Who are "Third Culture Kids" or TCKs?
Children who grow up overseas, whose parents' careers keep them abroad for most, or all of their formative years, are called - Third Culture Kids.
Studies show that these kids mature faster, are more independent and introspective, more sophisticated and cosmopolitan, and far more knowledgeable about the world than their compatriots from their country of birth.
Perhaps most important, virtually all of them, once they are grown, say they would not trade their international growing-up experience for anything else.
The term TCKs was first coined by Ruth Useem in the 1950's to describe the kids of US military personnel who had lived in foreign countries.
Today over 6.6 million Americans live overseas (US State Dept. statistic). And they have a diversity of experience both culturally and emotionally, that leads to a different world-view and set of values, that are not shared with children in their homeland.
The Characteristics of Third Culture Kids
There are 4 common themes that give these kids an edge or advantage in today's world.
1. Change - They know how to cope with high change, because of the constant change of location, friends, schools and cultural experiences they have been exposed to. They are in a continual process of adapting and relating the culture(s) they are coming from, with the new cultures they are entering every few years.
2. Relationships - Before the introduction of social networking, they learned to make friends quickly, and also to let them go just as quickly, because of the many relocations they went through.
However this traumatic aspect is becoming a thing of the past, with the trend to social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and Skype that allow them to maintain close, day-to-day communications no matter where they are in the world. These kids are now able to keep a network of close friendships even though they are not in physical proximity.
This is a global revolution...