What is a TCK?

Before we get to what a TCK believes, we have to know what a TCK is!  The term TCK stands for Third Culture Kid.  Ruth Van Reken from TCK World says, “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. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third culture kid’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background, other TCKs.”


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The amazing thing about TCKs is that there are no two exactly alike.  Every blending of cultures is completely different.  Even though they are each very different and have different backgrounds, they seem to understand each other better than anyone else, regardless of where they are from!   

I have polled TCKs from all over the world.  Here are over 30 things they believe.

What Do TCKs Believe?

I believe that people believe that cold drinks can make you sick. – Peru

I believe cold drinks make my head ache. – Bolivia

I believe that a glass broke and not I broke the glass, because it was an accident. – Chile/Ecuador/Canada

I believe all monkeys are cynical and are out to get you. – Bolivia

I believe that dogs are filthy animals, not to be pets. – Philippines.

I believe public bathrooms are different in every country because I have gone to the bathroom in every country I have visited and no two have been the same. -Suriname/Philippines

I believe I have to go to church every Sunday because my mother used to say it was the law of the Medes and Persians!!  – India


What Do TCKs Believe About Rice?

I believe rice should stick together because if it’s loose, it will just cause a mess.  – Japan

I believe rice should be loose, because if it sticks together, you didn’t cook it right. 😉 – Brazil

I believe it’s not really dinner unless you serve rice.  Might be breakfast or a random meal if there is no rice. – Indonesia

I believe that using a rice cooker is the only way to make decent rice.  – Japan

I believe that black beans go on rice. And I believe bare feet is way better than shoes. – Brasil

I believe when you are a guest in someone’s home you eat what is put in front of you. All of it! I believe rice in any form is delicious, but that there is an “in between rice”. Not truly sticky or loose. 😋 – Guatamala

I believe rice is best eaten with chopsticks and seaweed! -S. Korea

I believe rice must be sticky because loose rice can’t be made into rice balls. – Ghana

I believe that loose rice like my Filipino mother-in-law made is required for adobo. – Philippines

What Do TCKs Believe About Kids?

I believe that children are life’s richest treasure. – Togo

I believe that if you put a piece of wet paper on your baby’s forehead, her hiccups will go away. – Costa Rica

No one needs shoes, they just keep you from playing soccer well or climbing a tree. – Indonesia

I believe today’s baby packs that mothers wear on the front of their bodies have it backwards. Babies should be carried on mothers’ backs. Both baby and mother are more comfortable that way. Nigeria

I believe a switch carrier is amazing because if my back gets tired i front carry and vise versa. – Philippines

I believe children need to take more risks than health and safety allows, because it prepares them to take good risks in the future. – Burkina Faso

What Do TCKs Believe About the World?

I believe that all cultures and peoples are beautifully created in His Image but that we also all fall short of His glory. It’s not about who is better or right but about our journey, just like everyone else, in becoming more like Christ.– Korean Peninsula

I believe everyone is equal because we’re all human beings with minds and we should treat each other that way.  Getting to know other people allows you to accept them. – Indonesia

I believe that we all have our road to travel and we all have our burdens to carry. We can share our loads or we can toil alone. But God can help if we allow him to.  – The Congo/Zaire/the DRC

I believe that….we don’t face life with a blank slate to fill in with the OBJECTIVE-TRUTH that we learn through reason and experience. Rather, we are born into a specific time and place, with sensibilities that we absorb, and we then must choose what we accept as is, what we discard, and what we embrace but maybe with a personal twist. What results is a truth, but a very PERSONAL truth, that is real and genuine and fitting to oneself. – Japan

I believe that as a TCK, your sense of home and belonging is far more complicated than that of a “normal person”, as you can feel a personal connection to more than one…  I catch myself more and more comparing customs. – Mexico

What Else Do TCKs Believe?

I also believe that you don’t have to have lived in another country to have issues on answering “where your from’ questions. Met a woman who’s dad was a Methodist preacher and they moved all the time. We had a good laugh about where we were from. – Japan

I believe true happiness comes from finding your own truths not from someone else’s experiences. I believe snow is beautiful, but has no business on this earth. I believe home is wherever your “people” are. I believe trying to pick a country is next to impossible for this post so I’ll pick the country I most identified with as a child and as an adult seeing as we lived in many. – Guatemala

I believe I’ve acquired health immunity which keeps me from getting most diseases which are being passed around. This is called ‘disgustingly healthy’. – China and India.

I believe people need to stop assuming that ALL MKs:  1) Are outdoorsy people who love playing outside barefoot  2) Have had dengue fever, malaria, and/or all kinds of possibly fatal diseases  3) Live in some kind of a jungle full of wild animals/insects, or in some super poor rundown places  4) Move to many different places and are capable of getting used to frequent transitions.  Because SOME MKs:  1) Prefer to be indoors most of the time playing video games, read a book, bake, etc.  2) Have never had those possibly fatal diseases as they live in much colder places  3) Grew up in super urbanized and developed places  4) Stayed in one place during their whole childhood since their parents never moved their mission field. – China-

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