Changing environment, learning new language and new culture,being a wife and a mother, living far away from families and friends, I have come to share my views, thoughts, feelings, ideas on so many things that I cherish.

July 09, 2012

The Third Culture Kids (TCK's)


Third culture kids are those who have spent a significant part of their developmental years in a country that doesn’t belong to their parents’ home culture. The phenomenon of being a Third Culture Kid, or TCK, is becoming quite common these days.
According to Matthew Neigh, Executive Director of Interaction International, an organization for TCKs, Third-Culture Kids represent the single fastest growing population in the world today.
As an Expat Woman, I started to look at what is going on in the life of my children and others who are also TCKs.  I began to compare them to their peers who are non TCKs or who their parents do not have any expatriate background. From my findings, it is interesting to know that it is not always easy for the kids just as their expatriate parents. These children though small/young already know that they are living two or more different kinds of lives - the life which they live in their host country and the life which they live at home as regards to their culture or behaviour of people of their home country. All these are at times not always easy for the kids in question. The good thing to know as an Expat Mom is that the advantages of being a TCK over-weighs the disadvantages.
However, I must say that the parents have to play a big role in creating a very good path for these kids to learn how interesting the world is.

These are some of the good things to know about the TCK's:
*They tend to have more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCKs. 
*They are often bi/multilingual (familiar with several languages)
*They adapt easily to situations. Due to their sociocultural adaptability, it is said that they get well along with anybody and are more welcoming.

*When given enough academic support by parents, they tend to perform higher than their peers and often make good careers. 
*They are flexible and learn to become more comfortable with change. They are exposed to different ways of thinking, habits and attitudes.

*Third-culture kids are well-travelled, familiar with several cultures, able to enter new cultures more easily, self-sufficient, and have higher level of self-esteem.

According to  Rebecca Glicksberg Skipper ,  Adult TCKs actively seek ways to expose their children to the world’s range of countries and cultures and purposely teach and model the valuable and enduring message that differences among people are cause for celebration, exploration, and respect.

Do you have the TCK's or are you one yourself, what are your experiences? Please share with us.

23 comments:

May said...

You've said it all. I like the points you made here. Nice post.

culturesoup said...

This is the first time i've seen any blog by a Nigerian touch on being a TCK. I am one, that's why i tag myself multicultural because my nationality alone is not enough to describe the range of influences i've grown up with.
When i started my blog, i thought i'd focus a lot on my TCK experience but it didn't work out like that. Maybe that'll be for another blog.

It's true there are all those benefits you listed to being a TCK/ATCK but they don't come automatically. In my experience, they come at the point at which you are able to reach a resolution of many identity and relational issues but getting there is not easy. For me, finding out about TCKs has been part of the process because for the first time in my life, i started to understand things about myself and the way i react to situations that i didn't before. I always just thought it was me that was weird or different. It was a huge relief to find other people like me. Reading some of their stories felt like reading about myself and brought me great comfort.

I think it's great that you're aware of TCKs. That knowledge will be really useful in helping your kids as they grow into their expat lives.

Rebecca Bany said...

This is a touching post. I found it very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
www.rebeccabany.com

Life,Twins,DramaQueen said...

Hey! I Like your blog so much that I've just awarded you with the Butterfly Blogger Award! Click the link to come pick up your award!!

http://lifewithtwinsandadramaqueen.blogspot.com/2011/07/butterfly-award.html

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

My nieces grew up as TCK's. I agree that TCK's perform academically and socially better than their peers. I think they learn to value diversity early.

Laura said...

This is VERY interesting. I have experience as an ESL teacher, although my training was minimal in that area (apparently, if you're an English teacher, people think you're qualified to teach English to speakers of other languages). This is just one more example of something I'd have liked to know prior to teaching these kids. Some of what you say in here I can nod my head to, having experienced it with them. Thanks for sharing!

Stopping by from the voiceBoks Members to Remember. :-)

MommyDigger.com said...

I hope to raise my daughter to understand well and respect all cultures, great post!

TJ @ MeasuringFlower.com said...

Hi! I've given you the Butterfly Award! http://www.measuringflower.com/2011/07/butterfly-award.html

Sarah said...

Thank you for educating me about this. I have to admit I've never heard of third culture kids or the growing phenomenon! This is fascinating and just shows how important culture is to children and their education.

Ifeoma said...

Great post, quite educative. I will really love to see more post about the TCK and suggestions on how parents can bring out the best in them since they have such great potentials.

TyKes Mom said...

Very interesting post! I hope to educate my children in various cultures and, God-willing, we would love to travel to other countries to experience those cultures first hand.

Christine said...

Thanks for all the information! I'd never heard of the term TCK before. I do agree that they are most likely living separate lives, and that getting together with other kids with similar experiences would be very helpful and encouraging for them. It's so great that many are bilingual as well!--Christine, visiting from VB

Rachel Joy said...

My children are kind of TCK. They've grown up in the US and now we've moved to the Philippines, but since this is my home culture they adapted rather quickly. But I do look forward to exploring other parts of Asia with them...getting immersed into different cultures will definitely expand ones horizon!

Syed Store said...

Wonderful post, I agree with every single word of that. My two year old girl is multilingual and understand very well.
Bushra Syed from VB.
www.allaboutbabyzee.blogspot.com
www.syedstore.blogspot.com

DrieCulturen said...

Nice post! I recently started a blog in Dutch about TCKs. I am Dutch but I was born in Zambia, lived in Malawi and did my secondary school in Zimbabwe, so I am a TCK too. I really believe that TCKs have extra challenges and that it is very important that parents read and know something about what a TCK is. There is a good trailer about TCKs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FouOIB_AAfw

The book to read is "Third Culture Kids, the experience of growing up among worlds" by David Pollock and Ruth van Reken.

greetings @DrieCulturen
http://drieculturen.blogspot.com/

True Identity said...

We are from Puerto Rico living in NYC, and it is true that we have our own customs that we bring from our country and the children are exposed not only to my home country cultures but to the new american traditions that they are being exposed to at school. I also apreciate a lot all the differnt other cultures that we are exposed to by being in this country and I like to teach my children to be appreciative of ALL different cultures and be respectful of all customs from other countries. Thanks for doing this website for people like us living in a world of multi cultural experiences.
Following from Voiceboks. Great site

DrieCulturen said...

Hello Nekky, Thanks for your comment on my blog! I did an English post on news and links on third culture kids (TCKs) over at my blog:
http://drieculturen.blogspot.com
Do come over an visit again!

Rachelle said...

Hallo! Schöne Grüße! Glad to have found an expat like me here in Germany! Thank you for this information. I haven't heard of the TCK term too. I'm really having a hard time adjusting my life here especially the language. How about you, have you learned Deutsch? Hope we could connect some time. Where are you in Germany, by the way? I'm in Aalen, an hour away from Stuttgart. :)

Rachelle said...

I sooo liked your site I needed to come back and grab your button! lol!

Talliana said...

Did not realize there was a name for this. I am Dominican and my husband is Haitian. We have always thought this was normal because most of our friends are the same way. In our neighborhood you are either white and born here or you are a foreigner where your kids are first generation natural born Americans. Love your site it is really different from the others. I will be back here again.

Polish Mama on the Prairie said...

I never heard of this name before and I'm not sure I want to apply it to myself. I was an immigrant child. My parents say I have "gypsy blood" because I have a calling to move, to go elsewhere, I'm not happy living where I do for a long time.
I wrote about it in a post if you don't mind my sharing it. http://polishmamaontheprairie.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-feet-in-two-worlds-brutally-honest.html

Mom of A and a said...

so interesting! I will definitely try and find one in my area!

DMS said...

What a fascinating post! I am not a TCK, but I know friends who are and I think your post brings up many great points. I will point them in this direction. :)
~Jess

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