Being expat

Why “home” is not a geographical location for TCK’s

When asked where their home is, TCK’s (Third Culture Kids) usually don’t know what to answer. And this is not because they don’t know the feeling, but because they can’t specify one – and only one! – specific place they would call their home.

The reaction of FCK (First Culture Kids) or people is often pity… But why should someone be ashamed or feel guilty because he doesn’t associate the feeling of “home” with a geographical location?

I would like to share this video from Robin Pascoe about what “home” is for a TCK and how parents can help their children to find their place in the world.


When I meet other expats or ATCK’s, I don’t ask them where they come from or where their home is, but all kind of other things like “how long are you in this country already?” or questions about the languages they speak (or if they already know the local language), their housing situation, their children, I ask them what they like to do etc.

Personally, I don’t think that TCK’s really worry about where “home” is. And I noticed that TCK’s among TCK’s or globally living people will never ask them “Where is home?”, but are more focussed on the languages they speak, if they have family, where they work, what they’ve done in their lives.  Sometimes we ask eachother “where do you come from?” but not with the attempt to pigeonhole them and assign them mentally to one (and only one!) place, country or culture, if we do so, we only want to find out if we share the same languages, experiences abroad etc.

But listen to the statements of TCK’s on this video from Adrian Bautista:


Are you a TCK or an ATCK? What are your thoughts about this?

17 replies »

  1. Dankjewel, Peter, hij is heel belangrijk voor de tweetalige opvoeding en hoe kinderen ervan profiteren, vooral als ze niet alleen Engels leeren, maar ook een andere taal thuis. Een aanrader vooral voor mensen in VS.

  2. I guess I’m only a half-TCK (if there’s such a thing!) but this post really rings true for me. I’ve spent my entire childhood referring to two places as “home” – my grandparent’s house and area in England and the place I spend most of my time in Australia. I always thought this was just a really weird thing I did, until I started going to the German Language School once a week and met a whole lot of other kids who had two “homes”, too!

    • Welcome, Rachel! I think that there are many different kinds of TCK’s and what you’re describing can be one of them. I would like to know more about you and your story. You say that you’ve spent most of your time in Australia and visited England regularly. May I ask what made you go to a German Language School once a week? Dann sprichst/schreibst du also auch Deutsch?

    • Thanks for your precious comment, Laura. I can understand this funny feeling you descibe. When we spend more time abroad, we tend to adapt in a way that makes us (almost) forget our, like you say, “so-called” motherland. I never had this feeling because I never got the chance to experience life in my “motherland”, but I know what you mean. Yes, you’re a Third Culture Kid, or a Third Culture Adult, if you want to use the term. I think these categories are much less strict and exclusive than many think they are (I’m writing a longer post about this).
      Personally, I like the idea of acquiring habits, values, languages etc. from the places we live and lived, that make us all very unique and special, very colourful and open-minded.

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