Why “3rd Culture Children”?

Third Culture Kid Identity from Adrian Bautista on Vimeo.

Thanks to an excellent team of bloggers, we’re sharing here a good impression/definition of the term “third culture children”, their implications, and the reason why the name was chosen for this Travel Blog.

“The term Third Culture Kid (TCK) is one that has only recently begun to get a substantial amount of attention, despite its longstanding existence within the global community. It was coined in the 50′s by Ruth Hill to describe those of us who were born in one country, or what I call “my parent’s passport country,” but have then proceeded to move in the formative years of our development to one or more “foreign” countries. The result of this transcontinental growth is something spectacular, something that can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. In that land, they interact with thousands of individuals who exist within a completely different culture, this being the Second Culture. The result is that the child then adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture.

The term TCK, though clearly using the word “kid,” does not limit the group to only children. Like everyone else, a TCK must one day grow up, and in doing so, they become one of the most globally aware individuals on the planet. They become an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), possessing all the skills and qualities of a cultural melting-pot, but with the ability to view the world and the people in it with an eye that’s shared by no one except other TCKs.”

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60 thoughts on “Why “3rd Culture Children”?”

  1. Fellow Third Culture Kid here too! I love that I happened across your blog! How cool! I can’t wait to come and read up all that I can when it’s not in middle of the night. =)

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  2. I’m a third culture kid! My dad is in the UK foreign office. I love reading your blog – thank you so much for sharing! It is great to read other stories and compare different experiences 🙂 I look forward to reading more

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    1. Thank you so much for, not only for coming by the blog and sharing your nice comments, but also, for sharing your post on bi-cultural upbringing! We’re a growing community over here, and I’m glad to learn more and more people are becoming interested, curious and active! Thanks, and take care, Raquel.

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  3. Thanks for stumbling upon my blog. I am grateful for such informative blog of yours. It’s so interesting even if I’m not an ATCK but somehow the way that I differ from my mom in many ways made me feel like an ATCK. And as a mom I believe my children are TCK even if they never descend from a different culture its because they are way too different from me. And I understand that personality in them.

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  4. What an interesting concept. My kids are bicultural, I guess. We live in Spain, I’m English and my husband’s Spanish, they’re bilingual. My 5yo gets quite confused about where he’s from. He’s always asking me, “Am I Spanish or English?” Not the same as TCKs, as they move around, but all part of the same cultural identity confusion issue. Really enjoy reading your blog, thanks for stopping by mine.

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    1. Thank you, Claudia… This is who we are, and how we’re raising our kids… we’re a traveling family, trying our best to keep up with mixing cultures and influences, while trying to raise worldly children… Thanks for stopping by! 😮

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      1. Thanks for coming by my blog and following. I think I can relate somewhat to your family’s situation. Both my parents are from Colombia, South America, and both my brother and I were born in Queens, New York. And we all now live in Houston, Texas. And my Husband is from Mexico, so my son (who was born in Pasadena, Texas) now has heritage from two Spanish Speaking countries and one English Speaking country that also has a variety of customs depending on which town or city you live in. 🙂
        Claudia

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  5. I do like this concept. It doesn’t have to be different countries. Growing up in a divided country can offer a similar state of mind, part of both sides of the divide, but also somewhere beyond each. Like bilingual children, bi-cultural children, are TCK. Hurray! Sometimes they need help to grow into it, from others/maybe adults who celebrate differences. Good luck to you all wherever you live

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    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to come by, share your thoughts and comments! Much appreciated – I’m always saying it makes the blogging experience way richer… thanks for your feedback, and I do agree with the possibility of having multi-language/multicultural children growing up within the same country… culture is related to the way they’re raised, their parents, their families, their values… Greetings from (currently!) Brazil! ;o

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  6. Thanks for the comment on my blog: I’m glad to stumble across yours! I myself am a third culture kid, and familiar with the term.
    Glad to connect with other expats: I’ll be following. Stay well!

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    1. It’s a great pleasure to know/meet other expats out there, and being able to share experiences… Thank you so much for coming over and leaving your impressions! 😮

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  7. Always nice to “meet” other moms raising third-culture children! Sometimes one gets tired of being asked by non-expats, “But when are you going back ‘home’? When the kids get x old?”. Frankly I don’t have the heart to tell them that life as a serial expat is actually quite fun and that they’re missing out!

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    1. Amen! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! It’s wonderful to “find”other people with similar hearts… people think that we may be “suffering”, or that it’s “painful”for our children…and, in fact, it’s not! It’s a regular life, you just keep moving…. I do appreciate your comments, and thank you very much for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts here… much appreciated! Please feel welcome to come back and share your experiences! 😮

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words… The pleasure is mine – hoping to offer a good and interesting reading! Greetings from Brazil, from http;//3rdculturechildren.com

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    1. It was a pleasure finding your blog! It’s part of my research for interesting blogs/bloggers! 😮
      And I’m trying to make the best use possible of this opportunity – travel and sharing our experiences/lessons learned. Happy 2012 from Brazil!

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  8. Thanks for the follow on my blog, it lead me to finding yours. It’s so interesting. I never knew I was a TCK but I do now. I’m not much of a traveller these days having stayed in one country for the past 22 years. I’ll just have to do most of my travels through your blog instead.

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    1. Thank you so much! And thanks for sharing the TCK connection…. I’m a parent of 3 TCKs, and trying to learn as much as I can, to offer my children, a healthy, safe and realistic environment… 😮 Thanks for using my blog for your travels! You’re more than welcome here! Cheers! Happy and peaceful 2012!

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    1. Thank you very much, Angeline! I’m always on the lookout for similar interests, posts from travelers/expats/parents, amateur photographers, parents raising third culture children (TCKs), life overseas – its challenges, lessons learned… that kind of stuff. Then, I found yours, and liked it a lot! 😮 Thanks for coming by, and commenting! One of my resolutions for this 2012 (regarding blogging), besides having a better posting schedule, is to have guest posts, guest bloggers, shared experiences, maybe even open a weekly forum, with a defined theme, for recommendations, suggestions, or simply, a channel for information/thoughts exchange… Let’s see how it goes – I very much welcome your suggestions, or who knows, maybe you could be the first “guest blogger” from 2012? Thoughts? 😮 Cheers and greetings from sunny Recife, Brazil.

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    1. Thank you very much, Linda! I guess it’s the main goal for this travel/family blog: share experiences, real ones. Real life is way more interesting than “made up tales”, right? Thanks for making the time to stop by and comment!

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    2. This is the first time i’ve seen any blog by a Nigerian touch on being a TCK, Linda. 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.

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      1. What a wonderful project!! I work with TCKs in Beijing, China, and a lot of my acquaintances have lived most of their lives outside their passport country (even if they first left as an adult). I’ll be passing this info around

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      1. I am a daughter of an oserveas foreign workers. My parents work abroad for almost 18 years. Now that they are retiring and ready to come home, they are having second thoughts of coming home to our country. Having been away for too long will disconnect you from your family and friends and usually hard to come back since the kids are already matured and have families of their own. I understand your mom’s predicament. Right now my parents decided to come home and spend the years of their lives near my mom’s side of the family.

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  9. I recently heard this word “Third Culture Kid” for the first time. I was born and raised in the US with English, but have taken it upon myself to learn other languages and live in other parts of the world. In my travels, I’ve met several people who are multi-lingual, mostly because they grew up in other countries or environments where their parents spoke multiple languages. I hope my kids can be like that one day too. Cool blog!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Jacqueline. It’s interesting how things evolve. I also, was born and raised in a coutry, surrounded by one language, but grew up experiencing the diversity. Once the travels began (for work, leisure, and later, due to married life), i felt much more exposed to the real “multicultural environment”. And that’s exactly the environment we’re bringing our 3 kids up on… Let’s see how we do – hopefully, we’ll succeed! 😮
      Good luck to your life journey, raising the best kids you can!

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  10. It all adds up, and I think I have finally found a satisfying answer to a small conundrum I have been aware of from time to time over the years, addressed in coversations with others, but never found a satisfactory response to. My parents immigrated to Canada from Germany before I was born – and even though I speak English like any other native speaker of English, German was actually my mother tongue. And try as I might to consider myself a Canadian, many people consider me first and foremost a German.
     
    Yet when I visit family and friends and Germany, they consider me to be first and foremost a Canadian. And although it was never anything that triggered an identity crisis, there were times when I was not sure which of the two identities I could claim as I my own.
     
    It turns out that I do not need to even make that choice. How cool is that. Instead, I find myself being an ATCK. Makes complete sense. Who knew! Thanks for sharing this. I may have to write about this one day 🙂
     
    In any event, I have bookmakred your site. I look forward to seeing more of your blog in the future. Thank you also for following my blog. Much appreciated!

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