Struggles of a Third Culture Kid

The term ‘third culture kid’ refers to someone who was brought up within a culture to that of which is different from their parents.

I hadn’t realised how interesting my life was until I realised that this was a term. My dad is from Bristol, England and my mum is from Bangkok, Thailand. My parents were brought to Hong Kong for my dad’s job and that’s where I was then born and bred.

Once I moved to England for University, I started to notice a few things that got pretty darn tedious after a while, so here are what I think are my biggest struggles being a third culture kid!

Explaining where I’m from 

The question of “where are you from?” causes me genuine stress.. like no word of a lie. I end up explaining my entire life story because I’m not sure if someone wants to know where my parents are from or where I was brought up because a lot of the time when I answer “Hong Kong” to this question, very often I will get “but you don’t look Chinese..?” – YES THAT’S BECAUSE I’M NOT! THANK YOU! AND GOOD BYE!

Explaining my International Accent

So often I will also get “are you American?” or I’ll get people who don’t say very much the first time they meet me because they’re unsure and trying to figure out where I’m from based on my accent. Having gone to an international school in Hong Kong, you could say my accent was all over the shop with certain words said in an English accent and some said American.

Mixing My Languages

This is a strange one for me because Thai and English could not be more different if they tried. But so many times I find Thai words come to my head first, especially if I’ve just been on the phone to my mum, and next thing I know I’ve said something in both English and Thai out loud and I won’t notice it until my friends faces literally replicate Jackie Chan below:

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Planning Holidays

All my holidays such as Summer, Christmas etc. are spent with my family back in Hong Kong however this becomes incredibly difficult when tickets have to be booked months in advance and all your friends are planing holidays abroad or trips away. I’m constantly trying to push people to book these ideas for holidays and trips months and months in advance so that I can organise my journey home afterwards – but that’s almost impossible when they don’t need to think about it for ages because they just drive home and that’s when tickets start to then get very expensive for me!😅

Long Distance Relationships

Being a third culture kid you get used to goodbyes, and used to all your friends being spread out all over the world. My friends are barely in Hong Kong anymore and are now spread all over the UK, America, Australia and everywhere else! So similar to the point above, it gets very difficult trying to organise everyone being in Hong Kong at the same time for holidays. You also lose a LOT of friends from home in the process as you find that effort is only made with the people that you’re truly friends with when you’re all the way across the world. On top of this, you become used to only being able to see your parents twice a year which SUCKS!

RIDICULOUS Questions

If I had a penny for every time I was asked “So do you speak Japanese?” or “How come you can speak such good English?” HONESTLY PEOPLE! No I don’t speak Japanese because – well need I explain!!! And I speak English because I AM English! *genuine face plant*

Explaining my Lifestyle

Growing up in Hong Kong is incredibly different to England. So many times I don’t know whether to make up something relatable when I get asked how I spend my time at home or if I should just lie. It was very common in Hong Kong to be members at Yacht Clubs and Country Clubs and to have boat parties in the summer. There’s literally no way I can say that to people here without sounding snobby so most of the time I just twist the truth a little bit👐

Currencies

When I fly back and forth between England and Hong Kong and Thailand, I’m constantly doing maths in my head and get shocked by how cheap or expensive something is, even if I’ve been buying the same thing all my life! It’s crazy to think you can buy lunch in Thailand for 40p in England – literally UNHEARD OF!

Thank you so much for reading again my loveliess! 🙏 Please link below any blog posts of yours I haven’t read yet if you want! I would love to catch up and support everyone 🌼

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27 Comments Add yours

  1. People can be so dumb. Asian means Chinese every single time lol you can say you were born in Hong Kong because that’s were your dad works. You should never be ashamed of whatever hobbies you used to have. Boats and yachts? Nothing wrong or snobbish about it at all. Is my husband trash because he was born in a farm, his parents raise chickens and pigs and do farming? Nope. It goes both ways. Be proud of the life you have their 😊 loved reading this post ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      haha that’s a good idea to be fair I could just say that! Yes you are so right, thank you for saying that, I couldn’t agree more!! I literally loved your comment, thank you so so much for reading ❤️❤️

      Like

    1. helloitsjo says:

      awh yay thank you my beaut! ❤️

      Like

  2. beyo11 says:

    Such an amazing post and it brings out so much cultural changes that the world is going through, you Ms Jo among the girls leading these changes being both third culture and international. Creating a culture across boundaries that will surpass local connections. It is amazing experience and I was honored t slave for few third culture and international ladies and I could feel the difference in their views, maturity , open mindless, shrewdness and smart approach to life. Well done Ms Jo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Oh my goodness, this is the most amazing comment! Being so exposed to so many contrasting cultures, you’re right that it helps me to be so open minded, which I’m beyond grateful for! Thank you for your comment, put a massive smile on my face! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. beyo11 says:

        Please keep on the great work, remember there are girls who lead and a lot who follow:)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really interesting read!! 😁 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Yay I’m so glad you think so! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never heard of the term “third culture kid” before. Just now. And I feel you with being bilingual! Sometimes, you just mix words unintentionally and everyone’s like… “WTF DID YOU JUST SAID???” Hahahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Yeah I had only heard it until recently too! hahaha YES! Literally it’s the strangest thing that no one else reallys understands hahaha!! xxx

      Like

      1. Plus the struggle when you can’t remember the English term of a certain word. Oh boy!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. helloitsjo says:

        Oh my goodness I know it’s so strange isn’t it!! literally don’t understand hahaha!!

        Like

  5. beyo11 says:

    Multi cultural and bilingual , you know so much research shows a high rate of intelligence associated with both 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Awh well I don’t know about that with me hahaha!!

      Like

  6. I experience a lot of these things as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Ahh yay I’m so glad you can relate haha!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beyoutiful says:

    Can totally relate since I was born in the US but my parents are from India! Great post girl 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      yaayyy another third culture kid with me 😉 hehe thank you my love!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. whatismaria says:

    Omg girl this is so so spot on! I was born in Russia and both of my parents are Russian but I moved here when I was quite young and can relate to a lot of this, like the stupid questions (I definitely do not drink vodka with every meal unlike people seem to believe!) and the currency problem. But I mean, it’s always great when I visit Russia and manage to buy a whole week’s worth of food for £10 lol. So glad I found your blog, loving it already ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      this comment made me smile so MUCH!! Oh my goodness as if people thought you drank vodka with every meal hahahah!!!! thats too funny!! oh my gosh I’m so happy you found it tooo, because I’m loving your blog hehe! thank you so much for commenting!! ❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. whatismaria says:

        I could honestly never tell whether they are being serious or not!! Just have to laugh it off haha. And you are always welcome, it was a great post to read 🙂 I’m so glad you like my blog as well ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  9. xoJenny says:

    Girl, that is actually super interesting and really cool at the same damn time! I love that you’re a mix of two ethnicities and embrace both cultures pretty equally! Oh gosh don’t even get me started on the people that ask “Well how come you don’t look Chinese” SMH Same goes for me, I was born in American yet, I don’t look American lol. The best thing I ever got was someone asking me what nationality I was to which I said Korean and then they respond with, “Oh I thought you were Asian” I just had to walk away at that point haha

    xo, JJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. helloitsjo says:

      This comment is so lovely!! oh my god HAHA “Oh I thought you were Asian” I am dying, cannot handle that hahahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  10. luimariablog says:

    love this post! as a girl born in NZ, having lived here my whole life, I definitely have never had to experience this haha 🙂 But I get that must be truly annoying having people making snap judgements on you based off of your accent, and how you look. A good thing though is that your story of your background is 100x more interesting than most 😉 ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. helloitsjo says:

      Ah New Zealand is my dream to visit! Omg it does get frustrating at times for sure haha! awhh that’s super sweet of you to say hehe, thank you for your comment my dear! 🙂 ♥

      Liked by 1 person

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