My Son’s Journey As A Third Culture Kid

What if there were no borders….

Early education

Mekhi started his formal education shortly after his family arrived in Chennai Inda on April 7, 2007. His first school was a Montessori based school with a leaking roof which resulted in the kids staying home every time it rained. For Junior and Senior Kindergarten Mekhi could have attended the American International School of Chennai however, his idealistic mother wanted him and his brother to be immersed in Indian culture.

During his preschool experience in the Indian School system, Mekhi learned Indian dance, songs, foods and festivals, and was totally assimilated in South Indian culture.

Mekhi transitioned from the Indian school system to the American International School Chennai for first grade.  On the first day of school, rushing in through the turnstiles – his mother held on to one of his hands and asked if he wanted her to walk him in. He looked back at her and replied, “No mama I’m okay” and off he went…
Leaving his mother behind with a quivering lower lip and some invisible cord tugging at her heart.

From first through seventh grade Mekhi made lifelong relationships with kids from diverse backgrounds. While he focused on academics he was mostly interested in traveling for competitive sports, choir and theatre. At the same time he was developing a sense of what it’s like to have global citizenship and what it is to be a global citizen:

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Global citizenship:
The idea that one’s identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: “humanity”. 

A Global Citizen:
Someone who understands the wider world and their place in it.

Transitioning back to one’s home country from living overseas can be difficult and each individual in the family can experience it in different ways.  Mekhi and his family relocated to Canada when he was about to start eighth grade. Moving especially during the adolescent years can be very challenging. However, Mekhi made a smooth transition and adjusted Chameleon like to his new school environment and curriculum.  He graduated middle school with honours and was also awarded Sports Man of the Year.

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High School career:

Mekhi was very active during his high school career. He was voted as Deputy Prime Minister of Student Council, was an Executive Member of the Multicultural Club.  He also served as Senior Members of the Debate Club as well as the schools’ entrant into the Provincial Ethics Bowl.  He did all this while carrying a full workload and graduated with a full IB Diploma.

He extended himself throughout high school, as a member of both the School Band and the Jazz Band.  He also played for the school’s Soccer, Volleyball, Swimming, and Cross Country teams.

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The journey continues:

This past summer (2021) post-high school graduation Mekhi worked at “the best Indian restaurant in town!” His appreciation for south and north Indian cuisine served him well at the restaurant as a Waiter.

Mekhi is currently a first-year student at the University Of Toronto and finding his own way.  His new friend and roommate is British and flew in from Germany where he lived with his family. Third Culture Kids gravitate to one another!

Mekhi grew up in India from age 3 to age 13. He and his brother belong to an emerging group of Cultural Chameleons called Third Culture Kids(TCK), all of them have one thing in common, like Mekhi they have spent a significant part of their childhood experience in at least one cntry and culture other than their own.

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Read more about Third Culture Kids in my blog: “I hadn’t heard of the term Third Culture Kids until I realized I was raising two of them.

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