“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture(s). Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. ”
— David C. Pollock, developer of the TCK Profile.
The above is the ‘official’ definition of what a TCK or Third Culture Kid is. In essence they are people who have grown up among worlds. The apparent contradictions become part of ‘normal’ and they learn to feel at home in-between worlds.
A TCK manifesto
I am a local, I am a foreigner. I am familiar, I am a stranger. I belong everywhere, I belong nowhere. I am home, home is also far away. I am an outsider, I am one of the gang. I stand out and I also fit right in. My passport is from one country but I live in another. I have friends all over the world, someone is always too far away. I have tales of distant places still, I’m always learning local traditions. I speak several languages and I am bound to mix them together. I am the one who always travelled abroad for the holidays yet those who welcomed me always thought I was coming “home”. Many cities have adopted me and I have adopted several cultures. Whenever I’m somewhere I’m missing somewhere else. Each of our stories is unique but there are more of us than you may realise. Together we finally feel we’re where we belong. I am a TCK. All of this is “where I’m from”.
Resources for TCKs
Books about / for TCKs:
- Misunderstood by Tanya Crossman
- Growing up among worlds by David C. Pollock and Ruth Van Reken
- I’m from… Earth? How Understanding Third Culture Kids Can Connect a Divided World by Carissa Gobble.