Here at the Glavin Office of Multicultural & International Education we are constantly capturing statistics of incoming international and outgoing study abroad students. In fact we have entire teams dedicated to supporting and guiding these populations. A community that is perhaps more complicated to define is that of Third Culture Kids.

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) or Global Nomads are individuals who have spent a significant part of their lifetimes outside their parents’ cultures, usually because of their parents’ work. The “Third Culture” refers to the a combination of the expatriate culture in which the students often live, the culture of their passport country, and the culture of the host country.  Examples include a US student growing up in Malaysia because her mother and father teach at the international school; or, a Korean student who has lived in Singapore, Kuwait, and Vancouver because his father is in the Korean diplomatic corps.

As we work to build an inclusive campus environment, it is helpful to broaden our definition of multiculturalism and to be mindful of the assumptions we make of others. There may be more to a classmate’s story than meets the eye.

For more background on TCKs, watch the video below by filmmaker Aga Alegria.