Impact of Significant Childhoodnature Experiences on Environmental Identity Formation for Globally Mobile Children Attending International Schools

Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


How do globally mobile children, especially Third Culture Kids (TCKs), with their mobile lifestyles, form their environmental identities? Through their many relocations, they are constantly in a state of flux in their ever-changing lives. Therefore, as these expatriate children move in and out of various countries, cultures and schools, they may experience significant life experiences (SLEs) and learn who they are within their prevailing/temporary culture.

The nature of challenges faced by TCKs, the role international schools play in environmental identity formation and the creation of childhoodnature experiences in TCKs will be explored through my own lived experiences as a TCK. By framing an autoethnographical exploration of SLEs as a globally mobile child through photographs and poems, I will illustrate my own lived childhoodnature experiences growing up as a TCK in international schools in eight different countries before the age of 18.

Myers (1997) and Chawla (1998) identified the importance of both the outer environment of the physical and social world, and the inner environment of people’s own interests and feelings. Consequently, they recommended that additional research was needed exploring the influence of the inner environment in shaping an individual’s SLEs.

For TCKs, this inner environment is critically important in shaping their SLEs but sadly, within international schools, this is often overlooked. To support TCKs in achieving much needed harmony, support, stability, understanding, and attain a sense of belonging, strategies will be identified to assist staff and students of international schools.


TCKs Identity formation Environmental identity Expatriate children Sense of belonging Mobility International schools 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationSouthern Cross UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Debra Flanders Cushing
    • 1
  • Robert Barratt
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Barratt Hacking
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Design, Creative Industries FacultyQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.The Eden ProjectCornwallUK
  3. 3.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK

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