Inner conflict of a third culture kid


Once again I was back home in Switzerland.

I never know how I feel about it. I resent it, I love it. I feel home, I feel alienated. I want to be seen, I don’t want to see acquaintances. It’s comfort, I enjoy it – and I can’t stand it. It doesn’t make sense. When I cross the Swiss-German border and people suddenly speak standard German instead of Swiss German or vice versa, I feel confused, not sure how to interpret my feelings. Happiness? Alienation? Home? Reluctance?

If I had to describe Switzerland with one word, it would be perfect. No, of course it’s not really perfect, perfect doesn’t exist, but Switzerland comes really close to this concept. It’s rich, pretty safe, clean, a semi-direct democracy, people are incredibly honest, the standard of education very high, people are free to give their opinion and quite tolerant. Compared to the other countries I’ve lived in it’s the closest to perfection.

I grew up there. I should feel safe and comfortable. But I don’t. Safe yes, but not comfortable. It was never a real home for me and things keep happening that prevent that to happen (though actually I know it’s my choice to feel home or not but I just can’t bring myself to feel it). More about that in another post.

Being in Switzerland makes me feel like having a plateau in my life. Not being able to advance. Maybe because this country with a tremendously high living standard feels like a huge comfort zone without any challenges.

I think it’s the perfect country for my children to grow up one day. I can’t think of a better high school system. Students grow up learning a variety of languages but there’s still enough room for science and arts. They can travel during high school, see countries all over the world. School’s challenging, but you still have a life outside it. Very privileged, I know. But it’s not the right country for me, at least not now.

I don’t dislike this country, not at all. I just get a weird feeling when I think of studying there this autumn and I think I shouldn’t ignore my gut feeling. Maybe I really have to spend some time in Asia to appease the third culture kid in me so I’m finally able to make peace with this beautiful country with awesome people. Maybe it’d really help to strengthen my third culture kid and thus lost identity so I stop identifying myself with ‘someone who’s not Swiss’ and finally belong, somehow.

beautiful Swiss alps
beautiful Switzerland

    1. I get you so much! Third cultureness is really difficult to deal with and make sense of!

      1. But it’s awesome to know that there are many TCKs out there (I didn’t learn about this term until recently) – I hope you’ll find your way to make sense of it! :)

    1. Being a TCK is often accompanied by being multiracial and/or having parents from different cultures – makes things exciting but can also lead to further inner conflicts!

Let me know what you think!

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