258 million people living outside their birth country
“There are now an estimated 258 million people living in a country other than their country of birth — an increase of 49% since 2000 — according to new figures released by UN DESA, on December 18, 2017.
Andrea’s own hidden-diversity—diversity that is not readily apparent, her mother Carmen’s Latin accent, her husband Greg’s French accent and her young son—Antoine’s precious little face told me this story needed to be about the future.
Andrea and her family—through young Antoine, are challenged by many questions of background, ethnicity, heritage, and language.
Like 258 million other people in the world, they are figuring out the best way to raise a child of the future. A future where there is increased migration, a larger global workforce, extensive international travel, and prolific cross-cultural marriage.
If you missed the Spring 2018 issue of Culturs Magazine where Andrea introduced us to her maternal grandparents in Chile and her paternal grandparents in Nebraska, U.S.A—you can find the article on a newsstand near you.
One family ten countries
Andrea and her family represent the following ten countries:
- United States
Andrea Bazoin and her older brother were born in corn and cow country in Nebraska—part of the western United States. Her mother had moved to the U.S. from Santiago, Chile and her father was a Nebraska farmer when they met.
I visited with Andrea, her husband Greg, her mother, and her young son—Antoine in the Denver, Colorado office of Culturs Magazine.
Growing up invisible
Andrea remembered how having invisible diversity felt to her. “When I was growing up, especially when your diversity is invisible, and you look like the majority culture, what I experienced was feeling like I had to prove my Latina-side.”
She said that she wondered if her son, Antoine would experience not being fully accepted as French, since there is a strong possibility that at some point they might move from America to France.
It is Andrea’s hope that Antoine will take comfort in knowing that he can talk with her about these feelings of not belonging as he traverses the world as a Third Culture Kid (TCK).
“We can talk about it together.” Andrea said of Antoine’s challenges being in the “in-between,” cultures community.
Andrea spoke about when she “code-switched,” Speaking in English and then speaking in Spanish, she had to prove herself to her local, Latin community.
“I was in a position to have to prove that I was Latina enough. It’s important to express that side of myself because of my mom.” Her desire to put Chile in an important place in her heart was about family.
“It’s important to just hold on [to my maternal culture] in a very active way, otherwise it will just fall into the background,” Andrea said.
“She’s always been passionate about family.” Andrea’s mother said.
Growing up “In-between”
Andrea’s husband—Greg was born and raised in France. “My wife and my son—Antoine are multi-cultural, but all of my family is French and living in France. I was not really exposed to this kind of life and never thought I would have this kind of culture.”
When I asked Greg and Andrea how cultural fluidity might impact their son Antoine’s life Greg said—”He will speak both languages—French and English, that’s a great asset for him.” I don’t think there will be any negative impact on him—being multicultural.”
Andrea said—“Having lived the experience of being multicultural, we are raising [Antoine] to be globally-minded. “It’s not like [we are raising him to think that] I’m in the best country and every other country is secondary.”
Antoine is a little boy who is just happy and curious about everything around him. But one day, Antoine and 50 million other children around the world who are living outside of their country of origin—according to UNICEF, will have to negotiate the in-between world.
If you and your family are facing these challenges now, we would love to hear your experience, questions, and wisdom.