"Where Are You From?" Third Culture Kids: An Evaluation of Reentry Programs

Elissa A. Irish, The College of Wooster


This study explores the readjustment process of third culture kids (TCKs; children who grew up overseas) into the United States and evaluates the reentry programs which assist in the transition. Through a literature review, variables are suggested which have an impact on the success of one's reentry. The 105 participating missionary kids included those who attended a reentry program and those who did not. By testing the variables deemed important by the literature, the participants success of adjustment was measured in three areas: social, psychological, and academic adjustment. The responses provided by those who participated in a reentry program supported the effectiveness of the programs. However, in comparison to the control group, it appeared that those who did not participate in a reentry program adjusted better than those who did. This difference suggests some important influences of external variables such as differences in age, length of time spent overseas, and the overseas location. The results suggest that reentry programs must take into account the specific needs of TCKs attending their programs by monitoring the impact of those external variables on the readjustment process.


© Copyright 1999 Elissa A. Irish