My graduate research is focused on Third Culture Kid experiences, and I recently came across this sentence: “Unfortunately, the literature has tended to focus on difficulties TCKs and ATCKs experience.”
It was in an article by TCK researcher Ann Cottrell titled “TCKs and Other Cross Cultural Kids.” It made me think about my own challenges as a TCK. But I realized my life as a TCK was filled with more happy memories than difficulties.
Yes, TCKs may often struggle with identity issues, reverse culture shock, rootlessness, and loss. But there’s much more to the TCK journey than that.
TCKs get to travel all over the world. We get to meet people from all different walks of life. We get to learn about different cultures and experience them first hand. We might even pick up a language or two.
Then, there are the advantageous traits we obtain and master–adaptability, resilience, open-mindedness, and cultural acceptance. TCKs usually maintain strong and close family bonds, since the immediate family is a source of stability for us. Living with my younger brother, I can attest to how important it is to have someone that understands what you are going through.
As we grow up, we get a better understanding of our highly mobile lifestyle, and make the most out of it. We come to realize how much we know about the world, and how much more there is to know. We might never know how to answer the question “Where are you from?” without wanting to go into our life story. But those are consequences I’m more than happy to live with as a TCK.
I often get people listening to my story and telling me how great it must have been travelling the world. As I continue my research and write up my proposal, I know how important it is to study the struggles of TCKs. But to get a complete idea of the TCK life, the advantages need to be addressed, too.
What advantages of the TCK life do you think should be given more attention?