As Caleb prepares to graduate from high school and move back to Canada, we thought it might be interesting to chat with him to gain some insights on what it has been like for him to be a Third Culture Kid (TCK) for the last 15 years of his life. Here is the interview!
Bustin’ With News: Caleb, you’re less than two weeks from finishing high school. Can you tell us your plans for the immediate future?
Caleb: I will graduate on May 20th. Leading up to that, I’ve been finishing up all the activities I’m involved in – like football (aka “soccer”) and student council. Following graduation will be a class trip. Then it will a final few days of packing before we head back to Canada on June 1st. Then I’ll get “settled in” for the summer. At the end of July I’ll be going to ReBoot (a conference for TCKs moving back to Canada for university). In the fall I’ll be moving into the dorm at Crandall University in Moncton, where I’ll be starting broadly with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with the option to focus it more as time goes by.
BWN: You were only 3 when you moved from Canada to Indonesia. After living there for about 10 years, you moved to Rwanda for the last 4½ years. Why was the time in Indonesia important to you? And why has the time in Rwanda been important to you?
Caleb: The process of moving to Indonesia, having home assignments back in Canada, and then leaving Indonesia, solidified the closeness of our family, and the unit that the four of us make up, how that is the foundation, both for Bronwyn and me. “Home” isn’t necessarily a place as much as it is people. It also helped me learn how to deal with transition, with friends moving away and then, of course, us moving away. With Rwanda, KICS [Kigali International Community School] is by far the biggest part of this time in my life. Even all the activities I do outside of school are still with those same people. The environment there has caused me to grow both spiritually and academically. I had the opportunity to have some great teachers who mentored me, participating on the football team, learning leadership on student council, as well as band, choir, drama, etc. The friendships I have made here I don’t see ending any time soon even though we’ll be going in all different directions.
BWN: While it’s true that there are some things in Canada you miss out on growing up internationally, there are also some blessings you get to enjoy. What do you think has been one of the best things for you growing up internationally?
Caleb: Sometimes, as TCKs, we’re warned or cautioned about opening up so quickly to people that we can either become too vulnerable or close up completely to others. But in my experience (maybe it’s just my personality) I connect with people really quickly, but I’m able to do it in a way that is open and honest but not over-committing or over-investing. One of the things I’ve learned with having friends move away is that it is still better to make those friends than to go all this time without friends and then be “protected” from hurt in the end. I don’t regret any of the friendships I’ve made.
BWN: As you move back to Canada again, what are some things you’re looking forward to?
Caleb: Being with family and in places that have sentimental meaning to me – even just New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in general. This time I go into it with a different perspective that I’m actually going to be with those people for a while (for the first time in my life). Being able to spend my first year at Crandall at the same time as Bronwyn would be at the top of my list. Also, it’ll be good to invested with Hillside [Baptist Church], being able to plug in for a good chunk of time.
BWN: If people want to pray for you during this transition, what would be some prayer requests?
- That I’m able to close things off here in a good way, as much as possible
- I have been sick a lot since February. I need prayer that my body would recover and get strong and healthy again.
- The long, drawn-out transition. It’ll not be the same as most kids, just moving to university. I’ll be moving to a different continent in June (no longer having a “home base” to return to), moving to university in September, and then my parents moving to Rwanda a few months later.
About Darrell & Laura Lee Bustin
The Bustins joined CBM in 2002 to teach at the Kalimantan Theological Seminary in Pontianak, Indonesia, where they helped to train and mentor future leaders for the local church. They moved to Rwanda in August 2012 to work with CBM’s church partner, the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda. Darrell’s primary focus is in pastoral training and church leadership development. He works both with pastors, as well as those studying to be pastors and church leaders. Laura Lee is responsible for overseeing the administrative details for the short-term mission teams that come to Rwanda.