a baby sitting on steps and a child on a cobblestone street

Karolina Chorvath as a baby in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, left, and later in Prague, Czech Republic. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath

How do you answer the question, “Where are you from?” 

It's a question that Karolina Chorvath dreads and will do almost anything to avoid. This week on The World in Words podcast we make her tell us why.

We talk about growing up between parents, cultures and languages and about the growing number of people who identify as "third culture kids."

Karolina Chorvath and her parents, Igor and Kim, standing in front of their previous home in Leuven, Belgium where Karolina was born. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath

Karolina Chorvath in her home in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


Courtesty of Karolina Chorvath

Karolina Chorvath, left, at a farm in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath

Karolina Chorvath in her home in Michigan celebrating both the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas Day and the Slovak tradition of Mikuláš Day (or Saint Nicholas' Feast) on Dec. 6. Her face is reacting to the potato, a gift given only to naughty children. Don't worry, she was good enough to get some treats. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath


Karolina Chorvath and her family in Bratislava, Slovakia visiting from Warsaw, Poland. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath

Karolina Chorvath and her family back in Michigan to celebrate her brother's high school graduation. 


Courtesy of Karolina Chorvath

Podcast Contents

00:10 A bat mitzvah in Japan.

1:22 "I’m half Chinese and half American … and I live in Japan." 

3:00 “I was ashamed to be a Jew."

4:30 Karolina pronounces her name many ways.

6:05 Bouncing between languages, age three. 

8:30 In Michigan, Karolina’s mum packs her a non-American lunch.

10:38 High school in Poland feels like home. 

12:40 Ruth van Reken, co-author of what Karolina calls “The TCK Bible.”

13:15 Can refugees be TCKs?

13:45 Ruth’s back story.

14:40 Was returning to the US easier?

15:20 Karolina’s TCK college friend, Natasha

16:05 “I feel like a fake when I say, ‘I am Malaysian.’"

17:30 Does having TCK friends help? 

18:40 Karolina begins to see the good sides of being a TCK.

19:30 "Do you have a different sense of what your mother tongue is?”

20:15 TCK singer Sirintip


Listen to the podcast by clicking the play button above. Better yet, subscribe at Apple Podcasts.

The World in Words is also on Facebook and Twitter

With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Related Stories