Third Culture Kids

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Third culture kids (TCKs) are one of the many categories or titles used to identify unique groups of people. Here is the definition of a TCK:

A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having the full ownership in any. 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.

TCKs became a unique group of the earth’s population from the first migrations. They are normal people with the usual struggles and joys of life that have grown up in the midst of more than one cultural experience. Multiple cultural settings often make TCKs seem different from those around them. TCKs have an unusual outlook on daily life. They have an expanded worldview. They acquire greater linguistic skills. They learn to quickly adapt to the place and circumstances around them. Although for third culture kids childhood experiences differ greatly, living in a culture other than their parents is a beneficial experience that continues to influence their lives (Pollock 19).

At a young age, third culture kids gain an expanded worldview by living in a country and culture that is different from their home culture. They observe many geographical differences around the world, and they learn that people view life from different philosophical and political perspectives. For example, people in some parts of the world think of Saddam Hussein as a hero, while people from other parts believe he’s a villain. Western culture is very time oriented, while relationships are of far greater importance in Eastern lands....

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...nn Close–US actor (Zaire, Switzerland). How about you? Have you spent influential years in different countries and know other cultures so well, there are aspects you prefer above another? Do you find yourself smiling at the sound of a foreign language? Are your best friends scattered around the globe? If you answered “Yes,” you may be a third culture kid. There are hundreds of thousands of people just like you. Although for third culture kids childhood experiences differ greatly, living in a culture other than their parent’s is a beneficial experience that continues to influence their lives.

Works Cited

Henry, Jeannine. Learning and Using a Second Language. 5th ed. New York: St. Martin’s

Press, 1994. Print.

Pollock, David C. and Van Reken, Ruth E. The Third Culture Kid Experience: Growing

up among Worlds. Yarmouth: Intercultural Press, Inc., 1999. Print.
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