Finding the Best Resources for Third Culture Kids
GMM Team (GMM): Today we have Mary Beth Bagley, the Missionary Kid Care Specialist for Global Partners, with us for The Multiplier newsletter.
Mary Beth, thank you for joining us. Our first question is simple—what is a Third Culture Kid (TCK)?
Mary Beth Bagley (MBB): It’s my pleasure to join you here. Third Culture Kids are a unique group of young people who have spent a significant part of their developmental years outside of their passport country. While there are many joys to being a TCK, they also often face specific challenges related to identity, belonging, and transitioning between cultures.
GMM: Ok I see how this could be related to Global Marketplace Multipliers (GMM). Can you tell us more about that uniqueness?
MBB: For sure. One way that we help support our missionary kids, who are almost always TCKs automatically, through these specific challenges is through intentional connections that create safe spaces for them to process and grow.
GMM: Yes, in fact that’s your job, right?
MGG: Exactly. But for GMMs it could be a little more challenging as their employer may not be as intentional in providing this necessary support as we are for our missionaries. Fortunately, there are many resources available to support TCKs and their families.
GMM: Ok good, could you recommend some books that can assist TCKs and their families?
MBB: Absolutely, let’s delve into some great reads. One highly recommended book is “Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds” by David Pollock, Ruth Van Reken, and Michael Pollock. It’s a classic that’s filled with deep insights and research into the TCK experience.
Another valuable resource is “Raising Up a Generation of Healthy Third Culture Kids” by Lauren Wells. This book offers practical guidance for parents in an easy-to-read format, helping them nurture the emotional well-being of TCKs.
If you’re looking for something engaging for kids, consider “Slurping Soup and Other Confusions” by Tonges, Menezes & Gemmer Emigh. As a collection of real-life stories from real-life TCKs, it includes activities and humor perfect for young readers.
For even younger children, “Swirly” by Sara Saunders is a fantastic option. It’s a children’s book designed to help TCKs understand their unique identity and ultimate belonging with Jesus.
Lastly, there’s “Hiding in the Hallway: Anchoring Yourself as an MK” by Jeanne Harrison. While it’s geared towards missionary kids, it provides valuable guidance for navigating the challenges they often face as teens.
GMM: Thanks for those recommendations, Mary Beth, looks like we need to get reading! So how about organizations? Are there some that offer support for TCKs and their families that you recommend?
MBB: Thankfully, yes, there are several organizations that offer important services in supporting TCKs and their families. TCK Training (Website: www.tcktraining.com) is an excellent resource. They offer a wide range of quality TCK resources, conduct workshops, provide coaching, and offer family debriefing services. Another valuable organization is Interaction International (Website: www.interactionintl.org). They provide quality TCK publications, assist with educational planning, offer virtual TCK Connect services, and organize reentry events.
If you’re in need of professional counseling and therapy services, the International Therapist Directory is an indispensable resource. It connects TCKs and expats with counselors and therapists who specialize in serving internationally mobile communities.
GMM: What a great wealth of resources here, Mary Beth. Now, can you tell us about some educational services for TCKs and expat families?
MBB: For sure. Educational consulting organizations offer vital services for ensuring that TCKs receive a quality education while living abroad and I’ll mention some of the most well-known. SHARE Education Services (Website: www.shareeducation.org) serves expat families in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. They provide essential educational support tailored to these regions.
For expat families in Asia, SAFE: Services in Asia for Family Education (Website: www.safeasia.org) is a good option. They offer educational guidance and support unique to the Asian context. Anchor Education (Website: www.anchoreducation.org) is the go-to for expat families in Africa and Latin America. They provide educational services and resources designed to meet the distinctive needs of families in these regions.
These educational consulting organizations act as educational navigators, helping expat families through consultations, resources, academic assessments, conferences and more. They help ensure that TCKs receive the best possible education while they embark on their global adventures, setting them up for success in a complex educational landscape and as future adults.
GMM: Thank you, Mary Beth, for sharing these valuable resources for TCKs and their families. This information will undoubtedly be beneficial for Global Marketplace Multipliers and any kind of people that move globally with their kids along for the adventure!
MBB: You’re very welcome! It’s essential to support TCKs as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of their unique upbringing, and it’s a real passion of mine so it’s great to talk about it a bit with you.