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Old 08-01-2006, 08:17 PM   #1
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Originally posted by wikipedia
Third Culture Kids (abbreviated TCKs) is a term for children who have lived a significant portion of their lives in a country that is not their passport country, usually because of parents' work obligations. A synonym for this is global nomad. Examples include military brats, the children of diplomats, children of business expatriates ("business brats"), international school educators' kids, and Missionary Kids.

TCKs share some common characteristics amongst the sub categories such as multilingualism, tolerance for other cultures, a never-ending feeling of homesickness for their adopted country and a desire to remain in close contact with friends from their adopted country as well as other TCKs that they have grown up with.

Many TCKs take years to readjust to their home countries and often suffer a reverse culture shock on their return to their homeland; and many choose to enter careers that allow them to travel frequently or live overseas. There is a growing number of online resources to help TCKs deal with issues as well as stay in contact with each other. Recently, blogs have become a helpful way for TCKs to interact.

The term third culture kid was coined by Ruth Hill Useem in the early 1960s. She and her husband studied children who grew up in two or more cultures, including their own children, and termed them simply "third culture kids". Their idea was that children from one culture who live in another culture become part of a "third culture" that is more than simply a blend of home and host cultures.

Children and adults of the third culture share similar identities. Useem defined a third culture kid as

"[A] person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third culture kid's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background." (Pollock & van Reken, 2001, p. 19)
I read this article and now I'm pretty sure I'm a TCK, which would explain my incurable desire to see the world and how I don't feel I fit in at "home". Even though I don't fit all the requirements in the traditional sense, all the elements are still there. My family is from Miami, FL. Most expats actively become expats by moving to another country, but my parents passively became expats by having the other countries move to them!

So, anyone else here a TCK?
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:32 AM   #2
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Wow... so what I have has a name? LOL I have ALL the symptoms...

I bet Tamara's kids also do!! Oh well.. it's the only thind of life that I've known.. and I love it!

I love the term used by the German Sociologist Ulrich Beck in What is Globalistaion?. In the book translated into Spanish they used the word "topopoligamia" which literaly means "being married to two places". I felt so identified with that theory...
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:35 AM   #3
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I'm definately a true TCK, I've spent 11 of my 17 years overseas. The states is pretty much foreign to me now. I went back for two weeks after four years of not visiting, and I felt like a tourist. It was weird! But the experiences of growing up overseas have definately been worth it. Although I hate it when someone asks me where I'm from, because then I have to explain that while I was born in CA.... and so on. lol.
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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I think I'm a TCK despite living in the states the last 2 decades or so.

I was born bi-cultural, and thanks to my dad doing the int'l business thing, I got to see much of Asia as a kid. Which I guess planted the seeds of multicultural obsession at an early age. Now I'm making up for lost time spent here in McDonaldsLand.
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:27 PM   #5
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Haaaa yeah I would def. associate myself with that. I can never imagine myself as being "American", but I'm not Brazilian enough to be considered "Brazilian"

It's like you're stuck in this really ugly middle state.
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Old 08-05-2006, 03:09 PM   #6
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Yeah, I guess my kids qualify. The 10 year old has lived 6 years overseas so far (with 2 more planned to date, and more after that, we hope), and gone to school in 4 languages, just 1 year of English. The 8 year old has also lived 6 years overseas, and has had three languages of instruction, none of which are English (when we eventually move back to the States, she'll be ESL for sure). The 6 year old was born overseas, and has only lived 1 year in the US, and the 3 year old has a grand total of 2 1/2 months in the US and 1 month in Canada.

It will be interesting to see how they adjust to life back in the states whenever that happens - but I think American military brats like ours probably have less difficulty adjusting than children of diplomats, business people and what not, because if you're stationed remotely near a base (which the vast majority are), you have what amounts to a little piece of America with you wherever you are - familiar food, fast food joints, movies, fashions, magazines, whatever. And if you go to school at the base schools, I imagine you would not have too much difficulty fitting in in a stateside school - not much more than a kid who moves from Hawaii to North Dakota, for example. I mean, that's a pretty major culture shock in itself, isn't it?

Though I didn't grow up in the same way, I somewhat understand the feeling because I'm experiencing it a bit now - I don't live on the base and don't get terribly involved in the various activities offered there, so I don't really feel part of "base life", but at the same time, I don't speak German and can't really interact with my neighbours much, or fully participate in life in the village. I voluntarily distance myself from the one, but haven't the skills to fully engage with the other, with the result of living in some weird sort of limbo between them both.

Ah, well, observer status has its perks.

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Old 08-05-2006, 03:33 PM   #7
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Sweet! So I'm a business nrat? That sounds wrong in soooooo many ways! Oh well I think I'll stick to the neo-nomad title I gave myself or TCK although it reminds me of my fraternity, TKE. . . I'm 20 and I've lived in the states less than 8 years altogether.
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:59 PM   #8
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tumblezweedz @ Aug 5 2006, 05:09 PM) [snapback]133791[/snapback]</div>
not much more than a kid who moves from Hawaii to North Dakota, for example. I mean, that's a pretty major culture shock in itself, isn't it?

When in middle school I lived in a suburb of Las Vegas and went to a school with 1500 kids (grades 6th thru 8th). In my 8th grade year I moved to Oklahoma and attended a school of only 400 kids, grades K thru 12. That was a freaking culture shock!
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