Ruth E Van Reken & David C Pollock, Third Culture Kids

Nearly a decade ago, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds introduced the concept of and has been the authority on the experiences of “TCKs” – children who grow up or spend a significant part of their childhood living abroad. Early on, TCKs were identified as the rototype “citizen of the future.” That future is now, as more and more children are growing up among worlds, creating a culturally rich and diverse world. Rich with real-life anecdotes, Third Culture Kids, Revised Edition examines the nature of the TCK experience and its effect on maturing, developing a sense of identity and adjusting to one’s “passport country” upon return. For many third culture kids, this book will be their first opportunity to discover that they share a common heritage with countless others around the world. This expanded edition profiles the personal challenges that TCKs experience, from feelings of rootlessness and unresolved grief to struggles with maturity and identity. Highlighting dramatic changes brought about by instant communication and new mobility patterns, the new edition shows how the TCK experience is becoming increasingly common and valuable. The authors also expand the coverage to include “cross-cultural kids,” children of biracial or bicultural parents, immigrants and international adoptees – all of this bringing hidden diversity to our world and challenging our old notions of identity and “home.”


Ruth Van Reken is a second generation Third Culture Kid* (TCK) and mother of three now adult TCKs and co-author of Third Culture Kids:  Growing Up Among Worlds, rev. ed. (Nicholas Brealey) with David C. Pollock. She is also the author of Letters Never Sent, one of the first books written by an adult TCK examining the impact of his or her cross-cultural childhood. For the last twenty five years, Ruth has traveled extensively to over forty-five countries working with fellow adult TCKs, parents of TCKs, human resource people, educators, and other caregivers, about issues related to global family living.  Currently, Ruth is researching how lessons learned in this TCK context may also apply to other types of cross-cultural childhoods. Ruth is co-founder and past chairperson of the annual Families in Global Transition conference. In addition to her two books and various other articles, she was written  a chapter in Strangers at Home (Aletheia Publications), Unrooted Childhoods (Nicholas Brealey/Intercultural Press), and an upcoming book,  Writing Out of Limbo (Cambridge Scholars Publications).

*a child who spends a significant period of time during his or her developmental years growing up in a culture outside the parents’ culture.

David C. Pollock  is one of the first people to make those who grew up globally to realize they had a name and common connection with others. After living near an international school in Kenya during the 1970’s, Dave realized he was hearing many common themes from the expat children attending that school. He returned to the US and founded Interaction, International to try to be a resource for all organizations who were sending families overseas, hoping to help them deal more effectively with the challenges their children faced so they could use the gifts as well. For many years, Dave circled the globe tirelessly to spread the word of the TCK profile he had developed and the impact of transition on families. Sadly, in April, 2004, he collapsed during once such event in Vienna, Austria and died 9 days later on Easter Sunday.

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