I am a Child of the World

815 Words4 Pages
I am a Child of the World

One of the questions I was asked most frequently when I arrived at college was "where are you from?" Unlike most students, I could not quickly answer this question. Whereas many students have spent most of their lives in one or two areas, my feeling of "home" was not that simple. I was born in Canada and lived there until I was seven; then my family moved to Belgium. After five years in Belgium, we moved to Minnesota, where I spent my high school years. As I left for college, my parents moved to Switzerland and have since divorced. Currently, my mom lives in Minnesota, and my dad resides in Liechtenstein. I am still a Canadian citizen, but have permanent residency status in the United States. While these events could have led to a confused identity and feeling of homelessness, I believe that my experiences have given me a unique perspective on the world and an ability to feel "at home" wherever I may be.

The experience of living in Europe was one of the most important aspects of my personal development, as exposure to different at a young age gave me a broad worldview that I would not have gained by staying in one place. Daily life in a foreign country teaches one to have patience, respect, and tolerance for people who speak a different language and have different customs. Cultural differences can make simple tasks such as going to the grocery store difficult at first, but over time my family adapted to the norms of Belgian culture. The opportunity to travel throughout Europe also gave me a unique set of experiences that have stayed with me. After all, how many ten-year-olds from Canada have stood in awe of the Acropolis or felt the somberness of the war cemeteries at Normandy? These experiences, combined with my Canadian heritage, have provided an important backdrop for developing a sense of respect for those who are different, a sense that I have found lacking in American society.

While my experiences abroad have contributed a great deal to my personal growth, they have also made it difficult to identify with one place as home. Minnesota became the closest thing to home after spending my teenage years there, but my parents' divorce during my sophomore year of college further tested my ability to maintain a sense of identity.
Open Document