What it’s Like to be a Third Culture Kid (TCK)

Third culture kid (TCK), ATCK Adult third culture kid or third culture individual (TCI) are terms used to refer to children raised in a culture other than their parents’ (or the culture of the country given on the child’s passport, where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years.

Parents will often make their kids the number one priority when planning a relocation – especially an international one. Our teams are fully aware of the importance of supporting parents when it comes to a full family move and we go out of our way to offer schooling and settling in advice, tailored to ages and interests.

As part of our Expat Interviews series, we thought it would be interesting to talk to some young people who have been on the receiving end of this kind of support and find out how being a TCK has affected their lives.

Our first interview is with Natalie Marnoch whose mum we interviewed earlier in this series. Natalie moved several times as a child with her dad’s Oil & Gas career. Wait until you read what she is doing as an adult, and where….

Where are you from or what country is your passport from? Scotland; British Passport

Where have you lived growing up? Scotland, England, Houston, Texas, South Korea

What was your favorite and why? Houston. I love the sports. Houston has major sports teams for American football, soccer, baseball and basketball and I really enjoy going to watch them. I also love country music so the rodeo is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather doesn’t hurt too much either!

Any that you disliked? Houston again! Why? The traffic, it’s crazy here at times.

How did moving around affect your schooling? I went to a really great school in Houston. The British School of Houston; now the British International School of Houston. I had fantastic teachers and made very good friends, some of which I am still in touch with.

Where do you live now? I live back in Houston.

What’s your job? I am a physical education/sports science teacher and coach at the British International School of Houston (Yes, the school I went to as a kid!)

How much do you think your upbringing as a TCK affected your choices as you enter adulthood? Positives and negatives. If I hadn’t moved around as a kid I doubt I would be living back here now. It allowed to explore the world and see that there was more out there. Now I have friends and contacts world-wide and a deeper appreciation for different cultures and beliefs.

The best thing about being an expatriate is: Living in the sun, meeting new people and being able to travel

The worst thing about being an expatriate is: Missing friends and family back home!

If you could relocate anywhere in the world, where would you go? Anywhere in South East Asia. I was lucky enough to live in South Korea over summer whilst in university and I absolutely loved it. I travelled a lot around the region and would love to live there for some time. Although for now I’m loving life in Houston.

What advice would you give to a kid facing a move to a new country or what do you wish you had known when it was you moving? That it will be an amazing experience for you, one that will change your life. To embrace everything about the new place you are moving to and try new things. You will find yourself outside your comfort zone at times but those are the experiences which will help to shape your future.

Do you plan to stay in one country for your whole working life? No, I have a passion for travel and a taste for experiencing new cultures now. I don’t know where I will end up but the possibilities are endless and the prospects are extremely exciting.

TCKs – more especially Adult TCKS – have been featured on other social media recently. Why not have a listen to these two recent podcasts from one of our favorite Expat sites: Two Fat Expats.