Veera Korhonen

discovering rhetoric

Commonplace: Third Culture Kids

Commonplace: Third Culture Kids

“When your mother is from Finland, your father from Senegal, and you live in neither, identity becomes a matter of choice” – Ndela Faye, the Guardian

Reading an article in the Guardian about third culture kids, I had never managed to relate to someone else’s words as much. Ndela Faye’s example is astonishingly similar to my story, my dad from Finland, and my mom from India. The added twist to my personal story is that I grew up living in six different countries around the world, mostly in the Middle East, and none of which I identify with. Not to mention that I was born in America, and my parents are both dual citizens.

While I was shocked to hear a story similar to mine, with at least one shared race, I was discouraged that she thought identity is a “matter of choice” for third culture kids. Every single time I’m asked where I’m from, I have to hesitate. I don’t get to choose my identity, I have to question it every single day. Nowhere ever truly feels like home for me, and while Faye seems to see this as a sense of freedom to consider anywhere home, I personally feel excluded from cultures that should be mine but I just can’t fully accept.

Faye portrays my struggle as a positive thing, as a way to simply decide where you’re from. But for me, while I appreciate all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had, I also know that I’ll never know what it’s like to not be a tourist in my own cultures, to not have multiple answers and explanations for where I’m “from”, to be able to fully understand the origins of myself that could’ve been an entirely different person.

Works Cited:

Faye, Ndéla. “Am I Rootless, or Am I Free? ‘Third Culture Kids’ like Me Make It up as We Go along | Ndéla Faye.” Millennials in Focus, Guardian News and Media, 9 Mar. 2016,


One comment

  • Avatar

    Dear Vera,
    I really enjoyed reading this entry. While I cannot, relate, because I only have one citizenship, I think the way you incorporated your personal narrative and feelings in this piece truly portrays the struggle of a young person in search for his or her identity. Lines like “I’ll never know what it’s like to not be a tourist in my own cultures…” were very powerful and carried your point across.

    (ps I’m not stalking you, I’m writing constructive comments for extra points lol)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *