15 Things That Make You A Third Culture Kid


Identify With Being A Third Culture Kid

Third culture kid (TCK) is a term used to refer to children raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of the country given on the child’s passport, where they are legally considered native for a significant part of their early development years.

Dr. Ruth Hill Useem first coined the term “Third Culture Kids”.

I have moved a lot! I know 100% that I am a Third Culture Kid. Moving away from my home country at a very young age helped me develop my love for travelling and seeing the world.

I love to explore new countries and cities while learning about cultures and traditions.

If you are open to it, travel will open your mind to new experiences and people while broadening your mind. It will make you a more well-rounded human being. Which is really the goal, isn’t it?

People who have attended international schools, who are children of diplomats, military kids and children of missionaries are just a few examples of TCK’s.

Attending international schools and living in 8 countries, I have concluded that there are ways to easily tell if you are a Third Culture Kid, or help you identify who is. 

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1. You know that “home” isn’t a place, it’s the people in it.

2. You have to pause and think before answering the question “Where are you from?”

3. Your repeatedly say “then we moved to…” and repeat this about four or five times when people ask where you grew up.

4. You can curse convincingly in at least three different languages. Scheisse!

5. Your accent changes depending on who you’re talking to.

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6. You are excellent at calculating the difference in time zones. Yup, it’s 23:47 in Shanghai right now.

7. You do not know what is meant on a form where it states “permanent address” – Is there such a thing?

8. You speak three or more languages. – Doesn’t everyone?

9. You slip foreign words into your English sentences without even realizing it. You only become aware when the person you are talking to squints their eyes and says “huh?”.

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10. You were on your third passport by the time you turned 12.

11. You have friends from more than 20 different countries. United Nations much?

12. You’ve tasted the best and most authentic of every possible cuisine. So when people who have never been Italy rave about eating “real Italian Pizza and Pasta, you wonder about their state of mind.

13. You are trying to decide on a time to chat with your bestie on the weekend who lives across the Ocean. Questions you ask: WhatsApp, iMessage, Skype, FaceTime, Viber or Google Chat?

14. You adopt certain parts of each culture. – The good, the bad and the ugly. That is what makes you you!

15.You know Visa is a document that is stamped in your passport. What’s all this about a plastic payment card?

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BONUS: You suffer a major/minor culture shock when returning to your “home” country.

Does this sound a little too familiar to you or anyone you know? Are you a third culture kid?

If not, do you ever wonder what it would have been like to grow up outside your home country? If you could choose another country to have grown up in where would it be?

Share your thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section below.

Excited to hear your stories!

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