What is a Third Culture Kid?

A third culture kid is someone who spent a couple of years in a country outside his own country. These are children of business men, missionaries, soldiers, sailors or adventure seekers who take their kids any where ! They become ‘culture blended’ people.
How much a person adapts to the ‘foreign’ culture depends on age and amount of exposure to the culture. Because a lot of TCKS move often they take on ways to survive. TCKS learn to be different and are forced to embrace being different. They are often strong independent people. Often they have a great ability to make decisions and to take over leadership.
A TCK will probably never change to a mono-cultural person. Even though I have seen people who take on a new culture or even there own, passport culture and totally deny their past. They try to become a mono-cultural person. Not sure how they succeed on the long run.
TCK are very open-minded people. They respect people from different cultures. TCKs have learnt that there is no ‘right or wrong’. Eg in one culture it is wrong to burp after a meal, in an other culture it is required to do so after each meal.
A TCK can never change back into a mono-cultural person. Parents of TCKs can return "home" to their country of origin, but the children, enriched by having shared life in their formative years with another people, will find characteristics of both cultures in their very being. Acceptance of this fact frees TCKs to be uniquely themselves. In fact, TCKs have tools to be the cultural brokers of the future.

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2 Responses to What is a Third Culture Kid?

  1. Nid says:

    I am thai and my 19 yearsold daughter is also thai but we were living in germany for 15 years, (she was about 2 yearsold that time i took her with to germany), since 2004 we were back to hometown in chiangmai, my girl she study now in Payap University International Department, there she has (thanks god!)an international friends and speak daily english. What a pitty is, she needs to learn ” Thai language ” in the University but they don’t let her learn because she has a thai passport. As a thai girl who gorwn ab in germany and of course her native language is ‘german’ won’t accept from her own Goverment!? I don’t know, should i laugh or cry about this???

  2. Lillian says:

    Hi Nid.. I’m sorry, that sounds very unfair! Lets hope things change in the future for thai children who grew up overseas !

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