The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition

What are the ‘Four Pearls’ of transition?

Answer

The disconnects, misunderstandings and feelings of being fish out of water that many TCKs experience can be significantly minimized by understanding four simple truths - the four 'pearls' – four things global nomads need to understand before they leave home for the transition to college/university. These four truths are the most common stumbling blocks for TCKs who don’t know what to expect when they make this major life transition:

1) TCK Identity Development – Dr. Barbara Schaetti has done extensive research on the five stages TCKs go through in the search for their sense of self. She says that most TCKs will have an encounter experience when they wake up to the fact that they are different from others. This ‘encounter’ often comes upon repatriation when the illusion that they know their home country well is shattered. The other four stages are discussed thoroughly in Chapter 7 of The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition.

2) The Transition Cycle – whenever we undergo a major life transition we go through five very predictable stages. Chapters 2 through 5 explain the transition experience based on David Pollock’s model and takes the student through what kinds of emotional experiences can be expected in each stage. If a student understands what is happening in each stage and knows that it is not only normal and expected but also temporary and unique, he or she will be able to get through it.

3) Unresolved Grief – the life experiences of the typical global nomad involve a significant amount of separations and losses during childhood. When we loose people, places, pets, possessions and more, we must be allowed to grieve over them or we carry that grief with us and it can resurface later in life as destructive expressions of grief such as anger, depression and rebellion.

TCKs must learn how to name their losses, spend time with them, come to closure and move forward. Chapter 3 of The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition discusses unresolved grief and how to confront it.

4) Different ways of relating – TCKs make and build their relationships very differently from someone who has grown up in one place all her life. Historically, domestic peers have time to watch and wait and see if a relationship will develop. They will spend a lot of time in the safe and superficial layers of conversation before deciding they can trust someone and then share something of a deeper nature.

Global nomads historically do not have time to watch and wait. The TCK will immediately go to a deeper layer of conversation, throw something out there, see if the other person will share something back and decide fairly quickly if this person can be her friend. When the TCK goes into a more traditional, stable, non-mobile community and tries relating in this fashion, it can come off as being overly sharing. She may then sense people distancing themselves from her. TCKs need to be taught to be patient while making friendships and share slowly.



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"Tina Quick's initiative and book is a brilliant revelation of the phenomena of Third Culture Kids and their many challenges..."

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