PRAISE for my book “Belonging Beyond Borders“: How Adult Third Culture Kids Can Cultivate a Sense of Belonging
“In the most lovely way, Megan Norton is inviting all to find a new way of discovering and naming our identity. Her model doesn’t wait for the others to name us, but through the beautiful language and metaphors she uses, we are challenged first to consider how we have been naming ourselves or allowing others to name us. Through reflective and meditative pieces, we are then invited to places of self-discovery and helpful reflection.”
“Megan writes with endless love and concern for TCKs, and with a huge
amount of courage and vision for their personal development challenges
and needs. Her compassion combines with care that offers practical
insights into living into the selves and the stories that we want,
inviting the kind of authorship and ownership that so many of us need.”
“This is a wonderful contribution to the work out there for TCKs! I love that TCKs can self direct through this and I feel like it reads well to older TCKs as well as college age. The issues you touch on I’m working with in clients in their 50s and 60s too. I really appreciate the self-reflection prompts… they are great journaling guides as well as more structured worksheets and I can see them being of so much use to TCKs in applying theory to their own lived realities.”
“It’s fresh, it’s lovely, it is accessible, it is true, and it is good! It is nice to read something that adds lots of new things to the basics…a million folks are writing about transition, but this is the first book I have seen so clearly outline belonging and I love that you are unabashedly Christian, yet folks from any religious background can read and not feel pressured…that is not easy to do and this may be one of the gifts of you not being an MK [missionary kid]…but you are definitely being salt and light.”
“The chapters’ self reflection exercises are practical, helpful, and beneficial to your reader. It’s clear you are a good teacher :)!”
“I needed this book and I’m sure you know first hand the amount of people this book will help. It’s important and needed and I’m grateful for it.
Great job… now hurry up and publish so I can buy a copy and copies for other TCKs I know.”
Ms. Megan Norton is a TCK consultant, intercultural trainer, podcast host of A Culture Story, co-founder of a non-profit for U.S. diplomat TCKs, and writer at adultthirdculturekid.com. As the daughter of a former U.S. diplomat, Megan identifies as an Adult Third Culture Kid, and with her extensive international experience, she has a global perspective and demonstrates cross-cultural sensitivity. She has lived in ten countries (South Africa, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Poland, USA), 5 U.S. states (Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, Washington D.C.), and has visited over 30 countries. Over the past ten years, Megan has researched and developed programs to facilitate smooth transitions for globally mobile families and their dependents. She frequently leads both in person and virtual TCK Transitions Seminars, university retreats and Intercultural Dialogue groups for a variety of international entities. Megan is an active member of Families in Global Transition and has served on the Board of Directors since 2018. For the past five years, Megan has been the co-chair of the NAFSA Global Nomad/TCK Member Interest Group. Megan holds two Master degrees: one in Intercultural Communication and one in Strategic Communication. She has presented her research at global conferences including FIGT, SIETAR-USA, NAFSA, IMI, MKCS, and CIES. Megan is a published writer in several magazines and online forums and her podcast is listened to in over 60 countries worldwide. Her book – “Belonging Beyond Borders” – focuses on the TCK profile and how this upbringing shapes personal identity.
TCK Transition Programs I Facilitate:
“Our experience with Intercultural Transitions was really fantastic. I attended the XXXXXXX University meeting last year, so it was interesting to compare my impressions and also the feedback I received from parents and students about the two different presentations.
Although I enjoyed the XXXXXX University presentation, several students complained that the XXXXX University visit was not relevant to them, that it was too general without any new info, that they just felt talked at. After this TCK workshop with Intercultural Transitions, however, students were energized to actually make some changes and explore opportunities. I was shocked to catch my own 10th grader exploring colleges and downloading an SAT prep app for his phone—I’ve been bugging him about this stuff for a year now without results, but now he is talking about it and mentioned that he wishes he’d had a chance to hear more from the presenters because he has so many more questions now (and that is spurring him to do his own research). His reaction to the XXXXXX University visit last year was a shrugged shoulder.
From parents, we have been inundated with emails and inquiries about whether they can count on this group coming back next year. There were worries that the audience wasn’t big enough (one school offered the workshop only to 12th graders and parents of 9-11th graders were very disappointed).
Personally, I was impressed by the professionalism and flexibility of Megan and Hannah. As one example, when they found that the parent audience at one school was made primarily of primary school parents (instead of the advertised audience of parents of 11/12 graders), they completely changed their presentation from one that was college-focused, to one that was focused on third-culture kids more generally. It was great and much more useful for the audience than the original presentation would have been. Another point that was especially impressive was how careful they were to be supportive of the school counselors and programs. They were clearly not trying to sow dissatisfaction or create problems for the schools—instead, they offered support and tools for parents to better utilize resources available. Finally, I was impressed by how important their message is for parents who may not (in fact, probably usually are not) aware of the unique challenges and differences their children will face when applying for and transitioning to college compared with peers who grow up in the United States. And the two complement each other very well, each bringing unique strengths to the presentation.
I cannot recommend their program strongly enough and hope that there will be a way to incorporate these visits more formally…..”
- Kyiv International School
“I am the mother of 10th grade twins at Pechersk School International in Kyiv, Ukraine. Last week we attended a Third Culture Kids (TCK) workshop/brownbag here at the Embassy that was excellent. I wanted to write to encourage the State Department’ Overseas Schools office to organize more such workshops for families with children in high school. We received so much useful information, but I felt like it was just the tip of the iceberg. As overseas parents/families, we only have limited time for our kids to visit colleges in the U.S. before they have to make a decision on where to apply, and the workshop helped us to narrow the field, or at least know what kinds of questions to ask to narrow the field of schools to visit. All to say, the CLO did a great job in bringing this team to Kyiv and I encourage Overseas Schools to do more such workshops for us. Thanks!”
- US Embassy; Kyiv, Ukraine
“Dear Ms. Norton – We are so thankful that you have taken the time to come speak at our event! It has been wonderful to work with you! We are so glad you have shared your expertise with us.”
- TCK Conference February 2020 High School Student Organizers; Washington, DC
Intercultural Trainer Consultant
“Megan has a deep and nuanced understanding of the cross-cultural and mobile community and puts that understanding to work creatively and with attention to detail. Event planning showcases her administrative skills and highlights her care for people and setting. Her classroom teaching background gives her an edge in content and curriculum development and presenting/teaching situations and she is a potent team-asset working with diverse populations. Megan’s understanding of Third Culture Kids and adult TCKs, International students and others who move ‘between cultures’ is top notch and allows her to leverage that sensitivity in a variety of settings.”
- Michael Pollock, TCK Specialist and co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds
“The field of intercultural relations, pioneered by School of International Service faculty members in the post-Cold War context, seeks to illuminate the role that culture plays in shaping perceptions, interactions, and analyses between individuals, communities, and nation-states. It remains at the heart of the Intercultural and International Communication Master program in the School of International Service at American University, and continues to be increasingly relevant as we grapple to understand and respond to the drivers of complex global challenges including migration, human security, global health, climate change, conflict and development.
Megan Norton, a graduate of this program, embodies the contemporary legacy of this field, from both the intellectual and applied perspectives. In several ways over the course of her academic program, Megan worked to help integrate the key ideas from this field to research and practice in several different arenas.
She started in the field of international education, broadly considered. In Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, Megan worked with an IC alumna who developed an interactive online game partially funded by the US State Department, designed to increase the international awareness and cultural competence of young American children. Megan implemented a pilot research program to assess the program’s impact in a public school in Anacostia, Washington DC, serving primarily low-income students of color. She presented her findings at the 2015 Comparative and International Education Society conference (Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) New Scholars)–the top academic conference in the field–to great acclaim.
In the higher education context, Megan also worked to apply intercultural relations principles and facilitation skills to support intercultural dialogue and bridge-building on AU’s campus. From Spring 2015-Spring 2016, Megan served as an intercultural dialogue facilitator with the TALK Program – American University through the International Student and Scholar Services office. She facilitated cross cultural dialogue between international and domestic AU undergraduate students.
Megan has also applied her intercultural skills to supporting the implementation and assessment of international development efforts. During summer semester 2015, she conducted research overseas with a faith-based development organization to assess cultural training and culturally-responsive program design in countries of operation.
In the corporate context, Megan works to apply theories of intercultural leadership development in support of the corporate social responsibility programs for multinational corporations.
Megan embodies the historical tradition of the IC program by building theory and engaging in the practice of intercultural relations, the field pioneered in large part by Gary Weaver and advanced by IC faculty over the years. She is the contemporary legacy of our program, both in terms of updating its relevance and in applying its concepts to current needs to effectively train and acculturate emerging and seasoned intercultural leaders globally. Megan has successfully applied concepts from the traditional intercultural relations field in new and interesting ways, including the consideration of how these theories can support the development and success of corporate social responsibility programming, faith-based international development initiatives, and the re-integration of retiring global employees to the US context.
Led by her intellectual curiosity, Megan conceptualizes and pursues her projects in a very self-directed and rigorous manner. The way she pursues the work is reflective of the key tenants of the field–she is culturally-competent, deeply thoughtful and self-reflexive. Megan is a confident woman with a laser-sharp professional trajectory and a deep command of the intercultural relations literature. She is poised to continue to become an emergent leader in this important field.”
- Dr. Amanda Taylor; American University
“What is most striking about her personality and approach to work is her enthusiasm, creativity, and excellent rapport with all of her students, especially adult learners. She shows very strong sensitivity to her learners’ needs. She is always eager to help her students and very open. Her students respond well to her expertise and her methods. She designs engaging and challenging lessons which help her students to develop various skills. She is thoughtful and careful in choosing materials and activities for her courses.”
- Regent College Director; Elblag, Poland
My TCK Mentorship
“Megan Norton brought an A-team of ATCKs which educated me on navigating jobs, relationships, and important life-decisions.”
- MuKappa International TCK Virtual Retreat participant; January 2021
“If I were to rewind a couple years, I’d know of certain traits I had and how valuable they are in my adult life. But, it wouldn’t be until [ATCK meetings hosted by you] that I’d realize they were explicable by having been a “TCK.” And I absolutely would not have been at FIGT if not for you.
Today, maybe I can explain a little bit better my ability to make fast friends with deep connection. My risk tolerance, my fascination with other parts of the world and their people. Never feeling “rooted” and on and on. I even have had new conversations with old friends who also grew up as TCKs. All this to say your influence may be a little farther reaching than you know. They also learned something about themselves.
There is no doubt that other TCKs and TCK parents will appreciate your work. You’ve taught me a bunch. Imagine if I’d learned it 25 years ago!”
- Adult Third Culture Kid Male
“Your presentation on helping TCKs transition to university was so helpful! In fact, I would like to submit a proposal to speak about it at the CIS-EARCOS conference in Bangkok in September. I’m a university counsellor at an international school and a TCK myself. Discovering that there are universities out there that distinguish between international student and TCK was a real ‘ah ha’ moment for me. I think this is so important and I hope that by presenting on it at this conference more universities will think to do it.”
– Families in Global Transition Conference 2019 University Counselor; Bangkok, Thailand