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Returning Home Erika’s Story 2 Fig. 1 4 What is a Third Culture Kid? 7 Statement 8 Fig. 2 10 Cross–cultural context 11 Fig. 3 15 Erika’s Story cont. 17 Fig. 4 21 Citations


As the Boeing 747 sped down the runway, Erika sat inside with seat belt secure, her chin propped against a clenched fist, staring out the window until the final sights of her beloved Singapore disappeared from view. How can it hurt this much to leave a country that isn’t even mine? Erika closed her eyes and settled back in the seat, too numb to cry the tears that begged to be shed. Will I ever come back? For nearly half of her twenty-three years, she had thought of Singapore as home. Now she knew it wasn’t— and America hadn’t felt like home since she was eight years old.


Isn’t there anywhere in the world I belong? She wondered. [1]






What is a Third Culture Kid? A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of their developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. [3]


Statement Third Culture Kids will be a book that acts as an experimental ground for exploring the lives of young nomads who come of age in a capitalized and globalized environment where assumptions of culture, language, nationality and identity are constantly being questioned. Consisting of a series of texts, images and drawings, this book will challenge the traditional authority of the publisher by redefining the modern designer’s role as not only a designer but also an author, editor, curator, and publisher. Instead of allowing content to idly sit on a designed page, is it possible for the experience of understanding to begin from the moment a viewer picks up a book? 8

I believe that the book is an object collapsing both content and form. The design narratives of the book will not only call attention to the content but will also push readers to become visual learners.




Cross–cultural context A cross-cultural kid (CCK) is a person who is living or has lived in or meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental ages (from birth to ~18 years old). An adult cross–cultural kid (ACCK) is a person who has grown up as a cross– cultural kids. [5]


Traditional third culture kids: Children who move into another culture with parents due to a parent’s career choice. Children from bi/multicultural homes: Children born to parents from at least two cultures. May or may not be of the same race. Children of immigrants: Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally citizens. Educational cross-culture kids: Children who may remain in their home or passport country but are sent to a school (e.g., an International School) with a different cultural base and student mix than the traditional home culture or its schools.


Children of refugees: Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to circumstances they did not choose, such as war, violence, famine, or natural disasters. Children of borderlanders: Children who cross borders frequently, even daily, as they go to school, or whose parents work across national borders. Children of minorities: Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group that is not part of the majority race or ethnicity of the country in which they live. International adoptees: Children adopted by parents from another country other than the one of that child’s birth. 13

Domestic TCKs: Children whose parents have moved in or among various subcultures within that child’s home country. [6]





Erika didn’t notice that the captain had turned off the “fasten your seat belt” sign until a flight attendant interrupted her reverie. “Would you like something to drink?” He asked. How many cokes and miniature pretzels have I eaten on airplanes? She wondered. Far too many to count. But today her grief outweighed any thought of food or drink. She shook her head, and the attendant moved on. Erika closed her eyes again. Unbidden memories flashed through her mind. She remembered being eight years old, when her family still lived in upstate New York, Erika’s birthplace. One day her father entered the playroom as she and her younger sister, Sally, performed


a puppet show for their assembled audience of stuffed animals. “Wanna’ watch, Dad?” Erika asked hopefully. “In a few minutes, sweetie. First, I have something special to tell you.” Puppets forgotten, Sally and Erika ran to their dad, trying to guess what it could be. “Are we gonna have a new baby?” Sally began jumping up and down in excited anticipation. “Did you buy me a new bike?” Erika inquired. Erika’s dad shook his head and sat in the nearby rocking chair, gathering one daughter on each knee. “How would you like to take a long airplane ride?” He asked. “Wow!” “Sure.”


“I love airplanes.” “Where, Daddy?” He explained that his company had asked him to move From the United States to Ecuador to start a new branch office. The family would be moving as soon as school ended that June. A flurry of activity began—shopping, packing, and saying good–bye to relatives and friends. It all seemed so exciting until the day Erika asked, “Mom, how is Spotty going to get there?” “Honey, it’s not easy to take a dog. Grandma’s going to take care of him ’til we get home again.”


“Mom, we can’t leave Spotty! He’s part of our family!” [8]




Citations [1] Pollock, David C., and Ruth E. Reken. “Where Is

Home? Erika’s Story.” Third culture kids growing up among worlds. Rev. ed. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Pub., 2009. 3. Print. [2] Buckley, Stephen. “Some ‘Third-Culture Kids’ Uncertain Which World Is Really Theirs.” International Herald Tribume [New York] 6 June 2000, sec. Returning “Home” for College/ Neither Refugees nor Immigrants: 2. http:// Web. 11 Oct. 2013. [3] Definition of TCK by David C. Pollock in The TCK Profile seminar mate- rial, Interaction, Inc., 1989, 1. [4] Pollock, David C., and Ruth E. Reken. “Where Is Home? Erika’s Story.” Third culture kids growing up among worlds. Rev. ed. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Pub., 2009. 42. Print. The Weaver Cultural Iceberg (© Drs. Robert Kohls/Gary Weaver.)


[5] Ibid, Chapter 3 [31]. [6] Ibid, Chapter 3 [31-32]. [7] Peterson, Bill E., and Laila T. Plamondon. “Third

Culture Kids And The Consequences Of International Sojourns On Authoritarianism, Acculturative Balance, And Positive Affect.” Journal of Research in Personality 43.5 (2009): 755-763. Print. [8] Pollock, David C., and Ruth E. Reken. “Where Is Home? Erika’s Story.” Third culture kids growing up among worlds. Rev. ed. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Pub., 2009. 6. Print. [9] Aba-Jucaban, Leilani Joy . Third culture kids in Kenya. N.d., Kenya. Examiner. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.


Third Culture Kids, 2013. Produced by Cong Huynh. The project aims to explore the phenomenon of Third Culture Kids in hoping to reveal conditions of the Modern World.


Returning Home  

Returning Home, 2013. Produced by Cong Huynh. The project aims to explore the phenomenon of Third Culture Kids in hoping to reveal condition...