Third Culture Kids

I posted this recently to our SIS News, but think it’d be meaningful to have here, as well.

Third Culture Kids

As our school year comes to a close, many of our families transition to new schools in new places, as well as back to their home countries. As I often receive requests for resources for our Third Culture Kids and ex-pat experiences, I thought it to be a good time to make these more public to our community. Our experiences overseas have generated quite the online community, so here are some resources to browse whether you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, or student yourself. As always, please contact me if you have any concerns or questions regarding the TCK experience or transitioning!

(REMINDER: As with anything on the internet, especially before registering your personal information, please read the ‘fine print’ terms and conditions.)

This website features links, articles, and support resources to TCK’s and their families. You are able to access some of their materials directly from the website, however you do need to enter your email address to access their full database of resources.

This website has an association with tckworld (above). Among other resources, you can join a TCK support group through their website.

Internations is an ex-patriate support website. It has a more extensive registration process for membership, but provides contact information for other members in your area and access to resources.

This resource provides “personal essays, studies on relationships, interviews with successful TCK’s and the article that started it all”.

Families in Global Transition provides articles and videos for parents and teachers.

Transition Strategies

As our school year comes to a close, I’d first like to wish our incredible students, families, and staff a wonderful summer.

As our population, like the international community as a whole, changes through the summer and into next year, I’d like to offer some ideas for those families who are moving back to their home country or to another living experience. While it may seem confusing, scary, and exciting at the same time, I hope these strategies might lend some help to our transitioning students and community.


*Set aside special times for family and sustain family traditions, or traditions that have become important during your travels

*Continue to travel and experience novel things, even within your “home” country; this will help children to continue to stimulate their minds and help them to not feel stagnant or unchallenged.

*Display “sacred” objects/souvenirs in your home from each country you’ve experienced- do not discount experiences your child or children have had abroad!

*Maintain affection between parents as much as possible when children are around (Additionally, attempt to be a parental “united front” when it comes to decisions.)

*Show commitment to each other as parents (including viewpoints) to reassure children of decision (In the midst of uncertain feelings, stability within the parental relationship, including respect and support, send “safety” and comfort messages to unsure children).

*Continue relationships with previous family, friends, and community members and return “home” periodically (If you’re moving “home,” allow children to continue relationships with those they met abroad.)

*Do not compare children in a family to each other (Do not minimize or exaggerate a child’s feelings toward a transition- not all children react the same way to moves, and allowing them to have their own process helps them to feel supported).

*DON’T pressure child to “adjust” faster than they feel comfortable.

*Take personal, social time with each child    alone.



Our Grade 3, 4, and 5 students are learning about trustworthiness and how it looks in our lives and relationships. Since a great deal of our world is built on trust, it’s important to see that trust isn’t only needed between nations and leaders, but also in the much smaller realm of our own interpersonal relationships.

Trust is needed in world affairs, school affairs, with friends, and with our families. Being trusted is a key part of being given independence as we get older, especially being honest in COMMUNICATION! Students are also told two real-life stories about (1) betrayal and (2) lying to keep trust (keeping one’s promise). After each story, much discussion is had about feelings around these incidents, as well as personal connections to them (times in students’ lives where they might have experienced something similar).

Finally, we talk about loyalty and a quote is introduced: “Truth is what the voice within tells you.” (Ghandi) Students recognize that the “voice” talked about is actually our conscience, and can sometimes be felt physically with the “icky feeling in your stomach” when you see or know something isn’t right.

The students watch 3 videos of real-life trustworthiness examples (with discussion afterwards), and then participate in an activity about “covering up” our lies. Of course, many people lie to keep from getting into trouble, to exaggerate something we did to make ourselves look better, or to get others in trouble. The problem is, then, that when we make up a lie, we often have to remember how we told it if someone asks about it later. As we try to cover up our first lie, we might end up telling more lies and it can become harder to cover up the truth. The students see and learn how difficult this can be through an activity with pennies and a bucket.