Third Culture Kids (TCKs)

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Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2005 06:39 am
Third Culture Kids (TCKs)
It you haven't already, I suggest reading more about the phenomena of Third Culture Kids (or TCKs). It perfectly describes our (SGA) background and current experiences.

There are some really good and really interesting books out there on the subject. The most famous among them is the one by Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (a good read).

Wikipedia has an article on TCKs and I have included it below.

Wikipedia wrote:
Third Culture Kids (TCKs) is a term for children who live in a high-mobility world and grow up in two or more cultures, usually because of parents' work obligations. Synonym for global nomad. Examples include military brats, the children of diplomats, children of business expatriates (business brats) and Missionary Kids.

TCK's 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 a other TCK's who they have grown up with.

Many TCK's take years to readjust to their home countries and often suffer a reverse culture shock on their return to their homeland.

There are some online resources to help TCK's deal with issues as well as stay in contact with each other.

The term third culture kid was coined by Ruth Hill Useem in the early 1960s. She and her husband (Useem & Useem) studied children who grew up in the third culture (including their own children) and termed them simply ‘third culture kids.’ That was later abbreviated to TCKs. They define 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.â€
Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2005 05:31 pm
That was fascinating.

"The third culture kid builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any."

This is how I often feel, I have a knowledge and feeling for the culture I am in, it is very much a part of me, but it is still not me, neither am I truly American, I have no real culture of my own. It's a strange feeling.
Cookie 2
Reply Mon 12 Sep, 2005 09:33 pm
But then again, we don't fit into that bracket either. Those kids at least can talk about their life. Some of us, becuase of the circumstances of our location/jobs have to keep our life a well guarded secret to just survive.

TF says about us success stories that we make it because of our upbringing; I’d say we make it despite our upbringing.

[size=75]If this quote is true, we’re the biggest success stories I know:

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
Booker T. Washington
Reply Mon 12 Sep, 2005 10:38 pm
how true
Gosh, Cookie - I really like your quotes and stuff. You have a good head on your shoulders. I guess you really are one smart cookie (ahhh, I just had to say that!) Laughing
Cookie 2
Reply Tue 13 Sep, 2005 05:47 am
Appreciated! :wink:
Reply Wed 14 Sep, 2005 08:46 am
Life is all about ass. You're either trying to cover it, kick it, kiss it, bust it or get it.

Why is life all about a donkey?

Why would anyone want to cover a donkey?, Be as cruel as to kick one? Kiss one--YUK!! Bust one? or get one? (unless you need a cheap beast of burden).
Thorwald 1
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2005 11:59 am
I came across this article and thought you would find it interesting:

Missionary kids bring diverse culture to U.

Arielle Gorin
Princetonian Contributor

Rachel Schupack '08 sat outside Wu dining hall, preparing to recount her upbringing in Central and South Asia, an experience unusual even by Princeton standards. Just as she had begun to spell "Kyrgyzstan," she was interrupted by a cheerful Russian greeting from a sophomore friend.

Schupack later explained that her friend had just started learning Russian. "A lot of people like to practice with me," she said.

The eldest of six children, Schupack — who has lived most of her life in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan — is one of a handful of Princetonians who come from missionary families.

Called "missionary kids" or "MKs," these students boast an understanding of the world that stretches far beyond fluency in a foreign language.

Schupack, whose family moved to Pakistan through Worldwide Evangeliza-tion for Christ when she was two, remembered the intense Islamic influence in Pakistan. Schupack's mother, for example, had to wear traditional Muslim garb in public, she said. Schupack, however, was too young to be required to do the same.

Perhaps because of the government's political fundamentalism, Schupack's family was ordered to leave the country when she was four.

"[The Pakistani government] had been asking . . . all these missionaries to leave," Schupack said. "The police came to our house one night and told us we had 10 days [to exit the country]."

After briefly returning to the United States, Schupack's family then spent five years in Kyrgyzstan and six years in Kazakhstan, where Schupack attended a school for missionary children.

She also assisted with humanitarian work, including an "eyeopening" summer spent at a camp for impoverished children.

"[The children at the camp] had one outfit for two weeks," she said. "They hoarded things like toothpaste, combs and pencils under their pillows like treasures."

And the camper's enthusiasm about having the chance to partake in activities with other kids was one of the best parts of the experience, Schupack said.

"It was cool to do things with people who appreciated their novelty," she said.

Brad Milligan '08 also had a nontraditional upbringing. Milligan lived in Zimbabwe with his family when he was four, before spending most of his middle and high school years in Tanzania and Kenya. His family worked with the group African Inland Mission.

"In Zimbabwe, we lived five minutes from the border of Mozambique [where there was a war]," he said. "We went to bed in black pajamas in case we had to sneak out during the night, and we had backpacks packed beside the bed."

Life in Kenya was also uncertain, he said. In addition to exotic dangers — at a hospital where he volunteered, Milligan met a man who had been mauled by a lion — there was also political and social unrest.

"There were hijackings pretty regularly on roads we traveled a lot, and we had evacuation and lock-down drills at schools all the time," he said.

Yet Milligan said these experiences gave him an indelible, unique perspective of the world.

"When I see bombs going off on TV, it really means something to me, because I've known people who have experienced this stuff," he said.

In addition to appreciating the differences of life in other countries, some missionary children grow quite fond of their adopted cultures and homes.

Lisa Frist '06, who lived in Brazil until she was 5 and has returned regularly ever since, said she considers the country a second home.

"In a way, you become a fuller person," Frist said.

She recalled the farm her family lived on, 12 kilometers [7 miles] away from the village of Bauru.

"I remember fishing with a bamboo pole and string, making a makeshift tricycle out of scraps of wood, building a raft out of bamboo," she said. "We had no TV or phone."

Frist is now on the missions committee for Princeton Evangelical Fellowship and has had the chance to watch other missionary children adapt to campus life. They often feel a "different level of homesickness," she admitted.

"You're not only missing your home and family," she said, "but also a different culture, a different language, a different way of life."

Frist added that some who had led the missionary life have a more difficult time identifying with a single culture.

"On the one hand, you're American, but on the other hand you've grown up in another country and have ties there," she said.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said her office valued some of the unique qualities missionary kids bring to campus.

"[If] a student has grown up in a missionary family, they often have wonderful perspectives from living in different cultures and adapting to new languages, customs and living arrangements," Rapelye said in an email.

"They are often open-minded and tolerant, which are qualities we look for in a residential community such as ours," she added.

Even though growing up may have presented unique challenges, Frist, Milligan and Schupack said they are happy to have had the chance to led the nomadic missionary life.

"It's one of the best things my parents have ever done for me," Frist said.

Milligan agreed. "Living in Africa was so incredible, any [negative aspects] are outweighed by the great experience of living there," he said.

Thorwald 1
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2005 02:32 pm
For a great study of what it means to be a TCK, visit this link:
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2005 05:22 pm
MBs & TCKs
I grew up as a military brat (MB), lived in four different countries & five different states by the time I was 18, attended four different high schools between 9th and 12th grade (at least I went to high school--I've quit whining about this since reading your stories), and continued to move every 4 years of my adult life until the age of 44.

Military life is very disciplined. There is a great deal of personal sacrifice and focus on a higher mission of service. I grew up with the understanding that my father might be called to die for the greater good at any time. This conditioning is largely what attracted me to TF, and later, to the Roman Catholic Church.

The globalistgirl link is particularly interesting inasmuch as it cites W.E. Cross on "Self Concept and Reference Group Orientation." This academic had a big influence on my graduate studies in cross-cultural definitions of child maltreatment.

I often wonder why I relate to articles and commentary written by MKs from TFI more readily than by people of my own generation who joined the group like I did. Then discussions like this one on TCKs pop up and clarify the connection I feel to critical thinkers who can take multiple perspectives or points of view. I am thankful to be who I am--multiple identities and all--but I still grieve over the loss of roots in a home town and community of people who have known me since childhood.
Cookie 2
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2005 08:04 pm
evanman wrote:
Life is all about ass. You're either trying to cover it, kick it, kiss it, bust it or get it.

Why is life all about a donkey?
Why would anyone want to cover a donkey?, Be as cruel as to kick one? Kiss one--YUK!! Bust one? or get one? (unless you need a cheap beast of burden).

So, check out this chinese quote.
"Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day."
Do you think I'm talking about a chicken? :wink:
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 05:11 am
Firstly--That ain't no Chinese proverb!--My Chinese mother-in-law says so!

Still doesn't answer the Donkey question!
Cookie 2
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 06:10 am
evanman wrote:
Firstly--That ain't no Chinese proverb!--My Chinese mother-in-law says so!

No kidding? Laughing
evanman wrote:
Still doesn't answer the Donkey question!

Darling, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I tried babe. :wink:

[size=75] Arrow PS: At this time, I have no intention of changing my donkey quote.[/size]
Jack 2
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:35 am
I believe it's not actually a Chinese proverb but rather an old saying taken from the writings of Confucius. Much like:

She who sit on Judge's lap get honorable discharge.
She who sit on Jockey's lap get hot tip.
Cookie 2
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 09:53 pm
...and a few more of my favorites


Virginity like bubble, one prick, all gone.
Man who run in front of car get tired.
Man who run behind car get exhausted.
Foolish man give wife grand piano, wise man give wife upright organ.
Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.
Man with one chopstick go hungry.
Man who scratch ass should not bite fingernails.
Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
Baseball is wrong: man with four balls cannot walk.
Panties not best thing on earth but next to best thing on earth.
War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
It take many nails to build crib, but one screw to fill it.
Man who drive like hell, bound to get there.
Man who stand on toilet is high on pot.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
Man who fish in other man's well often catch crabs.
Man who fart in church sit in own pew.
Crowded elevator smell different to midget.

...I warned you. Laughing
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 06:43 am
Man who scratch ass should not bite fingernails

There you go, more donkey speak!

You seem to have a thing for donkeys, don't you?

If I had a donkey, I'd scratch it with a brush, not my nails.
Cookie 2
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 06:21 am
donkeys? my heart? did i mention i am female? as such, creatures of the animal kingdom do find a way into my heart from time to time. but there's an animal i LOVE. Razz
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 07:24 am
I like rabbits too!

Bugs Bunny is my favourite.

preferr the Daft Duck tho'
winter 1
Reply Fri 15 Sep, 2006 05:58 am
It's interesting to note that evanman is from the UK. I respect him for trying to keep his language clean.

It's commonly refered to as a "bottom" or a "butocks." Did I spell that right? Or is it to 't's?
Cookie 2
Reply Fri 15 Sep, 2006 10:11 am
Third Culture Kid, This is such an interesting phrase. I'd love to hear how people who are TCK's feel at this moment in their life.

Here's how I feel:

It’s like I’ve obtained a license at last to jump, and I’m up there, but I just discovered I have no parachute. Shocked

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