Small boy, big world: Freshman Conall Crossan has lived in seven countries

Another picture of the Crossan family visiting a mosque in Bahrain. They are seen here with a close friend.

photo by provided by Karen Crossan

Another picture of the Crossan family visiting a mosque in Bahrain. They are seen here with a close friend.

Freshman Conall Crossan was only 2 when he moved to a foreign country. Because of his dad’s job with Siemens, he had to move from power plant site to power plant site, and this took him from South America to the Middle East.

Crossan and his parents were both born in the United States, but they have a dual citizenship with Ireland. He has lived in Ireland two separate times, once when he was 2 for about a year and the second time for two years when he was 6.

He has lived the longest in the United States, in total, for almost eight years. While Crossan has lived in most countries for under a year, he lived in Argentina and Ireland for over a year, so he experienced more things in those locations.

“My favorite place has been here because of the weather, my friends and stability,” Crossan said. “I also started swimming here, something which is now a big part of my life.”

He attended school for a few years in Ireland and in Argentina, where the school systems operate very differently. There were different curricula and learning standards, which made it hard to adjust. There was also a distinct language barrier, which interfered with his education.

“I remember always standing out from everyone because I could not understand some of what they were saying,” Crossan said. “It was hard going to school in different countries.”

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Canada and Germany are some other countries that Crossan has lived in. Each of these has been temporary, ranging  from a few months to a year in length.

He enjoyed living in Argentina and going through their school system as an outsider. He saw things from a different perspective and was able to explore different cultures.

“It was very interesting to speak very little Spanish and experience their school system,” Crossan said. “All I knew how to say was ‘No hablo español.’”

Much of Crossan’s family lives in Ireland, so leaving there was the most difficult. His favorite memory there was a zip line park called Loch Key, which he used to visit with his friends and family.

Adapting to the other cultures and languages was a challenge in most places. Ireland was a little easier because a large percentage of the population speaks English, but in places like Bahrain and the UAE, it was not as easy.

He lived in the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. In both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the official spoken language was Arabic, one of the hardest languages to learn. Crossan does not remember much of it because he was so young and lived there for only under a year.

“It was hard leaving my friends so often,” Crossan said. “[But] being able to live in the middle of so many different cultures was one of the good things [of moving].”