What Is Third Culture?

©cc by-2.0 Philippe Put
©cc by-2.0 Philippe Put

In the 1950s, sociologist Ruth Useem noticed something about the children who accompanied their parents into foreign countries and new cultures. These children did not cling to their parents’ culture, nor did they fully adapt into their new environment. They seemed to be stuck somewhere inbetween; building up their own set of values and communicating freely with children from a completely different background. Dr. Useem named these children “third culture kids“.screenshot-2017-01-17-at-14-55-10Some 50 years later, Ruth Van Reken and David Pollock wrote what could be called the book on this phenomenon: Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. In this book, you’ll find the definition of a Third Culture Kid (TCK) as now widely accepted:

A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any.

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More and more people feel like they don’t belong to just one culture, and globalisation is sure to continue that trend. So what now? Here at THIRD CULTURE, we believe that being Third Culture has both positive and negative aspects. One the one hand, TCKs adapt really easily to a new environment, and new challenges are met with anticipation and resolution; on the other hand, it can be hard for TCKs to find a community, as people still tend to work within their own cultural affinity. Addressing these two elements, THIRD CULTURE aims to be a platform for anyone who likes to break their cultural boundaries and work within a new cross-cultural framework. Whether you are a Third Culture Kid, with a French dad and a Mexican mother, raised in China; or a lifelong Australian who just wants to work together with interesting people regardless of culture; THIRD CULTURE is the place to meet, think, and create.screenshot-2017-01-17-at-14-54-25

Cover image ©cc by-2.0 Philippe Put
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