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Adolescents & International Transition

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« Betwixt and Between: The Liminality of Growing Up Cross-Culturally | Main | Growing up as Brats: The Journey to Home and Self »

September 15, 2007



Hi Chryss,

I am a thirty-something TCK who also has a tough time connecting in my world. I know exactly what you are going through. I was led to your blog entry by the author of the blog who is also my mother. I told her when I saw the topic of her blog I immediately thought of myself and she shared with me that I was the reason she had written this entry.

I am currently an instructor at an adult college and I often wonder if my students knew I had never held a job for more than 4 years they would immediately stop listening to me.

I too spent many of my formative years in another country and I find that it is difficult for me to relate to many people. The people I relate to best are also TCKs. I assume this is from the shared experience. I continue to work on these "quirks" but it is a struggle everyday. I truly believe that I will find the place where I do belong but in the meantime I am excited that my mother and others in this field are continuing to make breakthroughs in understanding our unique position in this world.

If you would like to contact me regarding your experiences I would be more than happy to connect with you.

Paulette M Bethel


Thank you for your wonderful post. I believe that there are many ATCKs that have gone through the very experiences that you described, but until they discover the work that has been done regarding the Third Culture lifestyle, they have not had the language to adequately describe to themselves and others "what they are feeling.

As a licensed counselor, I wholeheartedly agree about your observations regarding being a TCK/ATCK. I use every opportunity that I can to educate my colleagues about why having this understanding is very critical to their practice. I would love to chat with you more on this topic.


This is great! I'm so excited to have found this, so I apologize for my verbosity in advance.

I am 34 and only recently realized that parts of me I had though "defective", are actually a result of me being an adult third culture kid.

My family moved to Tokyo, Japan, when I was 9 and we left when I was 15. Returning to the States was AWFUL, probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I didn't fit in, my parents didn't understand, and I was resentful that we stayed long enough for my brother to graduate high school, whereas I was only half-way.

Even now, 19 years later, I find myself still angry, homesick, and suffer from an awful wanderlust and a sense of not really belonging anywhere. When I lived in Tokyo, it was the last time I really felt like I belonged, but since I missed the last two years of high school, it's almost impossible to reconnect with those friends now.

Moreover, I have had the same job/friends issues as the "caller" you mentioned. Many times I just get "tired" of my friends and find myself not liking them and then ending the friendship with little or no explanation. Same thing with jobs; I get bored and need to move on, not only from the job, but often from the place where I am living. The idea of settling down sickens and scares me, but at the same time, part of me really wants to want that stability, but I know I would never be happy.

I wish more counselors knew about this, I've actually been to a couple to try and deal with my "issues", but none of them, not even ones I saw in high school, right after moving back, seemed to realize that the fact that I am a ATCK makes all the difference. Yes, I may be depressed at times, ADD, whatever, but there's a reason and that needs to be addressed for me to be able to move on. It may not be chemical - perhaps situational. I'm still grieving for the loss of my home and my life when we left Japan. As I read in the TCK book, my whole world disappeared when that airplane door shut.

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like any more information or might know someone similar to me who would also like to connect.

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