Date of Award

Spring 4-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Penny Bryan

Second Advisor

Michael Hass

Third Advisor

Daniele Struppa


American families moving abroad are often informed of the initial difficulties they will encounter as residents in a new culture; however, they may not recognize the possible subsequent effects on their children, when returning home to their native cultures during the repatriation process. The children who experience the effect of living in a new culture and eventually repatriating are known as Third Culture Kids (TCK). As globalization and expatriate populations increase, it is important that society becomes aware of the Third Culture community. This qualitative research study focused on analyzing the repatriation transition process of four Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCK) and explored the relationship between their emotional intelligence and their third culture and repatriating experiences. This dissertation provides a profile for what type of citizen a TCK may become upon repatriation. Framed within a narrative inquiry approach this study utilized the Listening Guide method of analysis in order to capture the participants’ final narrative portraits. Storied themes emerged from the final narratives providing evidence for this research study’s five main conclusions: (a) home is not defined by one physical location, (b) assimilation and repatriation do not equate, (c) emotional intelligence may be a factor in repatriation success, (d) Third Culture experiences influence civic engagement, and (e) there is one incident that is perceived as signifying the completion of repatriation. These findings offer a new perspective of the repatriating experience and provide insight for families entering the expatriate culture and returning home.