Third Culture Kids or The Eternal Expat


Being born and raised in America, I can’t really call myself a “third culture kid,” although I’ve often felt like one as a first-generation American. Defined as a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture, the third culture kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. In other words, military brats, kids that are from American parents but didn’t grow up here, and even some of those that did – don’t really feel completely connected in any culture and become what I would call “the eternal expat.”

While I grew up here, my family definitely had their own way of doing some things – and – eating some things – that were not standard fare in the U.S. I think I really began to identify with the “third culture” once I started traveling and living abroad in my twenties. Never did I feel more American as I traveled and yet, never did I feel less American when I came home.

The constant betwixt and between of two or more cultures is something Third Culture Kids can now feel completely at home with. TCK’s now have communities that have made them citizens of their own blended country. I never had a label for what I felt growing up and traveling, but I like this one best.

Signs you’re a TCK

Third Culture Magazine

Transect Literary Website


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