What are Third Culture Kids?

The American sociologist Ruth Hill Useem first coined the term Third culture kid (TCK) in the early 1950s “to refer to the children who accompany their parents into another society”.  More recently, American sociologist David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken described a Third Culture Kid as “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently build relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar backgrounds”.  The TCK experience has been studied, but these days the experience applies to a much larger group of children (and eventually adults). Ruth E. Van Reken now refers to Cross Cultural Kids (CCKs) as children who grow up among various cultural environments for many different reasons. For a complete overview, please click here.


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