Third Culture Shock

Just another site

What’s This All About Anyway?

As defined by Ruth Hill Useem, a Third Culture Kid is “[A] person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The 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 the same background.”

As TCKs mature and grow, they become Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs).

Third Culture Shock is one woman’s perspective on what it’s like to be a TCK and ATCK with help from a host of other people who have had similar experiences.  No scientific studies went in to the creation of this blog…only my version of my own reality.  When relating someone else’s experience, I have changed names and left out all identifying information.  Why?  Because some of this stuff is actually pretty painful to talk about.  Honestly.

Not to be confused with a TCK is an MK or Missionary Kid.  An MK is someone that grew up as a child of missionaries to a foreign country (other than the one the parents were born into).  All MKs are TCKs.  Not all TCKs are MKs.  Not all MKs were born in the “home” country of their parents, some were born in their “foreign” country…which is decidedly “unforeign” to them. 

Confused yet?

Me too…that’s why I’m attempting to put pen to paper and sort out the tangled web of culture shock.  I have spent the last year of my life beginning to unravel the inticracies of what growing up in a place that few people I know have ever thought of has done to impact the life I am now living.

So, as I journey through this…I would encourage anyone with questions to ask them.  And anyone with comments to post them. I want to hear from you!

I also blog at where I tackle the rest of my life’s questions! Divine Graffiti discusses spirituality, faith, realities of life and motherhood.  I also talk openly about my son who as Asperger’s Syndrome.


  1. Hi, nice to meet you !

    Comment by ReadersHeaven | September 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. I am so glad you are finding this voice.

    Comment by Andy | September 19, 2010 | Reply

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