Meet Sam Otter, a Third Culture Kid who grew up all over Europe and the United States before going to college.
College was the first time Otter was able to stay in one place and create a sense of home, belonging, and quality relationships that he knew would not be forgotten or gone after only a couple years.
“College was a shock to me at first, because it was the first time that it was my decision if I wanted to stay here or not, and now for the first time, I get the choice to stay here after I graduate or to move elsewhere.” Moving elsewhere wouldn’t be hard for Otter as he has done it his whole life up until now, but constantly moving around has made him want to stay in one spot for a while. Otter grew up as a young child moving around the world in places like Germany and Italy as well as California and Arkansas in the United States. Some strengths that he felt from moving around were the ability to easily connect with people, being used to change and things being thrown at him, and always being adaptable to surroundings no matter where he landed or the circumstances of the situation.
As there are a lot of great things that come from moving around at a young age, there were definitely struggles for him growing up. “I felt like I never had a home base or really an identity to anywhere that I went.” One of the hardest questions Otter has to answer to this day is: Where are you from?
“I don’t feel like I am from one place, I am from all over and that is a really cool but a confusing thing,” Otter stated when telling me about engaging with peers that do not know what it is like to grow up and experience new places.
Some people thought that Sam was weird once he got to college because of the adopted traditions that he took from around the world. But that never stopped him from educating and teaching people about the cool things he got to do and learn.
Living in Fort Collins currently has taught him a lot about others and the culture of the kids that grew up in the same place their whole live. “As different I feel from most of the people here, I have fun sharing what my childhood was like and educating people on my dad’s job.” Otter wants to one day do the same with his kids and show them the world as they grow up. “I would say that there were challenges, but the positives of my experience outweigh the negatives, and I would do it all over again if I have the chance.”
Being a third culture kid has much more to it than what meets the eye, taking the time to learn and understand the culture is important to connect and understand those that are different from yourself.