Third culture kid (TCK) is a term coined in the early 1950s by American sociologist and anthropolgist Ruth Hill Useem “to refer to the children who accompany their parents into another society." Some also use other terms, such as trans-culture kid, or Global Nomad. More recently, American sociologist David C. Pollock developed the following description for third culture kids: “A TCK is a person who has spent a significant part of their development years outside the parents’ culture. The TCKs 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 the relationship to others of similar background (they are the THIRD culture).”
International Family Transitions: A comprehensive service that specializes in helping students who have been living outside their passport countries successfully manage their transition to college / university, whether they are returning to their home country or going on to another host country and foreign nationals who plan to study in the U.S. whether it is for some or all of their high school years and/or university.
Sea Change Mentoring: An online mentoring program for expat teens that helps them prepare for going back to their home countries, minimize reverse culture shock and maximize the benefits of an international childhood.
TCKid: an active global community of Third Culture Kid (TCK) adults and youth across geographical boundaries, with local chapters dedicated to helping Third Culture Kids connect and find a sense of belonging.
Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds, by David C Van Reken and Ruth E Pollock (2009)
Examines the nature of the TCK experience and its effect on maturing, developing a sense of identity and the process of adjusting to repatriation. It explores the personal challenges that TCKs experience, from feelings of rootlessness and unresolved grief to struggles with maturity and identity.
The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition, by Tina L. Quick (2010)
A book for students who have been living outside their passport countries but are either returning “home” or transitioning on to another host country for college/university. It addresses the common issues students face when they are making the double transition of not only adjusting to a new life stage but to a cultural change as well.
Writing Out of Limbo: International Childhoods, Global Nomads and Third Culture Kids, edited by Gene H. Bell-Villada and Nina Sichel with Faith Eidse and Elaine Neil Orr (2011)
Writers from around the world address issues of language acquisition and identity formation, childhood mobility and adaptation, memory and grief, and the struggle to articulate the experience of growing up global.
Home Keeps Moving, by Heidi Sand-Hart (2010)
Personal stories that demonstrate the tangible reality of Third Culture Kid theories.
Sammy’s Next Move: Sammy the snail is a travelling snail who lives in different countries, by Helen Maffini (2011)
A wonderful story about a snail named Sammy who lives around the world with his parents.
Home, James by Emily Steele Jackson
A fun and heartwarming story about finding yourself in a place you never thought you'd call home.
An online magazine dedicated to today's Third Culture Kids. It represents the modern global nomad community, complete with attitude, expression and creativity.
Unsettled TCK: A travel blog written by a Third Culture Kid that offers youth travel advice and photography tips, among other interesting articles.
Drie Culturen: Dutch for 3 cultures - Culture 1) citizenship; Culture 2) the countries you’ve lived in; Culture 3) all about community, others with the same experience growing up internationally—a blog for kids growing up in other cultures, third culture kids, expat kids, refugee kids and immigrant kids.
Radio National interview, with Ruth Van Reken and 2 TCKs (18 minutes)
Interview about Third Culture Kids, some of whom are quite famous.