First Year Undergraduate Student
School of International Liberal Studies (SILS)
On November 20th, ICC held a talk session event called “Third Culture Kids”, featuring Ms. Saeko Mizuta, Founder and CEO of TCK Workshop Co. graduated from Harvard University. I never knew what TCK meant right until she started her talk session, and surprisingly, I realized how I was a TCK myself. “Third Culture Kids” (TCK) are children who form their identity in a mixed background, which makes them uncertain of which culture they are more comfortable in. Ms. Mizuta talked about her experiences of being a TCK, how she overcame her struggle, and her advice for the current TCKs.
Being a TCK, I was born in Japan but was raised in 5 different countries, building my identity around being both Japanese and American. Yet to Japanese people I am not fully Japanese and to Americans I was not accepted as an American. I belong to neither. In America, I have been asked countless times why I speak English so well even though I’m Japanese. In Japan, I’m given weird looks whenever I do something that a “normal” Japanese person wouldn’t do. That is why I dislike the question, “where are you from?” because it only allows for a simple answer, and my life wasn’t simple as people assume to be. Listening to Ms. Mizuta’s experiences over her childhood years made me comfortable, knowing how someone fully understands these struggles, and how there are hundreds of others who encounter the same challenges. But as I found myself attached to her story of being a TCK, I realized how I would never be able to overcome the severe pain of finding my exact cultural identity. Instead, I must see this experience as a strength that enables me to understand the underlying values of multiple cultures and cooperate better with people from around the globe.
Ms. Mizuta’s presentation showed us her strong passion in helping TCKs with her workshop, inspiring me to have a prestigious career like her, in which I could help people who face multiple identity crises. Although being a TCK may have been struggle, it was also a miraculous gift in my life which made me think again about whom I truly am and motivated me to own that identity. Even though my identity might begin with the fact of my ethnicity or race, it couldn’t end there… and that is what I chose to believe.