things I wish my friends knew about TCK’s and MK’s (or someone like me)

(collage with scripture and prayers, by Ljo)

My favorite tips: (You can read all 8 here)

1. We’re really not trying to brag. When we tell funny stories about our trips to South Africa or Turkey, we’re not trying to impress you. We just want to share with you important memories from our childhood and personal history.

3. Be patient, ask questions. TCKs suck at pop culture trivia. And we ask stupid questions all the time, like “What’s a burrito?” We’re just trying to navigate various cultures at once, so humor us. At the same time, ask us questions too. We don’t like it when people make assumptions about the places we’re from, but we love it when people are interested in our backgrounds. We’re pros at sharing stories and flaunting our well-organized Flickr.

4. We’re oversharers, but only to a point. According to the book “Third Culture Kids,” by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, TCKs jump into deeper communication levels faster because we’ve had to constantly and quickly form new relationships. But here’s the thing — once you get to know us, you might find that we keep you at bay. We’re just so used to leaving (or being left by) people who are close to us that sometimes we don’t want to form very deep relationships, for fear of losing them.

8. The best thing you can do is be our friend. And you’ve done that already.

Wait…what’s a TCK?

TCKs are people who have spent a portion of their formative childhood years (0-18) in a culture different than their parents’. Most TCKs will return to their parents’ home country at some point in their lives, undergoing repatriation. TCKs tend to develop their identities while living abroad, thus blending their “home” culture with the culture of the world around them. People who have attended international schools, are children of diplomats, are “military brats,” or are children of missionaries are just a few examples of TCKs.


Missionary Kids (MKs) typically spend the most time overseas in one country. 85% of MKs spend more than 10 years in foreign countries and 72% lived in only one foreign country. MKs generally have the most interaction with the local populace and the least interaction with people from their passport country. They are the most likely to integrate themselves into the local culture. 83% of missionary kids have at least one parent with an advanced degree.

Taken from and


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