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How Technology Shapes Our Cultural Migration and Travel

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Only a generation ago, it was mostly army or diplomat staff and high-level academic or business people who moved abroad with their young families. Now, more people prefer to experience life in a new country or travel frequently with their kids. They stay in touch with friends and family via phones and computers to maintain connections to their home culture.

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However, their children are different from stay-at-home peers. And if or when these children decide to move back home, they can face unique challenges.

THE PREVIOUS GENERATION OF THIRD CULTURE ADULTS BROKE THE FIRST BOUNDARIES

Kids who have extensive contact with the new culture tend to integrate aspects of it into their background. They create a fresh and original internal dialogue exhibiting both cultures’ features. The more prolonged and intense the exposure, the deeper and more interwoven the “new” culture becomes.

When these kids return to their native environment, they may lack a sense of belonging. For some, assimilation into their birth culture is not a given, and finding a comfortable space in society can take longer.

Dr. Paulette Bethel coined the concept of Third Culture Adults (TCAs) to describe a generation of people who grew up facing these challenges at a time when cultural differences were far more stark. Due to TCA’s disparate yet similar environments, they share several character traits.

They faced a longer search for identity and belonging within the mother culture. On the plus side, they often have good linguistic skills. They show a meaningful cross-cultural communication facility. They usually have greater than average confidence and can think “outside the box.” Whether they know it or not, they represent the leading edge of cultural dynamism.

THE PHENOMENON IS EXPANDING

Fortunately, multiculturalism and diversity have become common and even celebrated. Our tech makes that frontier easier to navigate, minimizing barriers and improving communication.

Young Asian businesswoman work at home and virtual video conference
Photo via Envato Elements

That’s why some parents are more open to traveling or moving abroad with their children. Knowing that younglings can maintain stable contact with their home culture, at least online, is encouraging. Talking to our relatives and friends virtually or even having daily access to native content can ease the hardships of the adaptation. Virtual connections are also essential for those who live with a plane ticket in their pocket and stay in one place only for a short time.

TECHNOLOGY TO THE RESCUE

Technology has been an enormous boon for those embracing the advantages of a cosmopolitical lifestyle. Today, we have a multitude of tech tools and channels that help instantly bridge the symbolic and real miles between cultures. However, great technological possibilities also introduce great risks. The good news is that we have reliable tools to protect ourselves from emerging cyber threats.

For example, VPNs are a common way to ensure the safety of our devices and personal information while traveling. They encrypt internet connections to send data along a closed tunnel. This process protects travelers and workers abroad against eavesdropping, which can lead to certain types of hacking attacks or financial scams. It is a critical cybersecurity tool for anyone who connects to the internet, especially in airports and other public places.

For travelers, the additional VPN benefits make it a Swiss Army knife.

It allows travelers to change their IP location to the country of their choice. It bypasses censorship or geographical filters so they can browse the internet freely. They can stay updated with unfiltered news, entertainment, and shopping. On the flip side, they can pick a server in their new host country to shop like a native for the best travel deals, air tickets, and hotel bookings.

MORE VPN BENEFITS FOR THE CHANGE-WEARY, LONG-TERM TRAVELER

Your destination may dictate your internet access. For example, China bans access to Western media and websites like Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix. Travelers who need access to those sites will have to get a reliable VPN that the government approves.

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Photo via Envato Elements

When travelers feel exhausted and overwhelmed by all the new experiences, a VPN can help reduce culture shock. Whether you’re in Ulanbaatar or Mauritius, just pick a server in the US and log into your Netflix account. Let your home culture wash over you until you’re ready for fresh adventures in your new country.

It’s a learning aid, too. Let’s say you’re living in Germany but wish to prepare your children for an imminent departure to your home country, e.g., the US. You can connect to a VPN, select a server in your parent country, and log in to the US streaming platform of your choice.

On the other hand, if you live in the US but want to expand your kids’ German before you depart, you can pick a German VP server to find programs by German broadcasters. The technology serves all sides of the conversation well.

INTO THE FUTURE WITH OUR MULTICULTURAL KIDS

Since the beginning of this century, we’ve experienced a paradigm shift. Home does not need to be one country or culture anymore. We can choose the best of several cultures and live in as many countries as we like. Technology allows parents and kids to dial “home” whenever necessary. These well-traveled kids will become the movers and shakers of the future. Let’s continue to spread our borders with the help of modern communication and the right security tools.

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