Looking back along the journey of expatriate life I now see the benefits and advantages life experiences gave our children. As young adults now I can see that through the opportunity to live in five countries throughout their childhood and teenage life, including their home country my children are indeed ‘global citizens’.
Young adults who are open-minded, compassionate, cultured individuals not because they read it in a book but because they’ve lived it. They grew up in countries where they were the minority, they were the different ones. They stood out because of their hair colour, their skin colour and their accent and it is because of this I believe they are the ones who aren’t afraid to be different. They aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd and believe in themselves and stand up for what they believe in.
Some say they are old for their time. They are not, but they have had such a rich experience of life to date- some experiences they do not even remember that their outlook on family, life and education has been moulded through real life experiences that others would read only about in National Geographic and Wikipedia. Their friends are not only from the places that they have lived, but they are scattered around the world as people have moved back to their home countries, or traveled to other parts of the globe on different continents. So much so that if they went anywhere in the world, they would probably know someone who lived there, had been there on a contract, who had friends there who could give advice or help should they need.
This gift of travel, the gift of living in other countries is something which has moulded our children forever, and while some people thought we were mad to have children living so far away from the comforts of home, I believe without knowing it, it has made them who they are and I am so thankful for the journey, the people we have met along the way and the tremendous experiences we have had. For those of you embarking on a journey overseas, with the right mindset and the willingness to open your heart to others you too will experience the joy and enlightenment of living away from home. You will miss your family and your friends and the beauty of the country you will leave, but you will learn to appreciate them all the more when you return for holidays or repatriate. You will never forget the memories along the way.