A young lady from China knows the answer
Emily Speidel is currently spending her voluntary social year (IFFD) at the Diospi-Suyana-School. Apart from her valuable work with the pupils she also has a lot to tell the missionary families. She spent four formative years of her youth in China. On Tuesday night she gave a talk to the missionary parents on the topic of “Third culture kids“.
“Third culture kids“ – or “TCKs” for short – are defined as children who have spent a significant time of their formative years outside of their parents’ culture (David C. Pollock). At Diospi Suyana we have 38 such children, whose parents are working as missionaries at either the Colegio or the Hospital.
The parents then discussed the strengths and weaknesses of “TCKs”. The friendships and relationships of third culture kids have particular characteristics and when they then return to their homeland further challenges await them.
The differences between the missionary kids in Curahuasi and their European peers are at times quite amusing. In Peru they quickly learn that stones are the best means of defence against stray dogs, how to march properly, that a warm shower is bliss and that cui (guinea pig) tastes delicious.
They have no problem finding their way around international airports, but in their homeland they initially struggle with taking the right bus or buying the right ticket. “TCKs” have a high level of organisation, pack their suitcases wisely and travel multilingually through the world. When they speak their parents’ language errors often creep in and when they write it they battle against the pitfalls of spelling. But once they have mastered these challenges they become confident cosmopolitans.
All in all the evening encouraged us. We want to motivate our children to accept their experiences of a foreign culture as a unique chance for their future lives. In July Emily will address this topic with our children. We missionary parents would really value your prayers for them. / Renate Malisi