Advice from a Third Culture Kid
written by Andrea
My parents were born in the US, met in college, got married and had my sister in 1990. In 1992 my dad had the opportunity to come to Basel on an 18 month assignment. Funnily enough he was only offered the assignment because the person they originally wanted to send had a girlfriend and not a wife - someone the company would not pay for to join him abroad. My dad packed everything up - including my mom and two year old sister - and they came to Basel. They were provided a furnished apartment and did not plan on staying. In 1994 I was born in Basel. At this point they were still in that furnished apartment in Kleinbasel. However, it was becoming more clear that they were going to be here for a while longer.
When it was time for schooling to start my parents thought about sending us to an English speaking school or the local Swiss school. They decided that
"the girls should get as much of an immersed experience as they can. They will still learn English at home and should learn as much of the local language as possible."
I am so glad they did.
Now 28 years later, they are still here, my sister is married and my parents are now grandparents and they in all likelihood will never move back to the US. Over the years they have made many friends my sister and I call family.
I am very grateful for my parents sending my poor sister into Swiss Kindergarten with absolutely no knowledge of German. She brought it into the home and allowed me to learn it from an early age too, making us fully bilingual at this point in our lives.
My advice to people challenged with living in another country, and especially raising children in that new place is to let them be fully immersed in that place. Even if you end up going home again (or not...), they will thank you for it. I know I am thankful for it.