Third Culture Kids in France

Information about children raised in a culture outside of that of their parents, with links to TCK websites...

The term "third culture kid" (TCK) was first used in the 1960s by sociologist Ruth Hill Useem when she researched North American children living in India. Since then, Dr. Useem has become one of the main authorities in this field.

Definition of the Term

Dr. Useem's definition of 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. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background."

TCKs have incorporated different cultures into their thought processes which means that their thought processes are truly multicultural.

The phenomenon and global subculture of TCKs is becoming increasingly common as a result of globalisation and frequent relocations overseas.

Character Traits

TCKs tend to have the following character traits:

  • They have a great cross-cultural understanding and tolerance
  • They are very adaptable
  • They often have high academic achievements
  • It is important for them to keep an international dimension in their lives
  • They feel different and out of synch with peers on return to a home-country
  • They often have a pro-longed adolescence
  • They feel rootless, have identity issues over where they belong and can often be nationalistic
  • They may have problems with commitment and interpersonal relationships
  • They tend to marry later and tend to divorce less

Famous third culture kids include Barack Obama, Madeline Albright, Uma Thurman and Viggo Mortensen.

Online Resources for Third Culture Kids

More Information