A long way from home
Since globalisation has opened up possibilities for international residence, the number of Third Culture Kids have grown and so has awareness of the challenges facing them.
They have often missed out on a national pastime here, a popular television show there or entire pieces of a shared culture that they never grew to know. They have a high degree of cultural adaptability and skill, but the flip side is an inability to answer that most basic of questions: Where are you from?
Whether you’re concerned about your child growing up far away from home, or you are adjusting to life back in the Netherlands after spending years abroad, a good spot to find useful resources from those who share your experience is the internet. You can find tools that help both children and adults maximize their experiences as Third Culture Kids, and cope with the challenges.
The global network
The U.S. Department of State offers resources for parents of TCK children through their Family Liaison Office. The office prepares families for the move abroad and points visitors to a variety of support group websites. The Foreign Service Youth Foundation also offers virtual link-ups to clubs and volunteer opportunities, as well as a great list of books, websites and articles on how to cope with the lifestyle of a 'Global Nomad'.
A few blogs and networks worth following:
Part of the same network, TCKid 2.0, helps TCKs from all over the world meet up, regardless of age.
Join the Facebook group Amsterdam - Netherlands Third Country Kids the TCK Dutch affiliate (Facebook login required).
Cross Cultural Kids an informative network and blog by Ruth Van Reken, second generation adult TCK and mother of 3ATCKs.
The Families in Global Transition network, who put on conferences as well as programmes for companies.
Third Culture Kids, the book
Not specifically about the Netherlands, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds (David Pollock & Ruth E. Van Reken) examines both the psychological challenges and benefits of a child's upbringing without a definable homeland to call their own. Issues of identity, adaptability, cross cultural enrichment and more can weigh heavily on a child's development.
For more information visit Cross Cultural Kids.