Have you ever felt uncomfortable that people around you perceived you as superior for speaking a certain language or inferior for speaking it with the ‘wrong’ accent? Have you ever heard someone at school accusingly ask, ‘Why are all the Korean kids sitting together in the cafeteria?’ Or have you ever wondered why your mom didn’t know how to make brownies when everyone else’s did? And why all the characters in the novels your English teachers made you read had blond, brown or red hair but not black? Or perhaps you changed your name to, say, ‘Jay’ or ‘Erika’ to make it easier for your teachers and classmates to remember?
As children, we start life without any understanding of why things are the way they are or why things like language, culture and race matter. But it doesn’t take long before we begin to internalize the messages we receive from the cultural hierarchies we see around us, which can have a lasting impact and take a long time to unlearn. Even those with an international upbringing are not immune to it.
In this forum, we will and talk about the experiences of Third Culture Kids who went to schools where the dominant language and culture were different from home and how it affected them.
Danau Tanu will be interviewing Isabelle Min, a coach and former radio host and television broadcaster for KBS who speaks five languages and grew up as a diplomat kid.