Comparative study of Third Culture Individuals (TCI) and non-Third Culture Individuals in relation to Cultural Intelligence

  • Syarifah Muthia Nurjihan Swiss German University
  • Sharon Schumacher Swiss German University
Keywords: Third Culture Individuals, Cultural Intelligence, Comparative Study


Third Culture Individuals (TCIs) are individuals who spent a significant part of their developmental years outside of their passport country, often associated with having cultural intelligence and intercultural communication competence. While TCIs are naturally exposed to various cultures as a result of their mobility, non-TCIs do not necessarily share the same traits and experiences growing up. However due to globalization this may no longer be the case and may perhaps be the reason why despite the differences, TCI and non-TCIs are similar in some way. TCIs are known for their ability to be accepting of different cultures; a characteristic often associated with cultural intelligence, from this it can be assumed that TCIs have a higher level of Cultural Intelligence than non-TCIs. So far there hasn’t been sufficient research regarding TCIs in general, which also applies in the
Indonesian context. This study compares the level of Cultural Intelligence of both Indonesian TCIs and non-TCIs through a quantitate research using the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) scale that
measures four dimensions; metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioral. Data in this research were gathered from an online survey, from a total of 140 Indonesian TCI and non-TCI respondents that are currently living in Indonesia. Results showed that TCI samples have a higher level of Cultural Intelligence than non-TCIs, with motivational CQ being the dimension scored highest for both TCI and non-TCI samples.