Carole Reniero (BA Social Anthropology 2018) is the London Programme Manager at CoachBright, who support students and young professionals via coaching. In this blog Carole reflects on how volunteering for the organisation helped her during her time at LSE and how a similar 1-1 coaching could have the potential to improve the lives of younger children who grow up in multiple locations around the world.

I spent most of my life moving around from country to country, from school to school. I was raised by two loving parents whose care and strength still guide the decisions I make today. Every time I moved to a new country, I had to hold on to new things and new people. The past could not be called home anymore, because there was a new home ahead. A new school where I had to make new friends, speak a different language, and adapt to a brand new culture. Of course, these were wonderful experiences, and if I could go back in time, I would still choose the expatriate life. It gave me new perspectives, new horizons to look forward to.

At the same time, I often lose myself in identity crises that I feel only people close to me are able to understand. When I was still at university less than a year ago, I met many people on my course who went home for the weekend, spoke about their siblings who also lived in London,  felt that France was and always will be their home. I never had that and I will never have that. This lack of roots is the spell and curse of my everyday life. It is both uniquely wonderful and incredibly upsetting.

I know that some people believe Third Culture Kids (TCKs)[1] do not have the right to complain because they live a life of privilege, filled with opportunities that others do not have. I will certainly not try to argue against that, because it is true. I consider myself lucky to have breathed the fresh air of the Swiss Alps as a baby, to have experienced the quiet countryside of Normandy as a toddler, and to have learned English in my teenage years living in the United States.

What I feel is much more difficult to express though, is the deeply nostalgic feeling of missing a country I have no connection to.  The sadness of watching an Italian movie with my parents, who have both been raised in Italy, and not fully understanding their sense of humour. Or, as another example, the feeling of estrangement that arises when my cousins talk about friends who have always lived a couple of blocks away from their home.

The number of people who find themselves in this same situation is only increasing with the advent of new technologies, ways of communication and travel. More and more young adults today see themselves as ‘citizens of nowhere and everywhere’[2], which led me to reflect on how I could use my personal experience and coaching skills to support this community.

Through my volunteering roles at university and my current work as Programme Officer at CoachBright, I have been witnessing the great impact that 1-1 or 1-2 coaching can have on a student’s self-awareness, confidence and independence. When a coach is able to challenge a young person to achieve their true potential by asking powerful questions and providing guidance, magic happens!

I would argue that there is a dire need for a similar intervention among the expatriate population of the world, including young people and their families. What if families could rely on a Coach during their relocation? Someone who can support them with their journey; before, during and after? Someone who could speak their native language and facilitate the entire process?

In the increasingly globalised, ambiguous and confusing world of today, a wide range of personalised interventions are needed more than ever.

[1] Merriam-Webster Inc. (2019). Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/third-culture-kid

[2]   Mayberry, K. (2016). Third Culture Kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere. [online] BBC. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere.

If Carole has inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.

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