Moving to a new country is tough. The moment you step out of the airport, you find yourself standing in the middle of unfamiliar buildings, surrounded by people who communicate through words that make you wonder how they even pronounce them. Moving to a new country may sound fun and exciting. But, on the other hand, any TCK will probably agree that living in different countries has both positive and negative aspects to it.
Third culture kids, or more commonly known as TCKs, is now a word that we hear often. It was coined by Dr. Ruth Hill Useem back in the 1960s, and it is now used to refer to a person that has spent a big portion of their lives growing up outside of their parents’ culture. TCKs are called TCKs because they are made up of three different types of cultures: birth culture, new culture, and an unique culture that they acquire from being exposed to different thoughts, ideas, and opinions from the different backgrounds that they’ve been exposed to. There is currently a growing population of TCKs around the world as exchanges between countries increase every year. What are some things that TCKs and TCKs only can do to help the world?
According to a research, TCKs are four times more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees than non-TCKs are. Forty percent of TCKs go on to earn advanced degrees while only around five percent of non-TCKs continue their studies. Though there are so many well-educated TCKs out in the world, surveys show that TCKs are unlikely to work for big businesses and for the government. Why? Aren’t TCKs the ones who understand different cultures exactly the figures we need in our current businesses and the government in order to better international relationships? It is true that it can be hard for TCKs to get into government jobs due to the requirements that need to be met (Ex. nationality, birth place, number of years lived in the country, etc.), but there are always ways that TCKs can help better relationships between countries. There are people who are striving to make a change, but there are also people who decide to use their knowledge for something else. Why? A big reason may be that knowing both the strengths and the limitations of countries, TCKs are feeling as though they cannot do anything in order to solve worldwide problems, that they do not have enough power to make a change.
At the end, it is up to the TCK him or herself to choose what he or she is going to do with his or her knowledge and experiences as international students. On the other hand, one thing that every TCK should keep in mind is that TCKs have special things that other people most often do not have. Living in places around the world, TCKs have an understanding of both sides of arguments, being able to look at problems from a wider perspective. Not only this, but TCKs have stronger problem solving skills, having to face challenges throughout their lives.
To the TCKs out in the world! You have the power to become the bridge between countries, and together with other TCKs make a difference in the world. How are you going to continue on with your life in order to make the best of your knowledge and experiences growing up as a TCK?