Facebook and the TCK


My schoolmates

I know several people who say they just don’t get Facebook and what a waste of time it is. I agree it is a pretty strange concept but for TCK’s (Third Culture Kids) is it an amazing thing. I went to a small boarding school in the Swiss Alps when I was a teenager. I bonded with my schoolmates and my teachers. We all knew each other, we had good times and bad, we helped each other with school and with life, we traveled together, we ate together, we hiked together, and we cried when we said good-bye.

Years past and we lost touch. I would run into people from time to time but they would come and go. We all moved around too much. Many of us did not grow up in one place or even in the US but most of us came here for college. It was too difficult to keep track of people.

Around 2007 I asked the school for an email list. It was pretty sketchy but it was a start. I started an email list and invited people to join. I built the list of names up and organized a reunion. For those who went it was like coming home. We picked up where we left off like we had never been apart. The connection was still there.

With Facebook we were able to find more and more people. We had a couple more reunions and now we are old friends again. We are connected. Facebook is virtual and kind of annoying sometimes but it gave us the venue to come back together and reunite with old dear friends. For a TCK, that is pretty special.

Now we see each other more often as well. We still have reunions but we also have lots of mini-reunions and get-togethers.  We are still splattered all over the world but we all travel and it is nice to know who we can call when we land in Sydney or London.

There are several “groups” on Facebook for my school and I saw this post recently:

“It’s moments like these that make me understand what TASIS was really about! We were just kids, we lived together, we laughed together, we had arguments together and we graduated together! Then, for many years we lost contact but when we found each other again on FB it seemed that not even a day had passed and …we lived together, we laughed together and we had arguments together! We exchanged pictures, ideas, memories and thoughts and were just happy to have found each other again. We are blessed to have lived this experience because it’s definitely not normal!”

No, it isn’t normal, but we aren’t exactly normal people. So for those of you who hate Facebook, I understand. But for some of us, it has made a difference.


(photo courtesy of Kent Oztekin)



  1. Agree wholeheartedly, Kathleen. FB (and other social media venues) allow us – not only TCKs – to find and stay in touch with people who have mattered in our lives. We repatriated this summer, and Daughter is attending a smallish private school. The new head of the entire school? An alumni teacher/administrator who came back from TASIS in Switzerland. It made our family feel good about the choice.

  2. My brother “boycotts” facebook. But he’s never left the village. His whole world revolves with in a 70 mile radius. Why on Earth would he need facebook? I’ve lived in three countries, and many places within those, so for me, fb is a blessing. I don’t use it all that much, and I don’t put up “I’m in Starbucks right now eating a cinnamon roll” type messages. But for finding long-lost friends, it’s fantastic. And on the very rare occasion that someone contacts you who you really don’t want to hear from, there’s no obligation to answer.

  3. Facebook groups are the real “gold” of FB in my opinion. Lots of interesting discussions on both personal and professional topics.

  4. I agree with this completely! Most people end up complaining about facebook, but I can’t really think about deactivating my account even for a while. It’s been great to get in touch with my classmates from the places I grew up in. I even found a neighbour from the time when I was growing up in Kenya. Of course this was all before the facebook or email generation so it was quite something! And mostly, because of the different time zones, it’s always nice to drop your old classmates a facebook message so they can reply to it later whenever they have the time. It’s the same with email, but sometimes facebook does help you remember that you’re not in touch with certain people.

  5. I have a husband who boycotts Facebook too. Sometimes he hogs my computer reading messages from people he also knows, but he still won’t get his own account. I’ve never understood such absolutist thinking. Yes you have to be disciplined enough not to spend your entire day on it, but I find that the benefits far outweigh the bad. You can block all the candy crush etc games, so that’s good. If you’ve lived in many different countries like we have, it’s a great way to keep in touch with a wider audience and not just the few good friends you make the effort to keep their email addresses up to date. It’s so much more convenient to keep up with everyone on Facebook. Great post, and thanks for putting it all into words!

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