Forming and establishing ones identity is a complex process in which several things factor. This research uncovers and describes the sense of identity among college attending students who spent a significant part of their developmental years abroad, known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Using past research as a foundation, information from qualitative interview and survey data of Third Culture Kids was gathered. The theoretical perspective of Pierre Bourdieu was then used to explore and bring understanding to how Third Culture Kids identify themselves. Results showed that the majority of Third Culture Kids come from middle class backgrounds, saw several benefits to their lifestyle, desired to continue international mobility, and yet often they felt out of touch with their non Third Culture Kid peers. In fact Third Culture Kids may continue to struggle with their identities and feel as outsiders when they attempt to describe their experiences that do not fit traditional mono cultural identity constructs. Ultimately this research uncovers that due to Third Culture Kids' mobile lifestyles they tend to feel most comfortable identifying themselves with transportable elements or as Third Culture Kids rather than with any particular culture, nationality, or geographical location.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2008 Jilian Wright