Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard


The purpose of this research is to explore the significance of the Third Culture Kid (TCK) and the impact their ‘stabilizing factors’ or ‘constants’ have on their occupation outcome. Third Culture Kid is a term used for people who have travelled and lived in many different countries during their development years. Within that definition there are other subgroups such as: Bi/multi-cultural and/or bi/multi-racial families, immigrants, international adoptees, refugees and Domestic TCKs or CCKs. Ever since the term was first coined by Ruth Hill Useem, a sociologist, in the early 50s, there have been more and more families having the TCK experience due to the world becoming more globalized. Stabilizing factors or constants is a state of mind where one feels connected and is a part of something bigger than he or she is. This is important to study because TCKs do not have a city, town, people whom have been there whilst they were growing up (apart from the parents) during their lifetime. The constants they form within their lifetime (friends, teachers, hobbies, different cultures) become that city, town or people that they did not have before. These constants eventually help pave way for their career choices. For this study there was inputs from seven TCKs, two non-TCKs, one CCK, three international educators, three governmental officials, and one former refugee. In a constantly changing environment TCKs need something to ground themselves. From the interviews and questionnaires conducted themes of TCKs, international education, friends, cultural assimilation/adjustment, ‘Constants’, and the job opportunities for TCKs came up. All the TCKs’ ‘stabilizing factors’ have some say on their job outcome, directly or indirectly. The most common ‘stabilizing factors’ which were found were the parents of TCKs.


Anthropology | Critical and Cultural Studies | International and Intercultural Communication