Third Culture Kid: What it’s like to be Thai, but not really

I often catch side glances and eye rolls from Thai locals as I switch between Thai and English during conversations with my friends, who are, like me, “third culture kids.” For those who have migrated to another country and now call that foreign...

Please subscribe to read this Coconuts Original story. Join COCO+ to unlock unlimited content, membership perks, and a tote bag!

Already a COCO+ Member? Log in here.

2 thoughts on “Third Culture Kid: What it’s like to be Thai, but not really

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. The biggest issue I have with this piece is that it sounds like you’re coming from a position of privilege and looking down on Thai culture and people, as you align yourself with Western values. I would have preferred a conversation between the two. I also question the assumptions made here. The other main issue I have is that you generalize the experiences of all TCKs in Thailand or Thais who went to international school. While your experiences and feelings are valid and I respect them, you say “we” very frequently, and it gives off the impression that you speak for all of the TCKs, when in fact, experiences are singular and shouldn’t be generalized.
    Again, I appreciate you sharing your experiences as I think it opens up space for conversation, which is important, but I caution generalizations and speaking from privilege (this may not have been the case at all, but it just comes off that way).

  2. As a third culture kid and a bilingual, I understand the term “farang kids” perfectly. Unsurprisingly, I don’t find code switching quite difficult as much as I’m aware of Thai culture. English has never been an official language in Thai history. Even the world has changed, it will still take some time for the majority of Thai locals to accept code switching between Thai and other languages in conversations.

    Contrary to your belief, English has, in fact, become more common in Thai locals’ conversation, private or public. If you live in the capital where most locals have become bilingual and (exceedingly) multicultural nowadays, I’m sure that you will barely get judgy eyes Thai locals. Thai locals have grown more and more interests in learning English to become fluent speakers as a result of western influences and social media. This can be observed in not only the way they speak, but also the fashions they wear, the music they listen to, the films they watch. Thai locals have become more westernized than how you view.

    Anyway, thanks for this interesting article and various aspects!

Leave a Reply


By signing up for our newsletters you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
COCONUTS ORIGINALS