Moving In

An individual’s life can change as they move around the world. As people relocate from their place of birth to a new location, they face different experiences. Most times, some challenges can cause this movement to be demanding.

At times, the news of leaving an old environment can create a sense of excitement. Children, in most cases, get cheerful when they know they will be traveling to a new place. Sophomore, Jemima Mwangi expresses how she felt getting the news of her first relocation.

“The first time I moved was when I was eight years old. I recall how my parents shared the good news with me when I came back from school. I felt so happy when my mom told me we would be moving to the United Kingdom. I was born and raised in Kenya. I never had the opportunity to travel to any country in my continent, so when I heard the good news about living in Europe, it made me blissful,” said Mwangi.

The structure of an individual’s original life can be disrupted when starting a new one. Due to the difference in culture between Sweden and the United States, Junior, Emma Kovacevic explains how her life became independent.

“I had my life planned with my friends and family, but it all changed when I relocated. Before I moved to the U.S., I relied on my family for most things. I had to be more self-independent since my family lives miles away. I had to rely a lot more on myself in making decisions. Although it was scary, I had to trust myself and believe I could do it,” said Kovacevic.

Moving to a new country means moving to a new school and environment. Based on what a student may have seen or heard about the schools in their area, they visualize what their new school might be like, even though it isn’t accurate. Mwangi describes the expectations of her new school.

“I imagined high school to be exactly like High School Musical. I expected a lot of cliques because that is what I watch on television. I thought I would see rude cheerleaders and jocks or get bullied by a random popular girl. The media pictured this image of high school in my head, which made me imagine high school stereotypically,” said Mwangi.

Adapting to a new place can be difficult, especially when someone has gotten accustomed to their previous environment. Sometimes, teenagers and children experience social challenges as they haven’t adjusted to the societal social cues of their new country. Junior, Emma Atceli, explains the social difficulties she encountered.

“I have a shy personality. I don’t have a friendly face, so it was hard to make friends. Fortunately, there are other exchange students, but there are very few. People don’t even know that I’m a foreign exchange student. Sometimes, when I want to talk or don’t understand something, I’m just scared that people might think I’m stupid. So, I don’t know. It’s hard to make friends, and I just feel lonely sometimes,” said Atceli.

Moving into new surroundings doesn’t only impact people socially but also emotionally. As people grow in a particular environment, they gradually connect, which makes it emotionally stressful when they need to move. Atceli describes the emotional stress she personally experienced.

“When I came here, I left my family in my home country (Italy). I had been homesick for a long time. Most times, I cry when everything feels too much. Due to the time difference, it’s hard to phone my family at any random time. In most cases, we have to schedule what time is convenient to talk on the phone,” said Atceli.

The changing environment might not be pleasant, but it can have an admirable impact on someone’s character and mentality. Junior, Inez Barrilet elaborates on the impact on her life.

“As a person who lived in a foreign country without his parents, I became more independent. I became the only one doing all the financial stuff. I learned how to speak a language that wasn’t French. I became more social and am happy about that positive impact,” said Barillet.

The migration of places comes with its cons and pros. From the excitement of moving into a new area to the challenges of adapting to the environment. Nevertheless, it can allow someone to become broad-minded and open to diverse experiences.