Amsterdam experience. Third Culture Kids and my sons 🚸

How to surround Third Culture Kid with other children to feel a sense of community?

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International children in one community

Time flies! And in less than two years, in 2003, we were heading towards Amsterdam! With two sons, no job for me, but a lovely area to live in, we arrived in The Netherlands. What made the difference for us in Amsterdam? Ultimately, was deciding to enroll our children in an international school. To surround our boys with other Third Culture Kids to feel a sense of community. Choosing a school for your children is a very personal decision. These are the criteria you can base your decision on.

Family values and beliefs.

Every family has different criteria based on their values and beliefs that are important to you. 

That is to say, for us the most relevant aspect, as a family, was to show our kids we were loving being a multicultural family. Toru and I wanted to show our boys that being a mixed family was not a rare case. On the contrary, it was a unique and valuable treasure!

In addition to that, we wanted them to meet other kids who were also moving around constantly. As the opposite of most of our friends. So, our boys would connect and relate to their peers.

International mindset

So, to begin with, we needed a school that supported an international understanding mindset. Flexible and accommodating, so our children could feel part of it. Therefore they will have a sense of belonging in a community.

At the same time, we realised that the identity of our kids was starting to develop. So they needed to be surrounded by a welcoming, familiar and supportive atmosphere. We were recognising ourselves with the international identity, and we were raising what is called Third Culture Kids. So, we wanted them to celebrate their identity.

Versatile educational system

After we researched thoroughly, we found what educational system worked for us. It was the IB system. An inquiry-based learning approach focus on the student. Pupils are the center of the learning process, and teachers act as a guide helping students to learn. 

The children develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring to become motivated to succeed. The system helps students build their critical thinking skills, nurturing their curiosity and their ability to solve complex problems.

Not only those were principal factors for us to decide on an IB school. The fact that they 

  • encourage students of all ages to think critically and challenge assumptions
  • develop independently of government and national systems, incorporating quality practice from research and our global community of schools
  • encourage students of all ages to consider both local and global contexts
  • develop multilingual students.

as mentioned in the benefits of the IB system webpage, made us decisive.


In conclusion, before enrolling your children in school, consider the primary aspects of it. That is, base your decision-making on your core values as a family.

Secondly, embrace the international mindset that you will expose your children to.

And finally, seek a flexible approach in education to make smoother the (possible) next transition.

Are you curious about how the journey as an Expat looks like? Check my other posts to learn more about it.

Have fun reading!

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