TEDx: Building Identity as a Third Culture Kid

Hi there!  Here’s my latest TEDx find. Speaker Erik Vyhmeister talks to an audience at Andrews University about his difficult attempts to define his identity as a TCK.

He helps define the TCK term and characteristics by taking us through his life. It’s a nice comparison in that we travel with him and easily come to understand why he ends up with his struggles. I ended up with many thoughts after watching this speech.

Some things I enjoyed about this presentation:

1. He doesn’t accuse anyone for misunderstanding him. He doesn’t point fingers; rather, he asks the audience to do the best they can to understand what is already difficult to understand.

2. He tells the audience, his home country that he does not really belong there, that he is not really American. This confession is heartfelt and doesn’t come off as arrogant. His plea is to be accepted as different.

3. The entire conversation leans more towards the non-TCK in that it speaks to those who would not understand him right away. He directly addresses non-TCKs several times, rather than TCKs in the audience, and I think that focus helps the audience incline towards more understanding.

It was good to hear him tell his passport country that he is not American. It would be scary to do so, to honestly speak your heart when what you really want to for people to accept you, but this kind of acceptance and understanding comes when people first accept that you are different.

So watch and see what comes to mind in your own view. When watching these videos, I hope that you can take some time to reevaluate your positions and beliefs, see if anything has changed, or if anything has been reaffirmed. Since our identities are so hard to create, it’s important to review ourselves often.

Speaking of identities, I found another great video specifically for building an identity. I’ll share that with you soon. For now, please enjoy Erik Vyhmeister’s TEDx talk.


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