Third Culture Kids : We are Family

Third Culture Kid Familes in Global Transition

Today’s guest blog post is by our very own Lisa Zenno, our resident TCK – Third Culture Kid.  It is beautiful to see her bloom in her role at Melibee and to explore her voice through poetry!  Read on…

families in global transition conference
Ellen,Ruth and Lisa (Photo courtesy: Ellen Mahoney, founder of Sea Change Mentoring)

It’s been two weeks since I came back from my first conference at FIGT: Families in Global Transitions.  I first heard about this conference from a former intercultural Melibee, Vanessa a couple months ago. (Gracias Vanessa!) Families in Global Transition is the first educational resource for families,  organizations and service providers. FIGT’s core beliefs lies in the idea that the positive value of the international experience maximizes both human and global potential and that resilience can be learned. I was afraid I would not belong, as I went as an independent attendee, not affiliated with any school/research, and/or any company; just an individual TCK eager to learn. Little did I know that everyone at FIGT would take me in as their own. FIGT starts as a conference full of strangers, foreigners if you will, but by the end of it, we are family.

The following is a poetic reflection inspired by Will and Kane’s workshop of spoken word.  I’ll develop this reflection further and more in depth on my personal blog if you’d like to tune in on that as well.

Freshmen ‘13

Ruth Van Reken, co-founder of FIGT

Prof. Xavier if you will

created a safe haven

for scholars, researchers, and individuals

to unite

to share

to explore

trends and research for what it is to transcend globally

the ‘cerebro’ lies in all our stories, our findings

the hidden ties, the hidden powers

lies in all of our lives

all this knowledge

all these underlying understanding

it’s hard to make the implicit explicit

yet, we try

age, race, gender does not matter

together we are one

TCK or not

whether you traveled to asia, europe, or south america,

our emotion, our feelings, our past

unites us

‘a-ha’ ~ “nods” ~ “exactly”

no place to call ‘home’

but does that make me a


a foreigner?

no, just different.

but that difference

intrigues others

to listen.


crosses boundaries.

“cultural integration and the illusion of closeness”

was the theme for this conference.

keynote speaker Pico Iyer said it best

“home is a project, a place where you become yourself’

“home is a piece of ‘soul’ not your ‘soil’”

It’s not where you come from

but where you are going.

#figt13 tweets

facebook, linkedin, skype

we are surrounded by




is the most important.

the KEY to bridging gaps.

Ruth’s first question to me

“What’s your story?”

instead of

“Who are you?”

opened, no, held the door

for me to enter.

I felt her hand reach out,

reaching to bring me


I can’t wait

to go back


next year.

Remember though,

This is just my story.

Do share yours.


About the Author:  Risa Zenno is a TCK who goes by Lisa.  She works at the Art Institute of Seattle as an enrollment processor.  In her spare time, she loves volunteering time for international education. She is a mentor to young people through Sea Change Mentoring. She considers herself a life-long learner and hopes to continue expanding her interest within international education.  She also just celebrated her one year anniversary as a Melibee!