They don’t really know where they belong, and have a vague feeling that they don’t fit in anywhere. At the end of each term, some of their friends leave school for good. Their grandparents are strangers.
Perhaps one of the worst experiences for them is when their parents decide to go ‘home’ for a visit back to the country they came from. If you’re 10, and you’ve grown up in the country where your parents work, the country they came from certainly isn’t home. It’s a weird place which is usually cold or wet (often both) where you have to wear lots of clothing you’ve no idea how to do up. The bananas and pineapples taste disgusting because they’re not freshly picked. You have to wear a seat belt in the car, or maybe even sit on a special child seat.
Your parents keep dragging you to boring church meetings where people you don’t even know keep asking you if it’s nice to be back home. Other kids laugh at you because you’re wearing clothes that were bought in a country where fashion looks different. Nobody explains how things work, and everybody just assumes that you fit in normally. But you don’t, and you can’t explain why. You can’t tell your parents because you don’t want them to worry. So you just cry on the inside and wait till you can go back home again.
So what can be done to help TCKs survive ‘home’ assignment? In addition to reading our guide on how to make home assignment work for kids, if you’re bringing TCKs to the UK this summer, book them into a rekonnect action holiday. Run by people experienced at working with TCKs, these camps in rural Derbyshire provide a safe place for kids to talk about their experience, learn about life in the UK and most importantly celebrate the diversity they all share. Meeting with other TCKs helps kids normalise their experience and realise that they’re not the only people who don’t fit in – in fact they’re just the same as lots of other TCKs who immediately understand what they’re going through.
There are two TCK holidays – one for TCKs aged 13-18 years which runs from 25-29 July, and one for kids aged 6-12 from 8-12 August. You can find out more by clicking on the links, or going to the rekonnect webpage, or emailing the administrator at email@example.com – but don’t leave it too late, they’ll book up fast! So do your kids a favour and make ‘home’ assignment a better experience for them.