Who Are These Third Culture Kids and Multi-Locals?

Who Are These Third Culture KidsIn this world of multiculturalism, nomadic lifestyles, and bilingualism, there are sure to be new terms invented regularly to keep up with the pace of the modern world. A term that I have become very familiar with in the last few years is the term Third Culture Kid, and more recently –thanks to a TED Talk—the term Multi-Local. So what are these words all about you might wonder? Are they really useful, or do we just like to label and invent new terminologies these days?

These words are terms that enable people from very transient upbringings and complicated backgrounds to express themselves more aptly. Until you are in a position where a simple question such as “where are you from?” becomes a complicated (and sometimes annoying) query to answer, you might not perhaps understand the importance of a few words added to one’s vocabulary.

The term Third Culture Kid refers to a person (originally it was reserved for children) who was raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant amount of years.

This could relate to army brats, missionary kids, or the kids of professors, researchers, and teachers. TCK’s are also international school kids, the children of diplomats, the children of roaming artists, and the children of parents living between their two homelands.

You are basically a TCK if you grew up in three or more countries, with three or more cultures, and then likely spent your college years in yet another country.

If this is not complicated enough to explain in one short answer, maybe you can understand why the term makes life a whole lot simpler! They say that you know if you are a TCK if you dislike the question “where are you from?” –well maybe now that there is an easy term –if it catches on—life and introductions will become as easy for you the multicultural kid, as for Charlotte who was born and raised in San Antonio and whose parents are also Texan through and through.

This now brings me to the next term, Multi-Local. This term basically refers to a person who has lived (usually in their adult life) in many different locations, or currently lives in many different locations.

If you live in three or four places because of your job and family, just like the term Third Culture Kid, this term makes is easier to answer the question with one simple hyphenated word.

Ahhh… the luxury of terminologies!

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Editing by Jesus Chan

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