A Land Down Under and A Life in Tahiti: Part 3 of 3

Rachel Ehredt and Kainoa Smith have had completely different experiences in life. One grew up to be a Third Culture Adult (TCA) and the other grew up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK). In this three-part series, we take a look at both of their experiences.

There are so many similarities and differences from both Ehredt’s and Smith’s stories. They were able to open up their hearts and minds to different cultures. This allowed their perceptions of different places to be molded, not just by stereotypes and other stories, but by their own experiences living in different places. 

Similarities in their experiences

Both Ehredt and Smith would never trade anything for the time that they had living in their host countries. They enjoyed their experiences and now have many interesting stories to tell about what they learned.

“I love talking about the differences between Australian and American living. My husband couldn’t imagine putting BBQ sauce on his eggs in the morning.”

Rachel Ehredt

Both Ehredt and Smith have also continued to participate in things that remind them of their time in their host countries. For Smith, it’s surfing and for Ehredt, it’s never drinking Starbucks Coffee.

Kainoa Smith surfing on a wave in Tahiti.
(Image via @kainoa.smith)

“Surfing reminds me of not only my time in Tahiti, but also where I was born, in Hawaii. It has been something I can take with me everywhere that I go.”

Kainoa Smith

For Ehredt, not going to Starbucks Coffee and instead finding local cafes lets her experience Australia all over again. It reminds her of going to her local coffee shop down the street from her apartment complex in Melbourne.

"Peace Love and Coffee" Ehrets favorite coffee shop down the street from her apartment in Australia.
(Image via Rachel Ehredt)

Differences in their experiences

Although both Ehredt and Smith lived in different countries during their lives, they are still impacted differently. This isn’t only because of the places they lived being different, but also their own ages. 

Smith was only five years old when she moved from Hawaii to Tahiti, then 13 years old when she moved to California. Ehredt was 45 when she lived in Melbourne.

Since Smith was younger when she moved to Tahiti, she grew up in a certain way of life. Smith had different experiences in life than her parents did. She learned French as her first language instead of English and she had to learn how to farm and grow her own food rather than running to the grocery store. 

Moving from a life of growing up in Tahiti to living in California has impacted Smith’s life a lot. She misses her home in Tahiti, her friends and just her way of life. Ehret’s story isn’t like this. 

Ehret grew up and lived most of her life in the United States. Living in Melbourne, Australia, didn’t change her way of living tremendously, other than giving up Starbucks Coffee. 

This is the difference between growing up to be a Third Culture Adult and growing up as a Third Culture Kid: Your way of living and your feeling of home are never really set in stone as a TCK, but they are as a TCA for the most part. 

Sitting down with both Ehredt and Smith, anyone can see that they are so proud to have the experiences that they have. They loved traveling and living in new places so much that that is something that they plan to do in the years to come. 

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