Third Culture Kids

From the desk of Shawn Rhoads, Director of Residential Life:

Maybe you’ve never heard the term Third Culture Kid.  As the name implies, the Third Culture Kid (TCK) is an amalgamation of two other cultures, his passport country and the culture in which he resides.  From his passport country he will learn things like national customs or celebrations.  For example, and American family living in Germany would still in some way recognize and celebrate the 4th of July while the nationals around them may not even be aware of the significance of that day for Americans.  The same might apply for Thanksgiving or Martin Luther King day.  The TCK is taught these customs and appreciation for his home culture as this is the micro-culture, at home, in which he is raised.  Likewise, he will also incorporate different facets of the culture around him, like language, dress, music, food, and the like and be informed by the current events that pertain to him in his new country or setting.  The combination of his passport culture with his current culture of residence mix together uniquely in this individual to create a third culture in that one kid, hence the name.  They are like a unique culture in and of themselves.

TCKs are really very fascinating people and we have a lot of them here at Brook Hill.  They usually have a broader global awareness than most teenagers.  Let’s say we hear the news that North Korea is testing missiles in the sea of Japan.  We may gloss over it and move on to the next item in the news.  But the TCK is likely to know someone from South Korea, and have a different level of concern.  The same would be true for the situation in Iraq and Syria, the volcano in Japan or the invasion of Crimea. When the TCK hears these reports faces of friends come to mind and memories with those friends are recalled.   Another very interesting trait of TCKs is that they tend to be more mobile and may not spend a large amount of time in one location.  As a result they will determine quickly which relationships are worth developing and then they will sink roots with those individuals very quickly.  The others are typically kept at arms-length, making it a bit difficult to reach a deeper relationship level with TCKs.  The thinking is, “I don’t know how long I have to be here, so I don’t have the luxury of developing friendships with a ton of people.”  This helps us understand why the limited number of friends and the depth of relationship with fewer friends.

TCKs are very interesting, fascinating individuals.  You will often find them among children of military personnel who move a lot, missionary kids who leave America to go serve with their parents on the foreign mission field, or boarding students who leave their country to seek education in another.  They are often deep, interesting individuals who have a very different and valuable perspective on life.  They are certainly worth your while to invest your time into.  When they see your genuine interest they will be much more likely to see you as someone that they can open up to and share life with.  Get to know the TCKs among us.  Not everyone has this amazing opportunity that we have here at Brook Hill.