The term ‘Third Culture Kid’ was coined by sociologist, Ruth Hill Useem. [They are called], “Third Culture Kids because TCKs integrate aspects of their birth culture (the first culture) and the new culture (the second culture), creating a unique ‘third culture,’” according to tckids.com.
Interracial or intercultural parents are another example of TCKs, where the mother and father’s native cultures serve as different influences on the child.
The International House is a speciality housing program, centrally located on our universities’ campus. It is made up of 20 international students, each with an American roommate. Together the International House represents over 23 countries and nineteen languages. Within the 40 students there are several TCKs, such as Clement Dikoko and Marignima Souané.
“TCKs are still greatly researched and this research shows good and bad as to being a TCK. The ‘good’ is very highly developed skills for problem solving and creating networks of support. They hit the ground running with new environments. The ‘bad’ is that they don’t know where ‘home’ is. They feel that everyone has an identity that they do not. Their identity is split between two or more places,” said the Dr. John J. Ketterer, past director of the International House Program.
“I really like the International House because it’s an environment that I’m comfortable in. I can talk with people and relate because we understand each other about ‘culture shock’. The House creates a home environment for us,” said Clement Dikoko.
“Before coming to the States, I lived four years in Congo, three years in Gabon, four years in Nigeria, one year in France, two years in Holland, and four years in Malaysia,” said Dikoko.
Marignima Souané was born in Senegal to a Christian Korean mother, and a Muslim Senegalese father. “Wherever I am, I am different than the community. In Senegal, they used to call me ‘Chinese,’ and when I was in Korea, they called me a ‘black person,’ said Souané
She continued, Even when I went to my own embassy in the US, they didn’t believe I was from Senegal. For me, home is where I live really. This [the International House] is the closest home I can get because I have people from Africa and Korea. I can identify with both cultures within one house.”
The motto of the International House is “Know one another and you will love one another.”
And with just an afternoon spend at the Housing Program, one can see this embodied as these students create a “home” here at Jacksonville State University.
Arts & Entertainment Editor