Hello, and welcome to my blog. My name is Tessa den Engelsen and I am what is known as a Third Culture Kid and I have been for the past 18 years. That’s honestly what this blog is going to be about, the TCK lifestyle and how to deal with different situations that come up due to being a TCK.
For those who do not know what I am referring to when I say Third Culture Kid, it is someone who grew up and spent their developing years outside of their home country.
So to start here is a little bit about myself. I am from a family of four, my parents and my older sister who has also come along side me and is going though this transition with me. I consider Singapore to be home, and my hobbies include basketball, volleyball, frisbee, guitar, and spending time with friends and family.
Originally I am from the Netherlands, a small country up in Europe, but I was born in Surinam which is located in South America. I spent a few months there before moving down to Penang in Malaysia. Complications arose and within a few months we had moved over to the Philippines. After a few months of living there my grandfather became fatally sick and we moved back to Netherlands, I was barely one years old at this point. We spent a little over a year in the Netherlands and in that time, sadly, my grandfather passed away. After some time passed, my family decided to move out to Penang again and we spent the next year there which for me was ages two to four. We then moved back to Netherlands for a few months, and then we headed out to Florida USA. We spent a year in Florida and it was definitely one of my favourite places to have lived (which I will explain more about in another blog post). I turned five in Florida and then once my dad’s job was done we moved back up to Netherlands. We spent a year in Netherlands before my dad coming to us and asking us how we felt about living in Dubai, within a few months we were packed and ready to go. In total we spent 2.5 years in Dubai which I consider the best childhood place to grow up (this will also be explained in a later post).
Very quickly Dubai started feeling like home and I grew very attached to the place. I had a nice home, good friends, good school, everything a kid could want. So as you can imagine, I was pretty upset when I found out we were moving yet again. Right after my 8th birthday my family packed up and moved to Singapore. At that point I hated Singapore, and strongly disliked my parents for making us move there. Over the next 9 years I grew to love Singapore, and it really became my home. There were ups and downs in my time living there, at times I wanted nothing more than to leave and never come back. However, now that I have officially moved away to start College I miss it, and feel like a piece of me is missing when I am not there.
As you can see my life consists of a lot of unrooted situations, which many can relate to. I do not feel like I can honestly say I am from the Netherlands because I feel more Singaporean and International than anything else.
Since recent, I have made a big transition of moving out of Singapore and back to Netherlands to attend University. I am now about to start University and want to share my story so that others can also relate.
I wanted to start this blog, so that people can see the journey of a diehard TCK moving back to their ‘home’ country and the ups and downs that come along with that. I hope this will be of help to those who read it and that people can relate.
I would love to come in contact with more people also going through this process. This blog is going to be my personal story, situations, and how I deal with them to get settled and feel at home in a foreign country.
My goal with this is to create a place people can come to share their own experiences, learn from other people’s experiences, and have an outlet. With this I hope to also help people gain understanding what life is like for TCK’s and help them to see the world through the lens that we do.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you are able to relate to my future writing and enjoy it too. Feel free to share it in support:)
Tessa den Engelsen
Picture credit: Forbes