Christopher O’Shaughnessy: Third Culture Kids and Cross-Cultural Skills

The cross-cultural skills that third culture kids often develop are no longer “a bonus benefit,” but a requirement to be successful in an interconnected world.
Author Christopher O’Shaughnessy was a third culture kid himself, growing up in an family from the United States living in England.

When Christopher O’Shaughnessy was in second grade, his family, who is from the United States, moved from the small village where they had been living in England to Las Vegas, Nevada. Though both places speak the same language and the cultures are fairly similar, there was a significant period of adjustment, and he found it difficult to make friends and understand people.

With this firsthand experience as a third culture kid (TCK), O’Shaugnessey wrote the book Arrivals, Departures, and the Adventures In-Between about TCKs and their cross-cultural experiences. Here, he talks about TCKs, the expanded definition of “third culture,” the importance of developing cross-cultural skills, and how to make useful connections.  •

(Read the International Enrollment Management column, “Third Culture Kids’ Contributions to Campus Internationalization.”)


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