Do expat kids become expat adults?

In Expat Kids by Carole Hallett Mobbs5 Comments

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Expat children become expats as adults

A recent poll conducted by St. John’s among adults who grew up as expat children shows that the large majority of them actually become expats themselves.

Despite the transient nature of expat life and the associated difficulties for children, the poll shows that 46.2% of respondents have themselves become an expat, that 11.5% of expat children married an expat, while 38.5% are looking to become an expat in the future.

As one expat put it:

“The life of an expat kid is the life I would like to provide to my future children. I loved the lifestyle, learning about different cultures, meeting lovely people, and growing up with the best experiences in life.”

Most expat kids are third culture kids (TCK): kids who build relationships to several cultures while not having full ownership of any. It is often assumed that these kids would be looking for a sense of belonging and a fixed location to call home as adults.

However, only 9.6% made a conscious decision not to become an expat. One of the respondents explains,

“Growing up is hard enough without moving around.”

The results of this poll show that the benefits of expat life seem to far outweigh the challenges:

“I think it is an incredible experience in life and I would want my children to have the same opportunity to soak in culture, diversity and travel.”

via Expat children become expats themselves as adults, poll shows | St. John’s International School Blog.

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  1. This affirms the research done with Adult TCKs by Useem and Baker-Cottrell. There was also research done by someone in the 70s that found that youngsters who spent part of their teenage years abroad were likely to return abroad as adults.
    M Langford

  2. Can you give me the source of this survey? I would like to use it in my presentations on TCKs. Very interesting.

  3. Interesting, being an expat child has totally changed me and opened my mind. Personnnaly, I always have loved travel and have become an expat adult in Spain.

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