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Growing up in the Third Culture Presented for MAIS Tunis, 2010 Kim Cullen, American School of Madrid Guidance Counselor and alumna ’91

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Presentation on theme: "Growing up in the Third Culture Presented for MAIS Tunis, 2010 Kim Cullen, American School of Madrid Guidance Counselor and alumna ’91"— Presentation transcript:

1 Growing up in the Third Culture Presented for MAIS Tunis, 2010 Kim Cullen, American School of Madrid Guidance Counselor and alumna ’91

2 You know you’re a TCK when…  You flew before you could walk  You speak two languages, but can’t spell in either.  You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel  A visa is a stamp in your passport, not a plastic card in your wallet  You go “home” for vacation  You sort your friends by continent  Geography class makes you homesick  You can’t answer the question “where are you from?”

3 What is a TCK?  A Third Culture Kid:  has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture.  builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any.  Finds a stronger sense of belonging among other TCKs.  Term coined by Ruth Hill Useem in the 1960’s.  Most of the research done on TCKs was by RH Useem and David Pollack.  a.k.a. global nomad, internationally mobile, expatriate, cross- cultural kid (www.tckworld.com)www.tckworld.com

4 Third Culture? Culture of the home Country Culture of the host country

5 Skills and Challenges Well-developed observation skills In new situations they are very watchful, so they may appear to be holding back, or shy, or reticent or "socially slow"

6 Skills and Challenges Ability to communicate within different cultures Not fully socialized in their home culture, including their ethnic group/s

7 Skills and Challenges Adaptive capacity (can live with constant change) Rootlessness and restlessness

8 Skills and Challenges Can fit in behaviorally (though perhaps not in appearance) Ambiguous cultural identity; don’t fit in here or there: often more at home with other TCKs

9 Skills and Challenges Ability to suspend judgment/view all sides Everything is relative and conditional (“it depends“); sometimes referred to as non- committal

10 Skills and Challenges Enhanced linguistic ability Yet often grammatically challenged

11 Skills and Challenges Appreciation of diversity, broad world view Sometimes perceived as unpatriotic, yet sometimes they can be exceedingly nationalistic.

12 More Skills and Challenges Good at meeting new people; are generally more welcoming of newcomers to their communities. Uneven maturity (out of phase; e.g. delayed rebellion). They seem much more mature than non-TCK teens, yet they take longer to grow up in their 20’s. Believe people in their home countries don’t care or don’t want to hear about their experiences

13 TCKs as adults Mobility Sense of adventure/ migratory instinct Willingness to risk or change Reluctance to commit, make long term-plans Wanting to plant roots Social Interaction Outgoing and friendly Enhanced social skills Difficulty developing relationships Shyness

14 TCKs as adults Education and Career*  TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree  40% earn an advanced degree (8 times more than the US non-TCK population)  45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.  44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.  Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs. TCK World website

15 “While identity development is a complex task for all adolescents; it is particularly complicated for adolescents belonging to ethnic groups. Adolescents, due to their membership both in an ethnic group and in the mainstream culture (s), face an extra problem with identity. Thus, the adolescent is caught between his parents’ ethnic beliefs and values, and that of the mainstream society. … Adolescents today must be allowed to develop a multicultural identity that is composed of multicultural identifications.” From Guanipa-ho and Guanipa, 1998

16 Third Culture?

17 “One day, TCKs will be the prototype citizens of the world.” Ted Ward, Sociologist Michigan State University, 1980s

18 1991  The world wide web was being developed and would not be made free to the public for two more years.  Snail mail was the only mail.  A google (a.k.a. googol) was a number followed by 100 zeros.  Social networking took place at frat parties.  We said “it’s a small world”, but we had no idea.

19 TCKs as adults Education and Career*  TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree  40% earn an advanced degree (8 times more than the US non-TCK population)  45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.  44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.  Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs.

20 TCKs as adults Education and Career *  TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree  40% earn an advanced degree (8 times more than the US non-TCK population)  45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.  44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.  Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs. * Data from 1999

21 How can educators help?  Most of our schools are largely international, and regardless of where our students come from or which culture they identify with, they are all joined in the common experience of being GLOBAL

22 How can educators help?  Promote the strong global identity of our students.  Reinforce the fact that today, more than ever, we are all WORLD CITIZENS.  Being international is not enough…. …transnational …SUPRANATIONAL (transcending boundaries)  SET THE EXAMPLE - be willing to mature and develop a sense of respect, flexibility, inclusion and relatedness to one other.

23 How can educators help? Respect Compassion Responsibility

24 Conclusions  Understanding and acknowledging the benefits and challenges of being a TCK, yet moving past that to a broader perspective  Promoting the idea of world citizenship and transcending boundaries.  Recognizing that colleges, companies, etc., like our students. They are considered to be assets because of their open minds, broad world views, overall maturity, strength in communication, adaptability, and creativity.  Understanding that all of this is a work in progress, and that we have to be willing to continually raise the bar with both ourselves and our students so that, as the world gets smaller and smaller, we can continue to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities that will come. We can help our students by:

25 Resources  Eakin (1998). According to my Passport, I’m Coming Home.  McCaig (2005). Various workshop materials.  Munnerlin, Jen (2006). Teaching Third Culture Kids. Retrieved on October 9, 2010 at: ThirdCulture-Kidshttp://www.scribd.com/doc/ /Teaching- ThirdCulture-Kids  Canadian Academy (Japan) guide for TCKs.  Guanipa-ho, C. and Guanipa, J. (1998). Ethnic identity and adolescence. Retrieved from San Diego State University on October 9, 2010 at  TCK World–

26 Support for TCKs      html


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