The term Third Culture Kid (TCK) is one that has only recently begun to get a substantial amount of attention, despite its longstanding existence within the global community. It was coined in the 50’s by Ruth Hill Useem to describe those of us who were born in one country, or what I call “my parent’s passport country,” but have then proceeded to move in the formative years of our development to one or more “foreign” countries. The result of this transcontinental growth is something spectacular, something that can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. In that land, they interact with thousands of individuals who exist within a completely different culture, this being the Second Culture. The result is that the child then adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture.
The term TCK, though clearly using the word “kid,” does not limit the group to only children. Like everyone else, a TCK must one day grow up, and in doing so, they become one of the most globally aware individuals on the planet. They become an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), possessing all the skills and qualities of a cultural melting-pot, but with the ability to view the world and the people in it with an eye that’s shared by no one except other TCKs.
The largest problem for the TCK community has always been our ability to come together once we reach our adulthood. After the constant traveling of our youth, after the years of international schooling and constantly being surrounded by other TCKs with similar experiences, we are forced to enter into the global market, a world so full of people that finding another TCK is similar to hunting for life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at night. We become stranded, unable to share the experiences and beliefs we once so openly discussed with the TCK community that surrounded us. We become, for lack of a better word, homeless.
Thanks to the work of the ThirdCultured team, however, there’s hope in bringing that illusive home of ours back together. TCKs, the most valuable assets to global business, finally have a tool that is being developed strictly for them. Thanks to the work of a few TCKs, a social networking site that’s exclusively accessible to Third Culture Kids is finally becoming available. So what does that mean for our community?
TCKs, who call themselves the global nomads or the homeless travelers, are finally able to come together in a way that has never been offered before. Thirdcultured.com offers a social media platform in which TCKs from around the world can come together, get in contact, meet up in person or online, share in discussions about global topics, assist one another in dealing with transitioning into the ATCK community, finding work on a global level, or just sitting down for a casual conversation with someone who understands the world through the lens you see it.
The idea is simple: As TCKs we have been scattered across the world, seen so many things that no one else will ever understand except for the few TCKs that experienced what we experienced. With all of us littering the world, integrating back in with the First Culture and using everything we’ve learned to help better the world in whatever way we can, we end up saying goodbye to the community that truly understands the implications of our upbringing. ThirdCultured is the way to bring every Third Culture Kid back home. And frankly, I couldn’t be more happy to have stumbled into it.