Don’t fit the “TCK” description? Then you could be a CCK…

“A Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) is a person who has lived in-or meaningfully interacted with-two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years.” – CCK definition and subgroups by Ruth E. Van Reken, co-author Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

This group includes:

    • Traditional TCKs [1]

– Children who move into another culture with parents due to a parent’s career choice

    • Bi/multi-cultural/ and/or bi/multi-racial children

– Children born to parents from at least two cultures or races

    • Children of immigrants

– Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally citizens

    • Children of refugees

– Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to unchosen circumstances such as war, violence, famine, other natural disasters

    • Children of minorities

– Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group which is not part of the majority race or ethnicity of the country in which they live

    • International adoptees

– Children adopted by parents from another country other than the one of that child’s birth

    • “Domestic” TCKs

– Children whose parents have moved in or among various subcultures within that child’s home country

    • Special note: Children are often in more than one of these circles at the same time. (e.g. A traditional TCK who is also from a minority group; a child of immigrants whose parents are from two different cultures, etc.) This helps us understand the growing complexity of the issues we face in our changing world.

“No longer can we base our paradigms on those learned from the monoculture of our parents,” says Ruth van Reken.

As people travel more and trade is being globalised, there are fewer truly monocultural societies. Diversity is everywhere.

Four basic cultural types have been identified by van Reken and David Pollock:

  • Foreigner – look different, think different
  • Hidden Immigrant – look alike, think different
  • Adopted – look different, think alike
  • Mirror – look alike, think alike

For the Foreigner who looks different and thinks differently, things are relatively straight forward – people know you are different and act accordingly. [2]

For Hidden Immigrants, such as TCKs repatriated to their home country, things can be rather confusing as people expect you to know the same things and know the language.

For TCKs International Schools can be a real bonus. “Every one can be who they want – this is normal. You can’t lose who you are, you can only keep growing,” says van Reken.

Ruth Van Reken and Paulette Bethel [1]
Are cross cultural kids prototypes of the future? [2]