What is a Third Culture Kid?

When we refer to ourselves as a TCK, the people listening to us could give us a confused look. So for those with the confused look, what is a TCK?

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Ruth Van Reken and David Pollock’s book, “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.”

TCK is an abbreviation of the term Third Culture Kid, and according to Ruth Van Reken, the author of the book “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds” TCK is “A person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture, building relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any.”

With that in mind, one day a fellow TCK friend of mine shared with me an article posted in buzzfeed.com. The article was called “31 Signs you’re a Third Culture Kid,” and the throughout the whole article I was drawing imaginary check signs thinking “Yes, that’s me.”

Here are some of my own “Yup that’s me” signs for being a TCK:

  1. You stare at the “Permanent Address” section of whatever application, for a long period of time.
  2. You connect emotionally when the place that you lived is mentioned in the news.
  3. Your accent changes depending on who you’re talking to.
  4. Inability to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
  5. Ability to swear in multiple- languages.
  6. You can eat everything and anything.
  7. You get birthday wishes from all over the world, in multiple languages.
  8. You fret when you notice the horrible accents that Hollywood actors pronounce when trying to speak in the language that we know.




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