Thursday, May 12, 2005

Survey Results 3: Geographical Connections

12 respondents out of 16 have lived in two or more countries excluding Denmark during their developmental years, representing between them a total of 30 countries. The countries in which they have lived represent all of the world's continents, and include: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunesia, USA and Venezuela.

The large number of different countries of course means that the TCK sample cannot be said to be homogenic in terms of geographical connections. However, this is exactly what is also characteristic of TCKs - that they are highly mobile and experience very diverse cultures throughout their lives, and especially the fact that their network is thinly spread all over the world. If we were to only study the children who are, say, Danish but brought up in Italy, we would in fact be studying the Danish diaspora in Italy rather than the Danish TCK network, and the results would then be expected to be different. (See the following post for an in-depth description of the differences between TCKs and Diasporas).

Three of the respondents are currently living in countries outside of Denmark, 2 have already lived in Denmark and have then moved on, one has yet to live in Denmark, but expects to return to Denmark eventually to finish her studies. Ten of the respondents mentioned their return to Denmark as being due to education, either to go to boarding school or to begin university studies. It is perhaps worth noting here, that education is free in Denmark, and may have a heavy influence on decisions regarding where to take further education. Unless their parents are still living in childhood host countries, the respondents seldom go back there. This, they explain, is usually because they don't know anyone there any more - the others with whom they spent their childhood with have also either returned to their passport countries or moved on.

The above underpins the idea that Adams and Ghose submit in their article "India.com - the construction of a space between"- that places are topologies of people. Once one's friends and family move away from there, the physical place no longer has the same importance to the TCK. Home, they say, is often equated with wherever they have their daily lives at the current moment, or in connection with their loved ones - partners, children or parents, or finally, home is defined as the country in which the TCK has spent the most time.

Moving in the future?
12 of the respondents have no clear idea as to where they expect to live in the future, but do see themselves moving abroad at a point later on in life. The most common factors which are expected to have influence on where they expect to go are career-related. Some, who have lived in Denmark for many years, have established families and a relationship to the community, and expect to remain in Denmark for this reason.

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