OC's missionaries celebrate the year with Third Culture Kids

Apr 14, 2018

OC’s missionaries-in-residence, Kent and Nancy Hartman, hosted a picnic for the Third-Culture Kids April 14 at Lake Hefner. Students were encouraged to bring a friend from outside of the TCK program.

TCKs are students who identify with a different culture than the one in which their parents grew up. The children of foreign missionaries are one example of TCK; the parents may be from the U.S., but the children grew up in the country where the parents served. The students are around one culture in the privacy of their homes, but they are engulfed in a different culture outside the home. Many TCKs feel on the outside of both cultures, and the Hartmans felt a need for a safe group for TCKs.

“We want a space for TCKs to come together to talk about transitioning to American culture and learning to function in American society,” Hartman said. “The students are willing to share their whole lives because they share that commonality of being different than others around them.”

After living in Australia for 17 years, the Hartmans moved to OC in 2002. They wanted to make an impact on students from different cultures by bringing TCKs together. Seeing the challenges that their own children struggled through when transitioning into American customs, the Hartmans had a calling to do the same for students at OC and in the community.

Together with one of the visiting missionaries at the time, the two couples created the TCK program to offer tools of transition to the students and to encourage community.

Junior Emily Calder has been a part of the TCK program since she was young, and she loves that OC has a community like TCK.

“It’s a place where people can be themselves,” Calder said. “The whole point of the TCK group is to create a safe place for TCKs, who feel very different from everybody else, to be themselves and feel safe.”