Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Expat children and the unique experiences of Third Culture Kids

Now we love receiving comments from our readers. We love hearing your thoughts on our posts, sharing in your experiences and learning about your fascinating stories and backgrounds. We love it even more when your comments tell us how much you enjoy reading our content and when you open our eyes to some of the fascinating projects you’re involved in.

One such project was brought to our attention by Ruyi who got in touch having read one of our posts and informed us about her great tckbookproject aimed at detailing the experiences of Third Culture Kids (TCK’s).

Now for those that aren’t familiar with the term, Third Culture Kids are described by the lovely folks at Wikipedia as:

“someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture."

The term was initially coined by the sociologist Ruth Hill Useem in the 1960’s and there has since been a vast amount of research looking at the Third Culture Kids, their characteristics, personalities and how their experiences have shaped them as individuals. Whilst growing up in a different culture can often broaden horizons and offer exposure to a range of societies and traditions, Third Culture Kids often face many challenges and issues such as a loss of identity, the breakdown of social support networks and a feeling of being “out of sync” with their peers.

However, thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom and many Third Culture Kids admit they feel they can “get along with anybody” and are often considered “more mature” than their none TCK counterparts. Importantly with the growth of social media, many TCK’s have found novel ways of keeping in touch and the growth of online communities such as TCKID and TCKWorld provide a range of support and resources.

Interestingly with the advent of YouTube, many TCK’s have taken it upon themselves to discuss the issues they face in a range of humorous and creative ways. Below is one of our favourites:

Source: Abhishekcs27

Experiencing the expat lifestyle as a youth is obviously a unique experience and projects such as Ruyi’s will help capture this diversity in a fascinating and lasting way. The 2009 Expat Explorer survey has also examined the issues of Offshore Offspring and found some interesting findings such as:

· Australia is ranked as the number one country for raising children,

· The UK scores poorly for schooling and the cost of raising children

· Singapore scores highly for education and safety

· Childcare and costs of raising children cheapest in Hong Kong

With 2010 findings currently in the pipeline we’ll hopefully be able to shed some more insight into how these profiles have changed over the last year. In the meantime we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


  1. Thanks again for your post about the TCK Book Project! We really appreciate it!!

    One important thing that I hope you don't mind correcting on this entry is that, this project is led by two people: Alexis Redding and I. Without her, this project wouldn't have taken off so well.

    We will make sure to keep you posted on the project. And let us know if you would like to submit an entry as well!

    All the best,


  2. Thank you so much for opening a channel for all of us, parents of third culture kids... very comforting reading about everyone else's challenges. Cheers!

  3. I just stumbled upon this post - I am so glad I did! Our kids are now TCK, so far it has been very positive, and I hope this continues. Thanks for all the great info.


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