The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition

What does 'ATCK' mean?

Find out what ATCK means. ATCK is explained by Tina L. Quick - author of The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition


An adult (over 18 years of age) third culture kid (TCK). Once a person is a third culture kid, they will always be a third culture kid even as an adult. They never lose their cross-cultural, highly mobile life experiences.

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" known TCKs is U.S. President Barack Obama who spent four of his pre-teen years growing up in Jakarta. Shortly after the 2008 presidential elections, a colleague who was following President Obama’s cabinet and staff appointments pointed out that approximately half of his first fifteen appointments were adult TCKs (ATCKs). For those of us who work with TCKs it came as no surprise and was a real validation of Dr. Pollock’s definition. ..."

"...Besides the unexpected reality of having to deal with culture shock, particularly when it is their home country, the inability to connect with their domestic peers is one of the major preoccupations of TCKs. In a 1998 research study of 698 ATCKs, Ruth Useem and Ann Baker-Cottrell of San Diego State University found that three-fourths of adult TCKs feel different from others who have not lived abroad as children, and especially from those who have had no international experience. ..."
"...of belonging TCKs will often develop a migratory instinct that interferes with moving forward in their lives. I see it in the students I work with. Some will transfer from one college to another or change their major over and over again. In fact, several sets of adult TCK (ATCK) research data have shown that as many as one third do not stay at one college long enough to complete their degree. They are more likely to attend three or more colleges and take as long as five to nine years to complete a bachelor’s level degree. Adult TCKs ..."
"...Things happen all the time that take us by surprise. Remember the water fountain story? I laugh at another story an ATCK tells of landing back in the US and heading off to her university in the western part of the country. After a very long bus ride into what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, the passengers stopped for a rest only to be met by riders on horseback…gobs ..."
"...At one of my “Transitioning Successfully for University” seminars, a student asked the question, “How long does it take to get through the transition cycle?” So we directed it to an ATCK graduate student who often speaks at my workshops about her own personal experiences. Her response and many students concur, is that the first term at college or university is spent trying to find your way around, figuring out how everything works, and making sure you have all you need ..."

"...I was so struck with Dr. Schaetti’s TCK identity development model (adapted in part from William E. Cross Jr.’s seminal research on identity development), I feel compelled to share it with every TCK and ATCK I meet. It is so profound and yet the concept is so simple, I feel that every TCK needs to hear and understand it in order to grow from the third culture experience and appreciate the person they are because of it. ..."
"...I was recently speaking with Carla, a bi-cultural ATCK who had spent the first seven years of her life living in Peru. Her mother was an American and her father was an Italian who was born and raised in Peru. He spent one year of his life as a small child living in his father’s hometown in Italy ..."
"...Two young graduate students from a local university desperately wanted to come to a talk I gave on third culture kids but didn’t have the transportation, so I met with them on their campus. It was very clear that these Asian/American ATCKs were in the Exploration stage of their identity development. Unlike Brice, they knew the term TCK. They had always enjoyed being a little different until they came to the U.S. where they felt they didn’t fit in anywhere. They didn’t look or act American and yet they weren’t fully ..."
"...time around. She continuously reminds herself that her bi-cultural heritage and international lifestyle are what have made her different from most others who surround her on her university campus. She says she knows she is quirky but she deals with it by using humor. She also has found other ATCKs and internationals she enjoys hanging out with. (More on how to find belonging in Chapter 6.) ..."
"...they are feeling this way is because they grew up internationally. Schaetti quotes Janet Bennett, executive director of the Intercultural Communication Institute, as saying that people who don’t understand that they feel different because of their international experience suffer from “terminal uniqueness syndrome.” It is such a relief to ATCKs to find out there is actually a name and a profile for people like them, that they are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with them. ..."

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"This book is a must-read for any TCK who is either on their way to college, or already there! Tina..."

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