My Struggle As A Third Culture Kid


My Struggle As A TCK - the third culture kid project

Being a third culture kid, things are hard. From people constantly asking you where you’re actually from to them making fun of what they don’t understand, I’ve been through it all.

As a kid, I changed schools very often. I never moved out of Dhaka, but I travelled so much that it felt as if I was rarely there. I was the kind of person, who would skip school very often due to travelling, which is why my attendance level was always below those of others. It was hard enough – changing schools almost every one or two years – but to add to my misery, I wasn’t the type (and still am not) to make friends very easily. I was very masculine (tomboyish). I’d wear shorts without shaving my legs, a blue jersey and a snapback. Embarrassing, I know! I used to be a big show off. No wonder I didn’t have very many friends.

Back in 2012, I switched to an even smaller school than one I was already in. You see, I always had a fear of joining big schools. I was afraid that I’d get bullied and wouldn’t make any friends. Therefore, I never joined any. So I joined a small Christian school. I am Muslim and back then, at the age of twelve, I hardly knew anything about Christianity except for the fact that they worshipped Jesus and the Bible was their holy book.

“This made it even harder for me to make friends. The only way I could think of making friends was by showing off.”

So I did.

But as soon as I did, people started spreading ill rumors about me. Since it was a small school, rumors spread as fast as windy flames devour a dry land. It was horrible. I’d go home feeling upset; I’d lock myself in the bathroom and cry.

What else could I have done? People that I had thought were my friends were the ones that were taking advantage of me. I knew who they were; I just let them keep taking advantage of me. Although, there was one person, a very close friend, who never took advantage of me. (Let’s call her Friend #1.)

She’d come over to my house and we’d make videos on my iMac, which I promised I would never post or show anyone. They were like our embarrassing little secret. I once lied to her that I owned a private jet. She believed me. I couldn’t believe how she trusted me so much. As the years passed, we grew even closer. I had more friends now, but this time, I was acting my true self. I stopped lying and everyone liked me. At least most people did.

“It took me a while to get over everything; I still can’t say that I have completely. But I am happy.”

I met someone at my cousin’s wedding, whom I can now call my best friend, and over the course of a fight, I became close friends with a girl, who moved here from Vancouver.

She was Pakistani, and I knew quite a bit of Urdu, so we became friends very quickly. Friend #1 was always there for me; she was someone I could confide in and we would talk about everything. And now, a year since then, both the Pakistani friend and Friend #1 are leaving. Those two are the only support system that I have, and I can hardly imagine my life without them. Being at an international school, I now have the cycle memorized. What cycle? The cycle of friendship.

“In this cycle, beautiful people come into your life, they teach you lessons, give you comfort, and then, they leave. But the friendship never dies. I guess it’s all part of the struggle; and I can’t change that. I will be there for all of them, my haters and my friends included.”


Because one way or other, the cycle will start all over again and I will relive the same events. But hopefully, I would do so in a more positive way, and every time, as a stronger person than I was in the last.

Author: thethirdculturekidproject

Founded by 2 TCKs, the TCK Project aims to bring together TCKs and share our stories. " Many losses are often not acknowledged even by their own parents, and the main problem is unspoken, unrecognized, shunted aside." Through our story sharing, we want to speak of this main problem and cope together. If you're in Singapore, email us!

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