Trevor Gillies talks about his experience with racism and ethnic inequality as a U.S. third-culture kid in Deutschland
Spending your childhood and adolescence abroad and being raised as a third-culture kid (TCK) is a unique experience. As the child of U.S. service members, Trevor Gillies grew up as the only black kid in a Southern Germany town in the ’80s and ’90s. Today, as the United States and Germany are still grappling with unresolved issues of racism and inequality, Trevor’s story illustrates how our difference can make a difference, rather than be seen as a threat or a challenge.
Trevor was born a U.S. citizen in Nürnberg, Germany and he lived in the country until he was 20 years old. He grew up bilingual in his English-speaking family and being enrolled in the German school system for 9 years. Unlike most other American service families which are deployed in Germany, the Gillies’ did not live on a military base which meant for Trevor that he was fully immersed in the regional Franconian culture and its dialect.
During his conversation with The Culture Guy Trevor shares his stories:
- of attending public school as the only person who looked different than the rest of the student body
- of his teacher, Frau Fuchs, who ensured that everyone in class was treated equally
- and of the girl whose parents didn’t want her to hang out with “a guy like him”
Today Trevor serves as Key Account Manager for I.K. Hofmann USA, a German personnel services company with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, GA and their international hub in Nürnberg, Germany. He has been with the company for ten years. In his current position with I.K. Hofmann he is based out of Chattanooga, TN and is responsible for business development, relationship management and acquiring new clients throughout the Southeast Region.
Many companies often don’t fully understand how the special skills of bicultural team members can be leveraged to improve organizational performance. Read more about this topic on our blog.
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