Characteristics of typical Third Culture Kids (TCKs)
There are upsides and downsides to living abroad and our children benefit and suffer from our decisions to live an expat life. Here’s an interesting study from TCKid that shows the different characteristics of children who live the majority of their formative years outside their country of origin. They’re often called Third Culture Kids (TCKs) or global nomads:
• TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor’s degree (81% vs 21%)
• 40% earn an advanced degree (as compared to 5% of the non-TCK population.)
• 45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.
• 44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.
• Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs.
• TCKs are unlikely to work for big business, government, or follow their parents’ career choices. “One won’t find many TCKs in large corporations. Nor are there many in government … they have not followed in parental footsteps”.
• 90% feel “out of sync” with their peers.
• 90% report feeling as if they understand other cultures/peoples better than the average American.
• 80% believe they can get along with anybody.
• Divorce rates among TCKs are lower than the general population, but they marry older (25+).
• Military brats, however, tend to marry earlier.
• Linguistically adept (not as true for military ATCKs.)
• A study whose subjects were all “career military brats”—those who had a parent in the military from birth through high school—shows that brats are linguistically adept.
• Teenage TCKs are more mature than non-TCKs, but ironically take longer to “grow up” in their 20s.
• More welcoming of others into their community.
• Lack a sense of “where home is” but often nationalistic.
• Some studies show a desire to “settle down” others a “restlessness to move”.
• Depression and suicide are more prominent among TCK’s.