What is a TCK – a Third Culture Kid?
“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his
or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture.” Third Culture Kids – Growing Up Among Worlds by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. van Reken
Origin of term TCK
Sociologists Ruth Hill Useem and John Useem coined the term “Third Culture”, in the 1950s. They spent a year in India with the purpose of studying Americans living and working there. After having met not only expatriates from the US they noticed that the lifestyles of the expatriates differed from home and host cultures. It made up a culture of its own, shared by other expats. Useems labeled culture of origin as first culture, the host culture the second and the “shared commonalities of those living internationally mobile lifestyle” as the third culture (p 14, Third Culture Kids – David C. Pollock and Ruth E. van Reken, 2009). While John Useem focused on the adults Ruth Hill Useem took an interest in the young expatriates. She referred to them as Third Culture Kids.