Happy 2018, and welcome back to ICSV! I trust that you had a relaxing and enjoyable time with your family and friends over the holidays. My husband and I spent Christmas in Prague and then took a short trip to Barcelona, Spain during the first week of 2018 to enjoy the lovely, sunny weather. We had a wonderful time, but we are glad to be back at school and to see you all.
It is hard to believe that we will be halfway through the school year next Friday. Already, families that are leaving Vienna have moved on or will be doing so during the next few weeks. Having to say goodbye to dear friends is one of the hardest parts of living in an international community. Even though it is exciting to welcome new and returning families to ICSV, it is sad to see others leave. This can be especially hard for our students, who would be classified as Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Because they either live or go to school (or both) in a community that is not similar to their home country, they have to adapt to a new way of thinking and communicating. In reality, ICSV is basically a “third culture.” It’s not completely Austrian, even though we are located in Vienna, and it’s not American, even though we speak English and follow a curriculum that corresponds somewhat to what is done in the United States. Instead, we are a mixture of cultures, for everyone that comes here brings a bit of their homeland with them.
TCKs are known for forming deep friendships quickly. This may take people a bit off-guard, as they may share their private thoughts and feelings much more readily than the non-TCK who takes time to develop a close relationship. Because of this, it often hurts more when a friend leaves, even one that has only been here for a short time.
So if you are leaving ICSV this month, please be assured that you will be remembered fondly and that we will continue to pray for you wherever God takes you. If you are coming new to ICSV, be assured that you are welcome here and that we want to do everything possible to make this time of transition a positive one. If you are staying at ICSV, please reach out to the new families so that they can become quick friends with your children. And remember that it is okay to grieve the loss of a friend while making a new one. TCKs say that even though all the goodbyes are difficult, they would never trade the chance to meet people from all over the world for anything. Going to school in an international environment is super special and an opportunity that we shouldn’t take for granted.
Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.