Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TCKs and Birthdays

For those of you who don't know what a TCK is, it's a Third Culture Kid. Here are some basic characteristics as taken off the website

There are different characteristics that impact the typical Third Culture Kid:
  • 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.
I am a TCK and can identify with most of these characteristics. I've known the term TCK since I went overseas to teach back in 1999. I even met and attended workshops with Dave Pollock, one of the founders of the terminology and initial studies about TCKs, but I've never taken the time to really learn about it all. That's changed recently as I try to understand myself and my students better.
As today is my birthday, I think about being a TCK and how it affects it. For one, I don't like big celebrations or parties in my honour, I'm much happier being told Happy Birthday and being left alone. I feel sad on my birthday usually. I put on a happy front because that's what you are meant to do in society, but generally I don't enjoy the day. It's not about getting older for me... it's about being detached from family, from close friends and all of that. Yes, I chose to live overseas and so I kind of force the detachment on myself, but I'm learning that it's almost a forced choice to be overseas. I have no sense of belonging, so it just seems easier and makes more sense to me to be perpetually starting over... Anyway... Happy Birthday to me!! :)

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