This is a blog about the everyday events of my life--what drives me, what encourages and discourages me, what touches and nurtures my heart...what makes me who I am.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The heart of a Third Culture Kid (TCK)

I am what's called a "TCK." TCKs are persons who, during their developmental years, grow up in a culture different from their parents' culture. [In my case, though my parents are Taiwanese and I lived in Taiwan for the first 8 years of my life, I grew up in Bolivia (age 8-19). Within these 11 years, 7 years were spent in an American boarding school where English was the medium of communication and the American culture was predominant.] As a result, they are no longer monocultural, but have, in a sense, developed their own culture by combining elements from both cultures--a blend of cultures. TCKs include the children of those whose career require them to move from culture to culture: diplomats' kids, military kids, missionary kids, international business people's kids (like me), etc.

A distinction is to be made between adults who move to another culture and TCKs. The former gain a broader perspective on the world, while the latter inevitably become a blend of cultures.
For more information go to

As one who grew up having to adjust to and juggle three different cultures (Chinese culture at home, Bolivian culture outside the home, and American culture in the boarding school), I have struggled to find a place where I can call home and a culture I can call my own. You be continued..........


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Blogging with Kathy said...

Wow what an interesting background! I lived for awhile in France and as a result feel associations with both French and American culture. It's nice that you have 3 cultures you can identify with. You're a citizen of the world!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Yiren's Blog said...

It is so important for us to know where we belong. Not to mention growing up in three cultural environments, just moving to a different city will make many of us feel so disconnected. However, the richness of the multi-cultural experiences is valuable.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Murlpee said...

I can't say I totally understand... but I can identify with the feeling of not knowing where I "belong" since I've moved a lot/lived in another country/married someone from another country who, by the way, experiences what you're talking about when he goes 'home' and they call him "American." On the positive side, you (and I know who you are :) ) seem to have a talent for adapting to many people/cultures etc. which probably has something to do with your own personality, but could also be the result of your rich cultural heritage... Plus, you know many languages.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Kuki said...

Kathy said that it's nice to see that you ahve three cultures and that you can identify with the three of them.

However, from your writing, it seems that the third culture space is an issue that you are struggling with. I can relate to your feelings. You say to yourself: I don't belong in X culture, I don't belong in Y culture either. I think that you are still struggling to find that third space. If you go to my blog, you will read the presentation I did at TESOL (on this topic). I don't claim that my experience is as complex as yours. No way! But the process that I went through to find that third space was similar. Kuki

At 12:44 AM, Blogger JHC said...

Kuki, you are right, I am still struggling to find that third culture space. I believe I've come a long way in my journey to understand, accept, and value my TCK experience; however, when I think I've come to some sort of closure on this issue, something else surfaces. And so the journey continues...and continue it must.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Shoshauna said...


I am a TCK myself and am trying to find other TCKs! I just opened a shop at:

If you could spread the word that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Shoshauna


Post a Comment

<< Home