TCK (Third Culture Kid) Stories On Film

Paths to BCThird culture kids, or “TCKs.” One type of Blended Culture, TCK refers to those of us who have grown up in multiple locations and enlarged our definitions of “home.” We have multiple homes, all near and dear to us. We have multiple cultures, some of which we may be more fluent in than others, and all of which hold deep meaning for us. And, we have created “third cultures,” “blended cultures,” a global, multicultural or cosmopolitan definition of self and family.

The Blended Culture experience is increasingly common. As an expatriate myself, my son is a TCK with multiple national culture affiliations; it’s crucial for me to understand a bit of his experience if I am to parent him appropriately. I pray he grows up to reconcile his identity in constructive, multicultural ways. For those of us who work in international business, schools, study abroad, and with immigrants, it is also extremely helpful to understand at least a bit about the TCK experience. Three recent films may help us do just that.

The first film is called So Where’s Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity, and is by Adrian Bautista. You can view the nine-minute film in its entirety below.

A second film is the award-winning “The Road Home,” directed by Rahul Gandotra. This 24-minute short can be rented or purchased, and the director is currently making a feature length movie about the same characters. You can view a two-minute clip of the film below.

TCKs have unique skill sets and unique challenges. The powerful trailer below (almost nine minutes) shows us what Aga Alegria has in mind as she sets about fundraising to make her documentary film about the TCK experience. Click here to learn more about that effort, or perhaps help her out.

We wish all these ventures very well with this important and timely topic! Learn more about a tool to help make the most of the TCK experience.

6 thoughts on “TCK (Third Culture Kid) Stories On Film

  1. an exciting topic that rings very personal to me. however, i have always had a problem with the coinage “third-culture kid”. it somehow evokes images of inferiority to me by placing a person outside “the norm”. i prefer the term “cultural hybrid”. it is not perfect either and is plagued by decades of misunderstanding the phenomenon, but, invested with new and personal meaning, it works great for me. i wrote a small text expressing my own experiences and feelings about not belonging anywhere on my blog:


    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your post! Powerful stuff. Being “in” or “out,” included or on the fringes, can scar us or make us stronger, or probably both 😉 Great to have more voices to this important topic, especially voices of experience.

      I agree with you. Finding the “right” or “best” terminology is important, and is a process. In the Cultural Detective series we use the term “Blended Culture.” It includes more than TCKs, however—the image in the post shows you which populations are included. The package devoted to it, Cultural Detective Blended Culture, may be something you find useful. Have you taken a look?

      Thank you for joining us hear! We look forward to reading more of what you write!


  2. Dianne,
    Thank you for this short but clear teaser into the third-culture experience. I’m familiar with these films and am glad to see them getting a larger viewing!

    One clarification on your definition of third culture kids…David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, in their classic “TCK Experience,” have a small but significant misrepresentation of third-culture. The original scholars, especially Ruth Hill Useem, found that expats in India did not just blend Indian and their own cultures…they in fact created a distinct “third culture” that had its own characteristics. And the children of these expats, who grow up in this third culture as well as their parents’ home cultures and one or more host cultures, are not simply hybrids of two or more cultures. These oddities (including me) are actually part of a culture that is not geographically or ethnically grounded, but is in fact a non-located culture…hence the TCK trouble locating (or even valuing) the concept of “home.”

    I’d love to shoot you some research on this. Please let me know if you’re interested!

    I look forward to reading more of your work and your insights.


    • Thank you for adding to and deepening this short post, Amy. We would love to read your research. Several of our authors have specialized in this area for decades, and I would welcome hearing what you think of the CD Blended Culture package.

      If you’re interested in summarizing some of the research, with links, in a guest blog post here, I’d love to speak with you about it. I know our readers would be interested. Thanks for sharing your expertise here!


  3. Thanks for sharing this. We are still missing a group of people in this mix, which are indigenous people and their children, who although they may have never left the geopolitical boundaries of their country, have nevertheless been impacted also in many different ways by processes of colonization. These processes have also shaped their sense of space, place and belonging. An important story to include in the mix, I think. Cheers Caroline


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