School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Billie Jean Holubz


acculturation, culture, culture shock, enculturation, expatriate, hidden immigrant, global nomad, home (first) culture (country), host (second) culture (country), re-acculturation, repatriation (reentry), reverse culture shock, third culture, Third Culture Kids (TCKs), transition


Education | Psychology


The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to understand the transition to college in the United States of third culture kids (TCKs) who have spent at least one year in South Asia during their upbringing (ages 6-18). Schlossberg’s adults in transition theory was employed to study planned transitions to college. This study attempted to answer the research questions: How do TCKs perceive the major events or benchmarks in their transition to college? How did expected and unexpected outcomes impact TCKs’ experience during their transition to college? What resources do TCKs typically access during their repatriation to college transition in the U.S. What are the strategies TCKs used in their first year of college that contributed to their persistence to graduation? For this study, a recruitment flyer was posted on alumni websites of two international schools in a South Asian country. Purposeful sampling and subsequent snowball sampling were used to guarantee 12-15 participants who met the criteria of the study and had experienced the transition to college under investigation. Through several open-ended semi-structured questions, the participants were invited to reveal what their first-year adjustment to college experience entailed through individual and focus group interviews. Additionally, data was collected from participant reflective journals that each participant was required to keep. These journals were used to record each student’s recollections of their repatriation for college transition experience. Further, all data was coded, and themes and categories were identified. With-in case and cross-case analysis were conducted.

Available for download on Friday, August 25, 2023