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Adaptability

Do third culture kids (TCKs) have a better capacity to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures?

Do you feel more at ease in different situations that your non-TCK peers/family?

Most of our group said that they not only had better capacity to deal with the unexpected or unusual, but that they prefer being in new or challenging situations.

Alma: “It’s not just an ease, I’m most comfortable in different situations.”

Alexander: “I will talk to anyone, probably because I don't register difference in the same way as people with more homogeneous upbringings.” 

Kim: “Having lived in two different cultures [UK and Germany] I feel I’m very open to people from different backgrounds. I was lucky that both my parents are very open and liberal anyway. 

“At university, I made friends with people from all over the world: Sweden, France, USA, Germany.

“Since 2008 I have changed jobs quite often and feel like I always settle in quickly and manage to talk to most people in my teams with ease.”

Austeja: “I don’t feel more able to see different sides of a situation from my non-TCK friends and family. I don’t feel more sensitive to other people’s emotions and I also don’t feel that I have a capacity to function better in different situations. There is a bit more freedom of expression in the UK [than in Lithuania].”

Young sisters of Hispanic descent reading a book on a bedroom floor Young sisters of Hispanic descent reading a book on a bedroom floor


Lisa: “I thrive when dealing with new people and challenging situations. My parents travelled extensively around South-East Asia, so I was exposed to a variety of cultures and people from a young age. It takes a lot to shock me or make me feel too uncomfortable.”

Lucy: “I went to eight different schools so I easily adapt to change. Later in life I travelled solo for a year and a half and left a job to live in Cambodia for six months. People said they wouldn't have been brave enough but it didn't seem like such a big deal to me. I integrated well when working with Khmer nationals.”

Tom: “The wildly different experiences I have had over the years have prepared me for the unexpected.”

Jimmy: “I don’t necessarily agree, but I do enjoy variety. Experiencing what we had in Dubai does spur me on to travel and expose my family to all walks of life as I feel it shaped who I am today: a happy, simple and accepting human being.”

Nina: “I always try to make friends with cleaners in offices, because - let's be honest - a lot of them are Hispanic people, especially in the US. I feel they're ignored by the people they work hard for, who they see every day and that makes me mad.” 

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