When a Third Culture Kid Goes “Home”

I had the honor of publishing a piece today on A Life Overseas: The Missions Conversation. Check it out!

When a Third Culture Kid Goes “Home”


Out of place.

Emotionally unstable.



These are all common experiences of third culture kids who “go back home.” In other words, they return, or move for the first time, to live in the country listed on their passport. Regardless of citizenship, a third culture kid’s identity and sense of home become far more complicated than a single country on a passport.

I grew up as a third culture kid (TCK) in Ukraine, attended a two-year college in Hungary, and then moved back to the States for university. This post is written from the perspective of an American TCK returning to the States. Some differences would occur for those going “home” to another nation, but I believe we’d share many common experiences and reactions.

Out of place

When I moved back to the States, I assumed I would feel at home. After all, this was my native language and culture, right?

Instead, I realized I couldn’t even talk “normally” with friends. I often stopped mid-sentence because I couldn’t think of an English word. I muttered under my breath in Russian, feeling stupid.

Simple tasks like grocery shopping raised my stress level to the point of mental breakdown. How in the world do they sell THIS MANY types of bread?!

Never mind the more complicated tasks like finding a job or a place to live. No work history? No credit history? Have you been living under a rock?

No, but if you can point me to one, I think I’ll crawl under it and die.

Click here to read the full article.

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