Things I've Learned as an Expat Child
I moved to Amsterdam when I was 8 years old, meaning I've lived here half my life. These are some things I've learned, growing up as an expat.
- •There's always someone elseAs an expat, I go to an International school with hundreds of other expats. This means that people move around and leave, constantly. As a consequence, I have become more and more able, over time, to handle loss and it's made me excellent at making new friends.
- •Social media is your best friendBecause people move away all the time, and you're away from friends in your hometown and family etc, being on top of your social media game is very important and it keeps you connected to all the people in your life.
- •Don't be scared to speak the languageI never had this problem, but lots my friends purposely tried to avoid learning the language because they were convinced they'd be moving away soon. But, taking the opportunity to learn a new language is always a great idea. I am English, but I speak fluent Dutch:
- •Travel is a giftThe ability to explore these different parts of the world is amazing. The friends I've made here come from all over, and I often am able to visit their home countries with them.
- •Sometimes it's hardMoving sucks. You have to leave people behind and make a new life, it's damaging and depressing. But it's also exciting, and I wouldn't trade my living in The Netherlands for anything.
- •IB Schools are your saviorIf you move to a foreign country, parents may be tempted to put you in the regular schools in order to help you learn the language faster, DON'T LET THEM. International Schools are filled to the brink with people in the same boat as you are, and it's such a gift to go through the experience with others who are going through it or who have been through it too. Those bonds develop into such meaningful relationships.
- •Never let the language barrier hold you backMy school doesn't have sports centers and all that, so you have to join clubs in the city in order to do sport. Join out-of-school sports!!!!! I play field hockey and tennis, and I was terrified at first to get started, especially with hockey. But, this helped me speak better Dutch and even though those girls on my team and I never became best friends, I formed bonds with them and I will always be proud of myself for how much I reached out of my comfort zone.