Connection helpers and problem solvers and often

Connection to passport countryTCKs connection to their passport country may also lesson or diminish the longer TCKs spend in the host country. Cultural attachment may be stronger to the host culture which is clearly a challenge for some TCKs when transitioning to their passport country (Schaetti, 1995).  The multiple experiences of TCKs, and their contact with diverse cultural groups, while growing up abroad, contributes and impacts on their own personal cultural identity (Walters, 2006). Their exposure and experiences internationally, has enabled them to develop extensive knowledge of other countries; cultures, customs and religions. These experiences could however potentially dominate and may come at the expense of individuals knowing little of their own passport country and their parents culture (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). Third Culture Kid Benefits and CharacteristicsAs a result of living a globally mobile lifestyle the TCKs varied opportunities and multiple experiences have enabled TCKs to develop distinctive characteristics which are shaped by rich experiences within the Third Culture (Bell, 1997; Gilbert & Gilbert, 2012; McCaig, 2012; Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). Cottrell and Useem (1999) study of 700 American TCKs on their childhood abroad and their subsequent lives as adults reported ATCKs to be individuals who are, internationally minded; adaptable; have an ability to relate to people from a diverse group of cultures; are helpers and problem solvers and often feel different but do not feel isolated (p. 31-33).  Schaetti and Ramsey (1999) points out that research identifies the TCKs shared characteristics and themes to include: change, relationships, world view, and cultural orientation. More recently, a Moore and Barker (2011) study identified TCKs benefits as the ability to adapt easily; fluency in multiple languages; good communication skills; greater cultural awareness; broader worldview and open-mindedness. Participants, in the study, perceived their inter-cultural experiences to be positive overall, enhancing and enriching their lives.  However, regardless of the variations and diversity within the TCK community, these individuals share similar characteristics as an outcome of the unique mobile experience and distinctive identity development (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009; Schaetti and Ramsey, 1999). Pollock & Van Reken (2009) consider these characteristics to include, large world view; language acquisition; ability to be cultural bridges; rootless; restless; sense of belonging to relationships. Cultural Competence TCKs experiences abroad have enabled them to develop personal skills and characteristics that supports awareness of cultural diversity (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009; Gilbert & Gilbert, 2012; Quick, 2010). Opportunity to travel has afforded them the chance to interact with multiple cultures, imparting a greater awareness and empathy to unseen cultural differences (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). As a result of this TCKs have learnt to be more understanding and perceptive of culture difference and to the subtleties of stressful situations (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). However, Cottrell (1999) claims this intercultural competence will be influenced by the integration TCKs have with their host countries. The majority of TCKs attend expensive international schools and could be easily perceived or considered a privileged group (Tanu, 2009).  Many TCKs have limited contact with host nationals confined to interactions mostly or entirely with expatriates, known as the “expat bubble” Tanu (2008). Tanu goes on to further question whether this inter-cultural understanding can extend to those less privileged.Broader worldviewAlthough a broader worldview is recognized to be a shared quality by TCKs, and has recognized advantages, such as being more open-minded, understanding and tolerant of differences. This may lead to challenges and frustrations with other individuals that have experienced only a single culture. A TCKs perception of these individuals in their passport countries is at times is that they are ignorant and/or disinterested in a wider worldview because they have limited international knowledge or understanding (Barringer, 2000; Cottrell,1999; Jurtun, 2011; Moore & Barker, 2011; Pollack & Van Reken, 2009; Schaetti, 2000).  This may be an unfair assumption and result in making it difficult for TCKs to connect and find something in common with others when transitioning.