Growing Up in Transit on Your Campus – Resources for the AIELOC Summer Institute

Main reading

Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School (Berghahn Books, 2020)

The Educator & Self-Reflexivity

Breakout Questions

Q1. Describe a time when you felt seen by a teacher or any adult. Why did you feel seen?

Q2. Describe a time when you did not feel seen by a teacher or any adult. Why did you not feel seen?

Q3. Describe the privileges that you have and don’t have. How might it impact your interaction with students?


Some of the design of this section (especially the active listening exercise in the breakout session) was inspired by Jessica Wei Huang‘s design of an Asian Pacific Islander (API) Educators Community Support meeting that she co-facilitated for AIELOC.

The School & The Narratives

Parker, Lyn. 2003. From Subjects to Citizens: Balinese Villagers in the Indonesian Nation-State. London: Routledge.

Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso Books.

Willis, Paul. 1977. Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs. Columbia University Press.

Meyer, Heather. 2021. The Global Imaginary of International School Communities. Palgrave Macmillan.

Breakout Questions

Q1. a) Identify and describe an example of a negative narrative that is being told about students at your school. In what way are students being blamed for it? In what way are the staff contributing to the “problem” or acting as gatekeepers? 
b) Discuss with each other how teachers and administrators can model a solution for the students.

Q2. Have you ever experienced the type of intercultural discomfort that was mentioned in the presentation? Share an example and discuss what you or the school can do to address it. 

The Student & the Hidden Curriculum

Tanu, Danau. 2021. The Hidden Curriculum

Decolonising math by Ecolint (International School of Geneva)

Language & Power by TCKs of Asia – on structural racism in international schools & internalised racism. There is a link to the recording on the page.

The Strength of Weak Ties
Original study

Granovetter, Mark. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology (78:6), 1360-1380.

For well-being

Gillian Sandstrom’s research

Leslie, Ian. 2020. “Why your ‘weak-tie’ friendships may mean more than you think.” In BBC (July 3).  

For recruitment

Weak Ties Matter

How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams (via Joel Laban)

Breakout questions

Q1. Describe an example of a hidden curriculum or bias in the curriculum taught at your school. Discuss ways to address the bias or to decolonize it.  

Q2. Discuss ways you or your school can learn more about your students’ perspectives.

Q3. Discuss ways to engage parents.

Intergenerational Cultural Gap

Videos created by the International School of Dalat for parents to watch before they enrol their children at the school. See ‘School Culture Videos’ in the right hand column.

Third Culture Kids & Family Ties & A Foreigner in My Own Family: The Hidden Loss of Language & Intimacy by TCKs of Asia. There is a link to the recordings on the respective page.

Other resources

Japanese TCKs on their experiences of learning in a second language – A short video by two Japanese TCKs on what adults did to help them feel ‘seen’ even when they couldn’t speak English.

Third Culture Stories – a podcast by TCKs of Asia.

Identity-Centered Learning by Daniel Wickner

Third Culture Stories – a podcast by TCKs of Asia

TCKs of Asia has just launched our new podcast: Third Culture Stories! It’s where ‘Third Culture Kids’ share stories from Asia.

Icon for Third Culture Stories podcast. Tree with leaves in diverse colors.
Design by Karen Tan of ThinkImpact

We can experience the liminal in-between spaces of the third culture as a child in many ways – by growing up internationally, through education, being mixed, migration, international adoption and so on.

Third Culture Stories is about uncovering what we share in spite of our differences.

We are excited to share our first two episodes with the world. Both episodes are based on the live forums hosted by TCKs of Asia.

Third Culture Stories – Episode 1. Third Culture Kids & Family Ties: Relationships with Parents & Siblings

Click here to read speaker profiles and access the PowerPoint slides for Episode 1.

Third Culture Stories – Episode 2. Language & Power: Stories from Asia

This episode was a collaboration between myself and Isabelle Min, a former radio host and KBS broadcaster as well as one of the first generation of Koreans who grew up overseas. It was also informed by my research, Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School.

Click here to read Isabelle’s profile for Episode 2.

Coming up on October 6! – A Foreigner in My Own Family: The Hidden Loss of Language & Intimacy

If you like the podcast, don’t forget to register for our next open forum!

Poster with boy wearing DIY superman cape and pointing to the sky. TCKs of Asia presents an open forum. A Foreigner in My Own Family: The Hidden Loss of Language and Intimacy.
Design by Asako Noda

TCKs of Asia: A Foreigner in My Own Family. The hidden loss of language & intimacy

TCKs of Asia is back! For those who don’t know, I’ve been involved with a group of friends who run online forums for TCKs with some sort—any sort—of an Asian connection. Many of the themes we cover aren’t unique to TCKs of Asia but we had to call it something, right?

Read on for more details or register now.

Poster: TCKs of Asia presents an open forum. A Foreigner in My Own Family: The Hidden Loss of Language & Intimacy. Tue, 6 Oct, 9AM NY, 3PM Berlin, 9PM HK.
Design by Asako Noda. To register:

‘My parents wanted me to learn English and fit in. But they expect me to be fully Asian too. They don’t understand that I sometimes feel I’m not Western enough and I’m not Asian enough.’

Many Third Culture Kids (TCKs) grow up speaking a different language from one or both of their parents. Some experience a disconnect, a lack of language to communicate with those who are closest to them: their families. To one degree or another, they may feel a sense of loss of home language and culture, as well as the frustration of not being understood by their own family.

From the earliest age, children get their cultural cues from their parents, who are important anchors and mirrors for a child’s identity. But when a child’s strongest language is different from that of one or both of their parents — and because language and culture are so closely intertwined — it can create a sense of cultural disconnection that can affect the parent-child relationship, even into adulthood.

In this open forum, we will hear from a few Third Culture Kids about how becoming fluent in English or losing their home language complicated their relationship with their parents, their home culture and their sense of identity. We will also have time for an open discussion with all attendees.

From the TCKs of Asia website

Featuring Ardi Kuhn, Aiko Minematsu, Karen Tan, Isabelle Min and myself.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020
6am Los Angeles – 9am New York – 2pm Lagos – 3pm Berlin – 4pm Beirut – 9pm Singapore & Perth – 10pm Seoul & Tokyo

Click below for speaker bios & more details.

Let’s start from the very beginning …

News & Stuff is where I will be posting about various events that I am organizing or any news, info or events that I find interesting or just random musings and thoughts and commentaries.

Honestly, I don’t have a clear plan for this section, so join me for the ride and let’s see how it goes!

But whatever it is, I’ll need coffee to do it—that’s for sure!

(And yes, I do like The Sound of Music. Who doesn’t? … Well, okay, we tried making my dad watch it but he fell asleep within the first 15 minutes all three times that we tried. Ha. As for those who missed the reference, the title of this post is taken from the scene where Julie Andrews gets the kids to sing the Do Re Mi song up on a hill.)