Thursday, 3 November 2011

My 10 advantages of growing up in another culture.

Photo from Morguefile by Hotblack
This week I read a post written by Expat with kids. The post is about The 4 attributes of third culture kids. These attributes can make third culture kids global citizens of this world. The post is my inspiration for this week. Thanks.

So here are my 10 advantages of growing up abroad, of being a third culture kid.

If you are a third culture kid, you have probably developed:
  1. Cross-cultural skills, I enjoy meeting people from other cultures.
  2. Observational skills
  3. Social skills, being good at making friends "quick".
  4. Linguistic skills, you speak more than one language.
  5. Adaptability, like a chameleon. Don't adapt too much. Read my blog on "Third Culture kids learning to be themselves."
  6. A broad world view, thinking "outside of the box"
  7. The capability of mentoring others because life experiences have been so varied.
  8. The skill of being less judgemental.
  9. The ability to being independent and autonomous.
  10. More maturity than others of your age.
You know why we have developed the observational skills? When we were put in a new situation we had to "check out" the new situation. We had to quickly analyze what was going on around us. What should I say? How should I do things. I kept my ears and eyes open to see what was happening around me. I do think you are in a state of alertness when entering into a new situation, a new school, a new culture. I know what it is like to feel the "odd one out", because I have been the "odd one out" many times. I still quickly sense that somebody feels uneasy in a social situation. This has to do with my own experience.

If you want to read more on this topic I would really encourage you to read the book: "Third Culture Kids, The Experience of Growing up Among Worlds" by David Pollock and Ruth van Reken.

Do you want to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of being a TCK in this document.
Here you can read my Dutch post De 10 voordelen van het opgroeien in het buitenland.
Deze hoort er natuurlijk ook bij: De 10 nadelen van het opgroeien in het buitenland.

Read: My 10 disadvantages of growing up in another culture too.

Are you a third culture kid and would you like to add something to this list? What do you think of these advantages? Parents of third culture kids what are your thoughts on this topic?


  1. I think a sense of humor that comes out when faced with challenges or adversity. Most of us have dealt with multiple travel delays, linguistic confusion, etc... We've learned that responding with a smile or a laugh is often defuses the situation and makes for great travel stories down the road.

  2. Thanks John for adding this comment. Yes I agree humor helps. As TCKs we have faced multiple situations that were a little awkward or I which we felt awkward, it helps not to take yourself too seriously and to see the "funny" side of it all. A smile at that moment or a good laugh afterwards can see you through. These situations make good (blog?)stories too.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for mentioning my post.
    Not taking yourself too seriously definately helps in a new environment and takes the pressure off a bit.
    I have found that by enrolling kids in the IB (International Baccalaureat) schools in the various countries we have lived in has ensured that even though they are the odd one out, so are all their classmates, which makes them all the same. It makes the TCK experience so much easier that what we experienced some decades ago! ;)

  4. Thanks for your comment. It's great to get in contact with other bloggers and I am glad that there are more people blogging about third culture kids.
    Meeting up with other parents and kids in the same situation does help (at international schools etc). I do hope these schools prepare TCKs for the return to their passport country because that is really the biggest challenge. It was in my case, and at that time there was a lot less information on TCKs returning "home".

  5. nice information. Thank you for sharing it. Thanks Packers Movers

  6. I have only learned the term TCK this year, but it was such a pleasant discovery! Although I'm extremely grateful for my experiences as a TCK, it was a little bit sad that there is no place I can truly call home. However, reading all these blogs and articles on TCKs made me feel really excited, like there is a whole community out there that I can identify with! I had no idea that feeling part of something would be such a good feeling, because usually I'm quite an individualist. Thanks for your blog, it's great! I'm studying Comms and hoping to focus on International Relations in the future, so hopefully will also produce some work of my own, on this matter :)

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting fellow TCK called No Ordinary Princess :). We all have such unique stories but then to discover that there are actually more people who have had a similar experience and that there is word for the group: that is quite something, it's really special!! I had that Aha feeling when I read about TCKs and that made me want to share it so that others can read and here about it too. Thanks for your compliment. If you ever do research or write articles please share your results, i'm interested.