I am a TCK. NO not a TICK….a T-C-K. A third culture kid. Third-culture kids are those who have spent some of their growing up years in a foreign country and experience a sense of not belonging to their passport country when they return to it. In adapting to life in a ‘foreign’ country they have also missed learning ways of their homeland and feel most at home in the ‘third-culture’ which they have created.

We are a renowned group of people from as far back in time as Abraham’s children, and ranging in genre from Military Brats to Missionary Kids and every thing in between.

When I was truly a “kid” in age. I lived in Kenya, East Africa. There are many parts of my heart and soul and being that are Africa, though my Passport was issued in this country and I was born in the all American town of Mobile, Alabama.

While in Africa I was exposed to other TCK’s of different nationalities and backgrounds, and though we were truly different in many ways we all had the common bond of being TCK’s. This was a pretty special connection to me, even though it was not until years later that I realized the significance of it all.

I am going to use some exerpts from my sweet friend and expert on the subject of TCK’s as well as being an ATCK herself, Ruth VanReken to explain some of this.
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Common personal characteristics of TCKs (children who grow up in this world):
Large world view
Language acquisition
Can be cultural bridges
Rootlessness—“Home” is everywhere and nowhere
Restlessness
Sense of belonging is often in relationship to others of similar background rather than shared race or ethnicity alone

In 1984, Dr. Ted Ward, of Michigan State University, stated that TCKs 3 were the “prototype citizens” of the future. 4 In other words, the experience of growing up in and amid many cultures coupled with a mobile lifestyle would one day be the norm rather than the exception as it was in the early days of Dr. Useem’s initial studies.
Because of that, it is important to look at the TCK experience as a “petri dish”—a place where certain factors related to such a lifestyle have already been isolated and studied. As we do that, we can begin to apply lessons learned to a larger group of children and adults that is currently emerging…those individuals who are growing up or have grown up as what we are now calling cross cultural kids.
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Because I have the extreme honor of being one of these children, and having spent invaluable time with Ruth VanReken and the late David Pollock. My passion for others like me has grown. Our world is just now realizing the significance of TCK’s and even more so CCK’s (Cross cultural kids- a person who has lived in—or meaningfully interacted with—two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years).

As most of you know, I have a degree in International business and my passion and desire is to work in cross cultural training. Helping TCK’s and their parents to fully understand the world to which they belong. Mostly to help them know they DO belong.

“The stress for most CCKs is not from the multiplicity of cultures they experience in their childhood but comes when they try to repatriate or fit into some other cultural box others expect them to belong to but which is being defined in racial, nationalistic, or other more traditional ways of defining “culture”.

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts to give a CCK is to acknowledge the reality that this world of multiple cultures they have experienced as children is a valid place of belonging, even if not rooted in one geographical place or ethnicity. Need to stop “pathologizing” the issues but begin to perhaps define new norms.” – David Pollock

An opportunity has come up for me in this area. I will let you know more about it as I do. Once again, His timing reigns in my life! More to come…..

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