapore, the dark glowing lights of Singapore's business centres are always a welcoming sight back home. The comforting spice-filled smell that my friend's mom's pav bhaji gives off and the surprised look on the hawker stall vendors have when I say a phrase in Hindi that is whispered to me, that's what I identify as home. The constant change, yet the comforting feeling of familiar foods and celebration full of laughter and significance.
So even though I am not really certain of my answer to the question 'Are you a third culture kid' anymore, I don't actually mind. Sure, it made me question my identity once in a while, it made me stand out when I went to the US for camp and in the Philippines when we visited family, but I grew up in a completely different environment from my cousins and my kindergarten classmates and I am proud of that. I am Filipino and American, I've lived in Singapore my whole life, I do Irish dancing and Taekwondo and I may or may not be a third culture kid, but I don't really mind.