The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition

What is a third culture kid/global nomad?


The term ‘third culture kid,’ often abbreviated as simply TCK, is used synonymously with ‘global nomad.’ The TCK term was first coined in the 1950’s by a pair of social scientists, John and Ruth Hill Useem. The ‘first culture’ refers to the home culture or the passport culture even if the child has spent little to no time there. The ‘second culture’ is the host country culture or cultures the child has spent time in and the ‘third culture’ refers to the community of people who are in the process of relating to another culture. It is another way of saying expatriate culture. The children who grow up in this lifestyle are third culture kids. Other common names for them are expat kids. Some sectors even have sub-sets of the terms such as missionary kid, military brat, oil brat and so on.

David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken in their book, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, expanded the definition of third culture kid to highlight the fact that they spend a significant part of their developmental years abroad. This is a crucial part of understanding the impact an internationally mobile lifestyle has on a child. They are learning language, customs, traditions, world view and much more in a variety of cultures. Two realities shape the formation of a TCK’s life: (1) They live a genuinely cross-cultural life and (2) they live a highly mobile life. The typical TCK experience (not for everyone, of course) means moving every two years or less. We often see that in the international business world, the military and other sectors as well.

The TCK will take bits and pieces of all the cultures they live in but feel they really don’t have full ownership in any, even the home culture. Their sense of belonging is with others who have had a similar experience growing up.

A woman by the name of Norma McCaig came up with the term ‘global nomad’ and used it to refer to children who moved abroad due to a parent’s work.

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"... You are taking the necessary steps that can lead you where you want to go and these pages will help you get there. - What is a global nomad/Third Culture Kid? - Some of you may have heard these interchangeable terms before and know a little or a lot about their profile. Others of ..."
"...Some of you may have heard these interchangeable terms before and know a little or a lot about their profile. Others of you may be hearing for the first time that you have a name. Sociologists call people who grow up outside their parents’ home culture or cultures global nomads (GNs) or third culture kids (TCKs). Whatever your case may be, this book is designed for you and for this particular stage in your life because your global experiences have created benefits and challenges you can build on and grow from as you transition from life abroad back to ..."
" in, you not only have the upcoming adjustment to university life to deal with but an added adjustment to a foreign culture. Even if you are a GN/TCK returning to your home country it may be foreign to you in many respects. Through no fault of their own, global nomads often know more about other places, peoples, cultures and languages than they do their own passport country. This can lead to cultural imbalance, identity issues, and being misunderstood by home-country peers which can then lead to the feeling of not fitting in or not belonging which I talk about ..."
"...You are a global citizen, global nomad, third culture kid who has adopted languages, customs, and belief systems of other cultures in addition to those of your home culture. They have shaped you, just as everyone’s experiences have shaped them, to be the individual human being that you are. These experiences and influences have helped you ..."

" nomadiscussions, interviews and forums when I have asked TCKs what issues they struggled with at college or university, the issue of not fitting in/not belonging is what immediately surfaces. global nomads feel different from their peers and therefore, aren’t quite sure where they fit or belong. They know they aren’t ..."
"...the nationality and felt it was not the right fit for her. But she also didn’t fit in with the Indian students or the Americans who were invited to I.O. to interact with the group. She was neither/nor – belonging everywhere but nowhere. She was experiencing what one global nomad on says is “being an international without being an international.” ..."
"...I could tell you story after story of global nomads just like Roger, including tales of near-suicides out of the hopelessness that comes with feeling different, weird, inferior or worthless. My hope and prayer for you is that by reading this book, you will understand that you will feel different from your peers but it is a good ..."
"...attended a Transition /Re-entry Seminar, all of the TCKs I have interviewed and spoken with over the years while preparing to write this book had not received any kind of preparation before returning to their passport culture. Many of them were not even familiar with the term TCK or global nomad. My purpose in writing this book is so that you will not have the negative experiences these students did. Knowledge is power. You are likely to experience the different stages of transition, and you may or may not be able to put the name on the stage, but you ..."

" nomadDr. Barbara Schaetti’s addendum, “A Most Excellent Journey” to Robin Pascoe’s book, Raising global nomads, I felt like the light bulb finally turned on in my brain. I got it! Up until three years ago when reading Dave Pollock’s and Ruth Van Reken’s Third Culture Kids book I had been ..."
"...They get their hands on books like Pollock and Van Reken’s, surf the internet, and find people to consult with to find answers. Brice immediately went into the Exploration phase to find out why he couldn’t fit in anywhere. He had never heard the terms ‘third culture kid’ or ‘global nomad’. He got on the computer and came across articles about kids that had led the same kind of life he had. That’s when he read up on the TCK profile and discovered that he had been harboring unresolved grief to the point of becoming filled with pain. ..."
"...As a result of her research and conversations, Dr. Schaetti found that people who had relatively easy identity Encounter experiences related to growing up globally were introduced to the terms ‘global nomad’ and ‘third culture kid’ while still living overseas, or were introduced to the terms upon repatriation via re-entry training. She mentions that even if a term such as ‘military brat’, ‘oil brat’ or ‘missionary kid’ was used in place of the TCK or GN term, these children at least ..."
"...People who don’t know and understand the terms ‘third culture kid’ and ‘global nomad’ feel very much alone. They know they are different but cannot understand why. They think they are the only ones who feel this way and it must mean that there is something wrong with them. It doesn’t occur to them that the reason they are feeling this way is ..."
" nomad that identity development is a process, one that can take years or decades. global nomads do eventually reach harmony in the sense of who they are. They may go through the phase of Recycling several times; that’s very normal. In the three years since I have truly understood how ..."

"... There are things we can do to prepare our children for the encounter experience. Dr. Schaetti has noted that those people who had relatively easy identity encounter experiences were those who had been introduced to the terms “third culture kid” or “global nomad” either before repatriating or shortly after repatriating. We can teach our children from very young ages that there is a language for the experience they are living as expatriate children. In this knowledge they will begin to develop a sense of belonging, that belonging which comes from the shared ..."
" nomadCK is in the “Exploration” stage of identity development, the question of nationality typically pops up. While the country of their parents is stamped on the front of their passports, it doesn’t really sing to them. Their host country may feel more like “home” to them. Children don’t understand when ..."
"...The realm of issues parents of college-age children deal with is so vast and varied that it is not possible to touch upon them all. I have tried to cover some of the particular concerns I and other parents of repatriating global nomads have found to be particularly meaningful. My sincere wish is that you and your student will feel better prepared for this exciting journey and be able to thrive through the adventure. ..."

"...In those days, people like me didn’t know we were global nomads or third culture kids; those terms hadn’t yet been popularized and disseminated. The idea of re-entry shock was nowhere on our horizon, and even the idea of culture shock wasn’t much discussed in the expatriate world. No one at SAS or Trinity understood that my peers and I, graduating ..."
" nomaduddled through; there’s plenty of research now to show that most of us, my generation and the generations that came before, muddled through our university transitions to create fulfilling lives. But it could have been so much easier for all of us – less suppressing of pain through drinking and ..."
"...they are using the situations of difference and change in which they find themselves to augment their intercultural competence. Expatriate parents of thirty and more years ago had no articulated knowledge of the benefits and challenges of raising their children abroad; today they are introducing their children to their global nomad/TCK heritage at earlier and earlier ages, helping to ensure that as young adults they know they have something unique to offer the professional world. International schools likewise had no systematic understanding of transitions and expatriate family concerns, nor of the implications of these on their educational mandate; today international ..."
"...It’s clear that the zeitgeist in which global nomads are now growing up has changed. Indeed, The global nomad’s Guide to University Transition demonstrates this maturation of the field. Looking back, I see people like David Pollock, Matthew Neigh, Ruth Van Reken and me paving the pathway to this book by speaking with graduating seniors at international schools ..."
"...This book now paves the pathway further forward, takes it to the next milestone. In doing so, it provides a critical fail-safe. Even now, if you’re a graduating global nomad it’s likely you do not have a pre-departure presentation to attend, the international school from which you are graduating hasn’t yet put comprehensive programming in place, the college or university receiving you hasn’t got a clue, and either you don’t know about or can’t (or perhaps won’t) access a ..."
" nomadhe global nomad’s Guide to University Transition may be the best gift a parent or educator can give you, or which you can give yourself. There’s nothing else available like it. I recommend you put it in your suitcase, right along with a copy of Third Culture Kids: ..."
" nomadake on leadership positions on your campus, in your community, and in your career, you will begin with a strong advantage: the skill to manage change. It has long been said that “change is the only constant.” In his book Learning as a Way of Being, leadership consultant Peter ..."
"...Barbara F. Schaetti, Ph.D., is a dual-national (Swiss and US) second-generation global nomad. Throughout her career as a consultant and coach, she has championed individuals and teams as they learn to access their capacity for mindfully and creatively engaging situations of difference and change. She is the author of numerous articles on global nomads and related topics, pioneered the concept of ..."

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Global Nomad
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"It's about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue guide for university students facing re-entry..."

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