Third Culture Kids (TCKs)

Also known as Global Nomads, these terms refer to someone who as a child has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his own. They integrate elements of the new culture and their own birth culture into a third culture. Students entering college experience huge transitional issues. TCKs find themselves not only facing the common changes in becoming a college student; they must overlay additional issues of emotional and displacement feelings. Among emotional stages faced by Third Culture Kids, as identified by Van Reken (2001, p. 4) are feelings of vulnerability and being different.

Two tools are seen utilized by families to support TCKs during this life change:

THE HIGHLANDS ABILITY BATTERY: Gold-standard among tools assessing abilities, this profile is a three-hour objective inquiry into the ability patterns of the individual. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. WHAT BETTER TOOL TO OWN THAN SELF UNDERSTANDING as transitions and choices span ahead. Developed from the clinical studies of Johnson O’Connor, it is conducted via CD Rom and can be taken from anywhere on the globe along with a 2 hour ‘live’ interpretation feedback consultation by Highlands Provider, Dr. Jennifer Lawson. MANY TCKs and families have spoken in strong support of how immensely beneficial this was to their child in building self-confidence and assurance. Call the Center for Psychology & Counseling for more information.

ONE-ON-ONE COACHING: Belonging and becoming a part of their New Cultural Context, Tackling New Stresses, Social Adjustments, Academic Challenges: TCKs face these challenges and more as they begin their college education. Dr. Lawson offers individual consultations one-on-one on a scheduled basis (usually weekly) to help TCKs adopt new habits and address necessary changes. Whether in person or via electronic communication, providing an extra layer of support for students in transition helps build a strong foundation to future success and adjustment.

Having served as a missionary herself as well as having two children born internationally, Dr. Lawson provides experience, wisdom, and sound counsel for the unique challenges facing TCKs and their families. What better gift for a parent and a child……..the assurance that someone is continually lending a hand during a challenging life transition.

Studies by Pollack & Van Reken (2001, p. 199 ) state ‘ it is vital that highly mobile families learn to deal well with the entire process of transition’ as this process can affect the child’s ability to cope.


(479) 444 – 1400.