Call Out To All TCKs
Call Out To All TCKs
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2018.12.12 13:31
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The world has gone through numerous changes due to industrialization and the development of transportation systems. As accessibility to resources, products, and customers from foreign countries, competition between firms became global. To satisfy and understand the different needs of people from various cultural, religious and language backgrounds, firms sent people to different countries to develop more thorough management and marketing skills. Among many sent abroad, my father was also ‘chosen’ to the honor of taking on the responsibility of being sent abroad and becoming in charge of an overseas branch office. “This will be a great change for you.” My father always remarked. Indeed, the experience of living abroad has gained me numerous advantages: proficient language skills, numerous exotic experiences, a flexible personality and an open-minded perspective. However, the continuous transitions that repeatedly messed up my daily life have made me lack a sense of belonging to any country. I’m a Korean according to my records and passport, but I will never feel completely ‘Korean.’. But this doesn’t make me American, Canadian, or Chinese. I belong in a new category: TCK.
TCK is an abbreviation for Three Country Kid, a term coined in the 1950s by a asociologist and anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem. It defines “individuals who spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than that of their parents that develop a sense of relationship to both cultures.” TCKs, as briefly introduced above, possess multiple advantages. Internet sources remark on some “common characteristics of TCKs” that TCKs tend to possess an expanded and three-dimensional worldview, higher tolerance level to changes, cross-cultural capacities, and proficient language abilities. The downsides, however, includes the lack of sense of belonging, loyalty towards one country, accumulated stress and anxiety from continuous transitions, and confusion in identity. 
Despite the fact that the term TCK was coined more than 50 years ago and the continuous increase in TCKs, not many people know such a term exists. Many TCKs are unaware of the term and are isolated from the fact that TCKs exist. This isn’t odd since the term TCK is introduced to people within an international and multicultural community such as international schools. However, the term TCK, in my very personal belief, should be spread widely- so that it can comfort those who are lost. Many internet users comment that their life changes 180 degrees after the realization of such a term. I, too, can add that it was an enlightening moment for me and my life to finally find a categorization to throw myself into. There was a moment of my life when I loathed the fact I was Korean, and that I had to return to Korea, that I had to move houses, cities, states, and countries. I knew that there was nothing or no one to blame, but I was confused. I thought that I belonged nowhere and this lost sense of belonging slowly devoured me from the inside. However, the moment that I was asked “Oh, then are you a TCK as well?” by a fellow classmate on my first day of international school, I was introduced to a new world. My school provided me lectures, classes, and fellow TCKs to provide me with a belonging- a group to classify me in. However, I am sure-and correct- that there are others who still remain in the unstable state in the middle of nowhere unable to settle on one identity.
So I call out to all TCKs out there- those who feel that they somehow fit the description I detailed in this article. Google ‘TCK’ and read articles, research, blogs, or anything that can tell you about TCK that will ease your anxiety. 
Remember, you are not alone in this world.