I’ve Been Lied to

Ok, so that’s a bit of a heavy title – but I promise this won’t be depressing. It’s just something I’ve come to realize in the last year of my life about what we’re told growing up, and what life really turns out to be like.

There are so many articles and blogs about University life, and career life, but hardly any speak of the space in between. Those odd years where you’re 20 to 30-something, trying to find your place in the world. These days it’s not uncommon to move back with your parents right after graduating. Some of us just keep studying while we can. A few ‘lucky’ ones get a job or internship straight after graduation (but don’t think they have it any easier!). Most of us, however, are left in a vacuum. All the while our friends’ successes are flashed before us on every social media platform.

I went to international schools my whole life with a bunch of other kids just like me, and I was always told that 3rd culture kids “are the future”. That the world was full of other kids just like us, and when we got older we would have the advantage, because we spoke different languages and knew how to immerse in different cultures. In a globalized society, we held all the chips. Finding a job, getting into university, being accepted by the world, that would all be easy because we had been doing it our whole lives.
That was the first lie I was told.

Suffice to say I did not get into the University of my dreams, in fact I was rejected several times before I wound up at the University of Auckland. Then came the second lie. There were no other “third culture kids” at my school. Sure there were a few scattered international students, but for most of them it was their very first time out of their home country. But that’s ok, right? I was prepared; immersed in other cultures.
How about… NO.

I had interacted with different cultures my whole life, but most of the people I had been surrounded with had similar experiences to my own. We all had the same perspective; we all understood that everyone’s perspective is different. No one had told me that I would meet many people who would simply find my cultural attitudes freakish, and refuse to even try to understand them. Worst of all, I had always been told that I should know how to deal with it regardless. Again.. not quite.

Of course it was still a positive experience, I was once again in a new part of the world, living new adventures. Once the routine of school was over, however, it became a whole new struggle. I bartended all through school to pay the bills, and I still had my job at the bar, but I had no career. I studied TV and Media, but no one at Uni had ever actually directed me on how to get a job in the industry, or to start a career. Maybe I was just naive, but somehow I did always believe that I would have a job or an internship right out of school. That my diploma granted me a free pass into the job market. Again, that’s what we’re all told, right? Lie #3.

So now, here I am. New Zealand’s job market was far too small, and visas were hard to come by, so I wound up in Toronto, Canada. I’ve spent a year in this city now, trying to forge my way into a career, or create some sort of path. The visa process has been.. interesting. I had my own reasons for not moving back home, and for why I chose Canada, but I’m sure I’ve bored you enough already.

Like I said before, I’m not here to preach, or to give all knowing advice. I just wanted to write this because, if anyone else is going through the same thing right now; if you’ve just finished university and have a shiny new degree but you’re still stuck in a whirlpool treading water… well, you’re not alone. Sometimes that’s all you need to know.

Over the next few days I’ll post a few hints on what I did once I got here to really get me started and motivated in a career. If you guys have any other tips or questions feels free to comment below πŸ™‚


4 thoughts on “I’ve Been Lied to

  1. This was very interesting to read Amanda. As someone who generally does believe that being a Third Culture Kid is beneficial, I wonder if I (inadvertently) was one of the ones who did the lying to you. We need to be honest with young people that a career does not always come easily, but rest assured that those of us in our 40s and 50s also find ourselves sometimes struggling in our chosen fields. Sometimes we realise that the international schools we are teaching at are not so international after all and that our TCK backgrounds don’t actually help us to blend in. Thanks for sharing and here’s hoping that Canada does welcome you in the way that immigrants deserve.


  2. I think Canada will be better for you meantime as conventional wisdom states New Zealand “too small” for everything, except maybe hi-tech startups (apparently). So see how you get on. You can work in bars and work upwards to bar manager as you are smart enough, to get established.

    Maybe not exactly now, but I would be very surprised if 3rd culture kids were not a quintessential part of “the future”.


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