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Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,378 ratings  ·  191 reviews
In this publication, the authors explore the experiences of those who have become known as third culture kids (TCKs) - children who grow up or spend a significant part of their childhood living abroad. The book is rich with real-life anecdotes and examines the nature of the TCK kid experience and its effects on maturing, developing a sense of identity, and adjusting to one ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published March 26th 2001 by Nicholas Brealey Publishing (first published 1999)
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 ·  1,378 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the kind of self help book I would normally despise, with simplistic language and basic content.

Why five stars then?

Because it is MY self help book. I read it as part of pedagogical training for international school children in transition, but after a few lines, I started nodding compulsively. I recognised every single issue and question raised in the book. Every single one. It was a book explaining me.

There are certain patterns that third culture kids develop as
Angela Clayton
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I finally get myself. A good read, although a bit repetitive and oddly organized at times. Still, a must read for anyone who has dragged their kids halfway around the world (or across the country) to live in a foreign culture or who has been dragged at some point.
Daniel Bowden
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book read me like a book.

Would highly recommend if you are a TCK or CCK.
Would still recommend if you aren’t one.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Judy by: Jody Conibear tangredi
Don't fit into your little white upper class suburb that everyone thinks is totally happening? Identify with a culture that is not your own? Need to get out of town every week? Keep wondering where you will go next? Not making friends because one day you might move on?

If you have lived overseas and immersed yourself in a culture as a child, chances are you are still carrying baggage from those adventures. Sit down, rest, read and you will discover yourself in these pages.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gives a good overview of what a TCK is, traits that define them/challenges they face and how they can be handled/overcome. It's not just for TCK's themselves, but parents of such people, those who want to know about TCK's and sponsoring companies.

I started this book several times, and read snippets. One time I started it for a paper, I ended up crying because I could relate to a lot of it, and it made me feel lonely. This time I got through it, I still ended up crying during several
Kiki Marriott
If you need a comfy sofa, 15 minutes, a stiff drink and an indulgent listener to give justice to the question "Where are you from?", then this is the book for you! Also for people raising cross-cultural children. Highly recommended!
Athan Tolis
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Poetry this ain't. It's written in the style of self-help literature and it goes on and on.

But I had one "aha" moment after the other as I was reading it.

It describes precisely how I felt as a five-year-old with inadequate English at the American Community School in Athens: because I was uncomfortable with my language skills I ended up befriending the other marginalized kids. When my mom volunteered to be a "tour guide for a day" the only two suspended kids in the whole c
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel SO VALIDATED. It was so nice to read a book that spoke to almost exactly my experience, growing up as a third culture kid. There was a lot about myself and my personality that I could probably ascribe to the TCK-ness of my upbringing (for good and for ill), but it was incredibly helpful to read and understand how the experience of living abroad, especially for an extended period of time, can shape and affect you. I especially loved the sections talking about grief, about ritual, and about ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book, it really helped me understand the mind set of my own kids.
Sophia Small
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds is one of the best resources for TCK's I've ever found...and most definitely the best book. It's resourceful and practically therapeutic, a must-read for anyone who knows or who is a TCK. I'd definitely recommend this for any TCK's who are leaving their host countries to further understand their experiences.
Evin Ashley
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a stellar read on the challenges and benefits specific to the TCK (Third Culture Kid) and ATCK (Adult-TCK) lifestyle. Some sections were obvious for a TCK who is now an ATCK (moi), and gave generic advice for raising TCKs that any child should benefit from (stability in the form of generous doses of love, advance information and preparation for major transitions and family decisions, et al).

David C. Pollock, the founder of Global Nomads and a number of related TCK organizati
Rob and Liz
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that has been on my "to-read" list for several years and I finally read it during our vacation to Zanzibar.

Third Culture Kids (TCK) is a must-read for parents, extended-family and supporters of kids who grow up in foreign countries or cultures in my opinion. The basic premise of the book is that kids who grow up in a different country (like our kids!) end up learning from both home and host cultures and yet never fully becoming part of either one. TCKs and Adults TCKs (ATCKs) hav
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: motivational
A startling book that was a complete eye-opener, helping me realise that I’m an adult third culture kid (ATCK), through and through. If you’ve ever struggled to answer the question ‘Where is Home?’ or felt internally exhausted at the size of your answer: ‘Umm, well, I’m an American citizen but I grew up in Uganda and studied in Singapore, but now I work in England...’ etc. then this book is for you. It explains how TCKs deal (or haven’t dealt) with unresolved grief from hidden losses that they’v ...more
Jana Eads
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband and I have decided that we really need to make a practice of reading this book at the start of each year (or maybe every other year). We had a lot of great conversations together from reading it. I have been very humbled and have stood corrected continually as the authors have thoroughly unpacked the complexities of TCKs in each chapter.
I took a lot of notes. This book is full of SO MANY practical tips for parents with regard to things like handling unresolved grief, surviving transi
Hansol Kim
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could read this book to my 15-year-old self. Wow those were some dark times, and with this book everything fell into place. A cathartic read almost.
Such an interesting subject for all us expats who either spent our childhood and/or youth in different countries or/and are now raising children in a country that isn't "ours".

Unfortunately the writing is quite dull and awfully repetitive so I couldn't bring myself to finish the book but we had a very lively, fun discussion at book club (all of us TCA or raising TCK) anyway.
Bernard W
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has made me realize that many of the issues I faced growing up in different countries are not unique to myself. There is an entire community of people who shared similar upbringings, and this books shines a light on the wealth of literature about this subject. Much of the writing style is anecdotal, which makes me weary not to overgeneralize some of the conclusions. Though this book would be best suited for those yet to embark on their cross-cultural journey, even as an adult, it has g ...more
Sean Binkley
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this book for a long time. Growing up in Thailand as an MK and TCK I heard about this book a lot. I remain thankful to this day that I was able to grow up in a cross-cultural environment where I had support for transitions and reentry. It made the process so much easier. This book reintroduced me to new information but also got me thinking about new aspects of the TCK identity that I hadn't really thought of fully before. I would highly recommend this book for anyone wh ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book to help my kids and from the first page it was clearly talking about my childhood as well. So helpful.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book a few months ago to help create my personal project. Although I didn't actually read through it until recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is full of content that I can personally relate to. If you attend an international school, chances are you will also relate to this. This is great for adults who work with kids living abroad to get a glimpse of what life is like. What a great feeling it is to read something that explains so many of my experiences to me. An ...more
Linda A Janssen
This is the seminal book on cross-cultural kids (and for cross-cultural living, for that matter), and for good reason. It should be required reading for anyone who ever has lived or is living abroad, loves someone who did/does or aspires to do so themselves. Pollock and Van Reken explain not only the benefits and positives coming out of such intercultural experiences, but also the challenges and difficulties that can cause emotional pain. Filled with the stories of many different TCKs (some now ...more
Joel Simon
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All expatriates
Shelves: self-improvement
This is a great book for expats. Although it is focused on children of expats (hence the title), it actually has many good points for the parents, or even adults who don't have kids as I found many of the issues relevant whether or not you encountered them as a kid or not. The writing style is straightforward and easy to understand and I found myself nodding in agreement through almost every story or revelation. The anecdotes that included from other people's actual experiences enrich the book g ...more
Mirna Santos
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Expats you talk to usually focus on the pros on spending time abroad with their families, a "golden time, full of opportunities and new experiences" for their children, but we are not very aware of the cons. This is a must-to-read book for parents or for youngsters or young adults who have spent time in a host culture, different from their own, or who are about to start a first time living away from 'home'. What struck me most was the sense of grieve and loss that we all would experience at cert ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I prefer the term 'global nomads' to 'third culture kids', but the odd phrasing does not take away from how great the book is. I picked it up thinking there won't be much new I'll learn, but I might as well read it. I was very wrong. Being a 'global nomad' myself, this book brought in a completely different perspective to my life and helped me see events in my own life in a different light. Well researched, well written, captivating and educational. A must read for anyone in a cross-cultural mar ...more
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was referred to this book by my friend's master's thesis, and was duly impressed. This is an interesting topic to me as many friends of mine have grown up overseas or are in the process of beginning careers working overseas with government, NGOs, or missions organizations.

I think this book is a great resource for anyone involved in any way with people raising families within multiple cultures. I'm interested to see if there is any research on the similarities and differences between growing u
Ryan Greer
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive look at the life of those who live between worlds. This book never gets old for me, even as I revisit it as an adult. It's a great read for anyone who has or continues to struggle with their own identity as a third culture kid, as well as their loved ones.

If you're going to raise a family overseas, or want to understand someone who has been a part of that, I highly recommend this book.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you live overseas for any period of time with children, you need to read this book. I see so many people doing their kids a huge disservice by not recognizing the impact living overseas has and will have on their kids. I think it can be a wonderful experience for kids if you are aware of the issues, and this book clearly states what they are.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has lived outside of their home country while growing up
Recommended to Borna by: A friend with a similar background as myself
Shelves: sociology
In short I loved this book because it showed me what I was feeling and why. I have been feeling lost for a long time since returning back to my home country and I didn't know why. A friend recommended this book and after reading it I found out what and why I was feeling the way I was.
It also helped me ease the transition of returning home and integrating into a mono cultural society.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Still actually finishing this book after reading it in chunks for 3 years. Why is it taking so long? Because reading it gives me the very intense experience of someone explaining some of the most intricate pieces of myself to myself. A must read for ATCKs like myself and for TCKs (and their parents) as I wish I and my parents had read this before and during my growing up abroad years.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could go back in time and make my parents read this book before they had me.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fiction :for tweens and teens TCKs 1 2 Oct 29, 2019 01:50PM  
MK & TCK Book Club: Chapter 12: Unresolved Grief 62 68 Nov 10, 2015 04:37PM  
MK & TCK Book Club: Chapter 19: It's Never Too Late 20 35 Nov 08, 2015 08:21PM  
MK & TCK Book Club: Final Giveaway Alert! Win a TCK book! 4 35 Aug 31, 2015 09:37AM  
MK & TCK Book Club: Chapter 16: Enjoying the Journey 10 30 Aug 26, 2015 06:34AM  
MK & TCK Book Club: * Welcome! Get started here: 14 94 Aug 21, 2015 08:23PM  
MK & TCK Book Club: Chapter 15: Meeting Educational Needs 36 35 Aug 15, 2015 05:51AM  

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“TCK 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.” 4 likes
“When we think of the word culture, obvious representations such as how to dress, eat, speak, and act like those around us come to mind. But learning culture is more than learning conformity to external patterns of behavior. Culture is also a system of shared concepts, beliefs, and values. It is the framework from which we interpret and make sense of life and the world around us.” 1 likes
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