Home and Belonging in Third Culture Kids: Where to go for University

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Esther Sofie Fanøe
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The focus of this Mixed Methods study is on young adult Third Culture Kids: individuals who have spent a significant part of their developmental years in a culture or country that is not their parents’ home culture. With global mobility on the rise, a consistent larger number of individuals choose to travel and work abroad, often bringing their families along with them. For those children who grow up outside of their country of origin, it is common to experience a sense of cultural homelessness and disconnect with what is otherwise known as the home culture. The aim here has thus been to gain a greater understanding of how home and belonging is experienced by young adult Third Culture Kids during the transitional phase related to graduation and application to university, and what factors influence this decision.
The study was conducted using a quantitative online survey distributed to 126 participants representing 44 nationalities, and qualitative, semi-structured interviews with two Third Culture Kids. The data sets showed that many of the TCKs who participated in this study have chosen to study in countries where they believe they will have a better chance at a good life, whether this be due to higher quality education, less violence, higher political stability, or warmer weather. Additionally, the data sets from the completed survey showed that the majority of participants, regardless of their country of origin, would prefer to study in English as they continue their education. With regards to home and belonging, survey and interview results showed that many individuals consider home in terms of relationships, rather than a physical place, and as such choose to actively pursue relationships wherein they have had similar experiences and a common understanding of the world. For some of the participants belonging refers to a place, or setting, in which they feel at home, or in specific relationships where they have an established history, while others feel a sense of belonging in more abstract contexts: a type of community rather than solely a list of people in a given context. Many individuals also express a desire to continue being part of international communities, where they feel more at home than they would in a mono-cultural context.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2 Nov 2020
Number of pages46
ID: 386558855