Hello, My Name Is Yankee Mcching-chong.

well... no it isnt.  but it might as well be sometimes. 

i am a third culture kid. 

by nationality, i am a citizen of the united states of america.  by looks, i am distinctly asian (korean, to be exact).  and by assimilated culture, i am irish (lived there for 11 years).  ive bounced around these three cultures (and the surrounding ones) for most of my life, and i was thinking about how odd it all must seem to someone looking at it from the outside.

i actually didnt know that there was a name for us until this summer, when i met/lived with/worked with another third culture...well... shes an adult now.  i am too, technically... (im 23).  i actually wikipedia'd "us" and here are some "characteristics" of us that hit... frighteningly close to home.


  • TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree (81% vs 21%)[27]
  • 40% earn an advanced degree (as compared to 5% of the non-TCK population.)[28]
  • 45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.[28]
  • 44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.[28]
  • 90% feel "out of sync" with their peers.[29]
  • 90% report feeling as if they understand other cultures/peoples better than the average American.[30]
  • 80% believe they can get along with anybody.[30]
  • Divorce rates among TCKs are lower than the general population, but they marry older (25+).[28][31]
    • Military brats, however, tend to marry earlier.
  • Linguistically adept (not as true for military ATCKs.)[28]
  • Teenage TCKs are more mature than non-TCKs, but ironically take longer to "grow up" in their 20s.[29]
  • More welcoming of others into their community.[26]
  • Lack a sense of "where home is" but often nationalistic.[26][30]
  • Some studies show a desire to "settle down" others a "restlessness to move".
  • Depression and suicide are more prominent among TCK's.[29]

hehe... kinda warms your heart, doesnt it?  its interesting how well people seem to know "us". 

anyways... i think im going through a bit of a post-university-graduation slump of some sorts.  im missing being a "citizen of the world" at the moment... i miss traveling, i miss my friends that are *all* so disperate, i miss never being asked "whats with your accent?!" by some drunk sorority girl, i miss dublin bay prawns, i miss the ceol agus craic, i miss shifting from one culture to the other depending on where i am geographically... korean in asia, irish in europe, and american in the western hemisphere. 

...i wonder if its possible for us to be truly homesick? 

at the very least, i know i'll probably always be a bit restless...

fyrestorm fyrestorm
22-25, M
4 Responses Oct 10, 2008

I went through a difficult time moving back but I am proud of what I am! Learned to embrace my difference rather than trying to fit in and fighting what I really am. Loving the statistics though... And some numbers I can imagine why. Sigh.

"how odd it all must seem to someone looking at it from the outside"<br />
I think that, from the outside, most people just can't imagine. <br />
I think that being moved around too much, without the appropriate (very specific, very understanding) support, people's sense of self can become far too fractured and fragmented. Not in all cases, of course, but in many.<br />
People do need roots, and ones they can feel good about (though that's not to say, of course, that experiencing other cultures can't be enriching, but it is profoundly unrealistic for parents to expect small children to behave as, and necessarily benefit from being, "citizens of the world").

Are you a TCK who has moved back to your passport country at some point during your life? If your answer is yes, please do my questionnaire!<br />
<br />
http://survey.nottingham.edu.my/index.php?sid=17391&lang=en<br />
<br />
I'm conducting this survey as part of my Final Year Research Project so I really need your help! Please share the link with your friends who may be able to complete it :)

From your story, it sounds like you do get truly homesick...just for different places. :) No need to settle down in one place though, right? Think of all the people who have jobs that bring them between two or three countries. Hope it works out for you at any rate.