Programmes in Place for TCKs

As the transition time of a TCK to enter a new culture, or re-enter their old one, is often lacking of structure and is instead often very chaotic, repatriation programmes are very important. I was able to find out about a few, all of which dealt with North Americans. Currently, the USA has five re-entry programmes for American missionary children returning to the States. They are all different in terms of style, length and syllabus content (Davis et al., 2010). For instance, the MK Transition Seminar is 13 days long and includes recent high school graduates who are about to attend American post-secondary institutions. This seminar encourages storytelling and gives the adolescents suggestions and information about integrating into society. This seminar is staffed by volunteers who are made up of psychologists, pastors and counselors, those qualified to help such people. At the end of this seminar, it was reported that the attendees had less stress and trepidation about the future (Davis et al., 2010).

Another study was a qualitative research method conducted on Canadian TCK girls aged between 18-25 who attended a Canadian Christian University (Walters, 2006).  In order to be considered for this research subjects had to have lived for a minimum of three years outside of their parent’s home country between the ages of 8 and 18.  What was discovered was although each of the subjects had different stories, the same issues showed up in all the cases.

Firstly, the subjects recognized that moving between cultures helped introduce a disruption in their personal identity development. This was because instead of focusing on identity development, the TCK had to expend their energy on adapting to the society they lived in, surviving in a society that seemed alien to them and also coping with the loss of friends and familiar surroundings (Walters, 2006). As the paper said “frequent transitioning slowed the process of identity development because what may have been a point of reference for them before was no longer there.” (Walters, 2006).

Secondly, in this particular study, as it was carried out at a Christian University, spirituality was important in the girl’s development; to them God was the only stable factor in their lives. As a result, their spirituality was seen as a stable foundation to rely on.

Thirdly, this study’s subjects overwhelmingly expressed their feelings of being different; the girls did not fit in, struggled to do so and felt different regardless of where they were. As one girl commented “I’ve stuck out my entire life.” These girls said that being with other TCK’s made them feel safer because they felt more understood and comfortable being around those similar to themselves. (Walters, 2006)

What has been identified and understood from these studies is that TCKs have unique educational needs and therefore require more support, especially from their school counselors. School boards are realizing that their school’s cultural demographics are changing and, with these changing times, counselors are expected to learn more about cultural differences. Understanding such differences will greatly aid them in finding ways in which to meet their student’s diverse demands (Limberg,2011) .

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