Your Cultural Awareness Checklist For 2018

Today’s global market is more dynamic than ever before. Start-up companies are emerging every day, social media can now connect a local small or medium-size enterprise to customers around the world, and mergers are so common that the business landscape is changing on an annual basis in some sectors.

If we look around us today, we can see that due to the internet, migration patterns and new markets that keep popping up, we are experiencing a whole new world. The intersections of markets, customers, ideas, races, religions and worldviews are shifting and influencing our priorities today and will continue to influence them tomorrow.

Essentially, leaders of today and tomorrow must know how to succeed with all these differences. The world is changing and that’s a reality that we all have to deal with so instead of resisting, we must seek to understand so the we can leverage our differences the right way.

How do we balance all these differences and divides? How do we become better bridges among the divides all around us? I believe it is by committing to being culturally intelligent and culturally aware. That’s why I put together this list for you to help out with that. I tried to put something for every style of learning here.


YouTube Shows

  • MTV Decoded: MTV Decoded is a weekly series now on MTV where the fearless Franchesca Ramsey tackles race, pop culture, and other uncomfortable things, in funny and thought-provoking ways. Half sketch comedy, half vlog. New episodes every Wednesday.

  • BigThink: This collection brings you videos featuring some of today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers.

  • The Grapevine: Not your parent's television show, The Grapevine is a fresh and innovative take on the panel style discussion. The show places the topics of today in the hands and minds of young game changers, artists, cultural innovators, and professionals to dissect what the impact is for this generation.

  • Intelligent Channel: The Intelligent Channel, an original YouTube partner, presents high-quality enlightening programming with thought leaders in entertainment & education. INT programs are produced by Intelligent Television in New York City and feature new documentary films, innovative lectures, top-flight conversations with thought leaders & entertainment celebrities, unique archival footage from universities, museums, & libraries, and more!

  • MinaTVafrica: MinaTVafrica, is a Lifestyle/Reality WebTV, which focuses on the lifestyles of Africans home and abroad. Watch out for refreshing TV Shows, Newscasting, Reality TV shows, films, and more...



  • Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research: The mission of SIETAR USA is to promote and facilitate intercultural education, training and research through professional interchange

  • Cultural Intelligence Center: They provide research-based, innovative solutions for assessing, predicting, and improving cultural intelligence (CQ)

  • Cultural Detective: Cultural Detective is an extremely useful tool for those committed to developing intercultural competence. Why is it so effective? Learners are suitably challenged at every stage of their cultural-competency development. It is an excellent choice to use with mixed groups of learners at various stages of development.

  • Argonaut: Teaches you how to succeed internationally. They provide online solutions for the development of intercultural competence, and being the best in the world at that. They have been pioneers in this field since 2002, and are now firmly established as the leading cultural assessment and learning platform, recognized by universities, major corporations, NGOs and renowned public institutions across the world.

  • Cross Cultural Solutions: Excellence is a driving mantra for Cross-Cultural Solutions. First and foremost, the CCS model produces real difference for developing communities and empowers local home grown nonprofits, fostering sustainability. CCS holds itself accountable to measures, feedback, and transparency standards. Their program is a fantastic "on ramp" to Peace Corps, public service or creating one's own social enterprise for global results.

  • The Culture Mastery: They build bridges between corporate and national cultures. Essentially, expanding the horizon of global leaders. Their motto is “only when you master the transition between cultures will you be successful in global business.



  • Leading with cultural Intelligence By David Livermore: Business today is global--and success requires a new set of skills. But not to worry, whether you're negotiating with vendors in Asia, exploring potential markets in Africa, or leading a diverse team at home, you don't have to master the nuances of every culture you encounter. With Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, you can lead effectively in any context.

  • Braving the Wilderness By Brene Brown: A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the number one best-selling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection.

  • The Inclusion Revolution Is Now By Maura Robinson: Take an innovative approach to a climate of change within your workplace or organization with this guidebook on diversity and inclusion. Author Maura G. Robinson, an authority on diversity and inclusion, has been helping companies create systemic process of change for more than 20 years. In The Inclusion Revolution Is Now, she explores how you can create an environment of inclusion where all employees are accountable for their behaviors and able to work together to accomplish the organization's goals - ensuring that employees willingly practice inclusion regardless of personal beliefs.

  • Global Dexterity By Andy Molinsky: What does it mean to be a global worker and a true “citizen of the world” today? It goes beyond merely acknowledging cultural differences. In reality, it means you are able to adapt your behavior to conform to new cultural contexts without losing your authentic self in the process. Not only is this difficult, it’s a frightening prospect for most people and something completely outside their comfort zone. But managing and communicating with people from other cultures is an essential skill today. Most of us collaborate with teams across borders and cultures on a regular basis, whether we spend our time in the office or out on the road. What’s needed now is a critical new skill, something author Andy Molinsky calls global dexterity.

  • Overcoming Bias By Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman: Everybody's biased. We all harbor unconscious assumptions that get in the way of our good intentions and keep us from working harmoniously and effectively with other people. In our increasingly diverse society this can be a real stumbling block. Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman - consultants who also happen to be a biracial couple - argue that ultimately the only way to really overcome bias is to focus our energy on building relationships. We need to extend our circle of trust to include people who are different from us in many ways - race, religion, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, socioeconomic class, and ability. These differences can enrich our lives and expand our perspectives.

  • Born A Crime By Trevor Noah: Trevor Noah, one of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars and host of The Daily Show, tells his wild coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. In this Audible Studios production, Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.


Organizations that make you feel at home anywhere in the world

  • InterNations: Their motto is “connecting global minds” and that’s exactly what they do. I have met some great friends with this organization.

  • Meetup: Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do more of what they want to do in life. It is organized around one simple idea: when we get together and do the things that matter to us, we’re at our best. And that’s what Meetup does. It brings people together to do, explore, teach and learn the things that help them come alive.


Magazines/Blogs To Read To Open Your Mind

  • Global Living Magazine: Global Living Magazine is a consumer publication catering to the expatriate community, worldwide. Global Living Magazine features exclusive content for expats by expats, including articles on living and working abroad, expatriation and repatriation, Third Culture Kids, culture shock and adaptation, international business, world-class cities, travel, and more.

  • Communication Across Boundaries: Communicating Across Boundaries was started in January of 2011 by Marilyn Gardner. She had come back from a relief trip to Pakistan and was restless to find a voice. She began with a couple of posts and it has grown exponentially since then.

  • UYD Media (started by yours truly): UYD Media is a media and digital content creation platform by the Third Culture Kid, Global Nomad, and youth community and those who love them.

  • Andy Molinsky: Andy Molinsky is a Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School. Andy helps people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important, but challenging, tasks in work and life. His work has been featured in HBR, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, NPR and Voice of America.

  • Culture Brett Parry is an Australian born interculturalist. He applies his 20 years of conducting business across four continents as well as utilizing various individual and team assessment tools to support the cross-cultural success success of clients he serves.



  • As Told By Nomads (hosted by yours truly): As Told By Nomads features interviews with thought leaders, entrepreneurs, nomads, Third Culture Kids, and entrepreneurs discussing what it takes to be global leaders.


  • Closer Than They Appear: How do you go forward when the past is breathing down your neck? Carvell Wallace talks to Americans grappling with the state of the union while trying to reconcile his own family's fractured history. If America is an estranged family, this show is our awkward holiday dinner.

  • Code Switch: Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.

Left Leaning

  • Politically Re-Active: Comedians and longtime friends W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu have a shared curiosity about politics and our constantly changing electoral landscape.

  • Pod Save America: Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.

Right Leaning/Independent

  • The Ben Shapiro Show: This podcast is a hard-hitting, irreverent, most insightful, and savagely irreverent conservative podcast that addresses politics and culture.

  • Common Sense with Dan Carlin: Common Sense with Dan Carlin is an independent look at politics and current events from popular New Media personality Dan Carlin.

History Podcasts

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. The phrasing itself certainly is catchy. People who don't learn from their mistakes don't mature.

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class: Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class in this podcast by Holly is an editor at HowStuffWorks and a co host of Stuff You Missed in History Class. Her true historical passion is fashion from all eras. Tracy’s love of history started to grow in college, with four required humanities courses that gave her a more holistic way to approach the past and how it affects the present.

  • Revisionist History: Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell's journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past—an event, a person, an idea, even a song—and asks whether we got it right the first time. From Panoply Media. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.

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Language Learning Platforms


  • Duolingo: Duolingo is the world's most popular way to learn a language. It's 100% free, fun and science-based. Practice online on or on the apps!

  • Busuu: Busuu is the world's largest social network for language learning. Through online and apps, the business offers free and premium paid-for access to audio-visual courses for 12 languages. The site sells materials from its partners, such as grammar reference books from Collins. Uniquely, the platform encourages collaborative learning by offering users the unique opportunity to learn the language and practice their listening, writing, reading and speaking with assistance from a rapidly growing community of native speakers. In this way, every busuu user is both student of a foreign language and tutor of their own ‘mother tongue’.

  • Memrise: Memrise is a user-generated learning platform which uses flashcards as memory aids. It specialises in language learning, but also offers content on a wide range of other subjects. Memrise has more than 150 language courses across 25 languages. The app has over 20 million registered users. Memrise has been profitable since late 2016.

  • FluentU: Tired of boring textbooks? FluentU brings language learning to life with real-world videos! Learn Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Japanese, English, Russian, Korean, and Italian with FluentU.

  • Rype: Rype is the language platform for busy people. You can book daily lessons with handpicked professional teachers, on your time.

SIDE NOTE: I used this platform to get to conversational Spanish in 6 months

  • Babbel: Babbel is a language learning app and e-learning platform, available in various languages since January 2008. Fourteen languages are currently offered: Dutch, Danish, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish and Turkish.


Tayo Rockson

Tayo Rockson is a storyteller, cultural translator, and brand strategist for change-makers on a mission to use his difference to make a difference.  He is a 4x TEDx speaker, the CEO of UYD Management, and the host of the As Told by Nomads podcast. In addition to that, he's been named a "Top 40 Millennial Influencer" by New Theory magazine. His book Use Your Difference To Make A Difference is based on how to connect and communicate in a cross-cultural world.

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector