a welcoming campus

Chris Stauffer, third culture kid and current EMU student
“EMU’s international awareness, coupled with its diverse student body, really helped me feel at home and encouraged me to further develop my cultural perceptions.”

Christopher Stauffer
2012 digital media graduate
14 years in South Africa

professors who care

Many EMU professors are global nomads who have not only lived and worked overseas for long periods of time, but were third culture kids or missionary kids themselves. Some faculty TCKs are Lester Zook, Nancy Heisey and Matt Siderhurst.

Third Culture Kids at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia

Global Nomads:
Third Culture Kids

“Third culture kids” (TCK) are global nomads who grew up in a culture other than their parents, and who often do not feel as if they have a culture of their own. Many TCKs feel at home anywhere, while others struggle to find a sense of home.

Missionary kids are a subset of TCKs. They are children whose parents work in the mission field, for the government, in international business, for the military, etc.

Third culture kids deal with a variety of issues as they enter college. For some, there is a lot to process! They ask:

  • “Where do I belong?”
  • “Where is ‘home?’”
  • “What is my culture?”
  • “How do I put together my experiences internationally with a life in the United States?”

Students at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia

What you’ll find at EMU

  • A student club and support network of other TCKs. (Faculty members Jim and Lori Leaman are advisors.)
  • Faculty, staff and community members who have lived and served overseas, uniquely equipped to mentor. Many are third culture kids themselves.
  • A special first-year orientation program just for TCKs and missionary kids, led by the director of international student services.
  • A cross-cultural curriculum where you can study internationally with peers or earn credit for past international experience.
  • Classrooms in which your unique perspective is encouraged and valued.
  • Opportunities to pray and discern God’s calling for your career path. About 40 religious groups are represented on campus. (Mennonite students account for about 40 percent of enrollment.)
  • A diverse student body! More than 20 percent of students are multicultural students and over 10 percent have international backgrounds.


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