As a military TCK, Tina lived in 13 different countries growing up and has now lived in a total of 29 countries. Having raised TCK children of her own, her work focuses on helping students, universities and colleges to address the challenges and difficulties of transitioning and coping as a TCK. Tina is an international speaker and author of The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition, focusing on repatriation as an adolescent or transitional into college and the common turning points at which TCKs realise their difference.
We asked her to share her to tell us about her work and learnings from working with schools and TCK students...
[Watch the full video (15mins) here]
Are TCKs/CCKs distinct from Global Nomads?
- The terminology is changing and we’re going to see that more and more
- ‘TCK' is the overarching umbrella term but in Asia, for example, you can’t talk about TCKs without excluding one-third or more of the other students - bi-national or cross-culture kids
- 'CCK' came about by Ruth Van Reken - the enveloping term for children of refugees, immigrants, international adoptees; children of bi-national parents, educational CCKs (international school culture) who are expected to re-patriate every night when they return home
- 'Global Nomad' was coined by Norma McCaig - it is synonymous with TCK but it is not widely recognised or understood
What do you see Nomad students needing during school/university transition?
I call them 'The Four Pearls’ - the things they need to understand for a smoother adjustment:
Pearl 1: Identity Development - waking up to the fact that they are different; often occurs upon re-patriation
Pearl 2: Transition Cycle - going through 5 stages of transition
Pearl 3: Unresolved Grief - confronting feelings of loss/change/home sickness as a result of high-mobility
Pearl 4: Relationships - addressing feeling distant from others due to greater urgency to build meaningful relationships
What are schools/universities doing to better support them through this transition and how do these support systems enable Nomad students to thrive?
- Unfortunately this is not wide-spread in the US/UK/Canada/Australia
- Lewis & Clark College is the only higher-education institute with a boxed tick that says ‘you grew up outside of your passport country’. TCKs there are thriving because they have each other.
- Other universities like American University also have TCK groups, but overall we need to increase awareness that TCKs are there and that better systems are needed for them.
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