Moving Across Countries

Amelia Lock, Staff Writer

Imagine being moved away from everything you had ever known, being taken to a new place with a new house, a new school and new people. This is what it is like to move countries. Karina Patel and Zenia Amrolia both know this feeling all too well.Patel, former Prairie Star Middle School student and current resident of Singapore, has lived in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece, Kansas and Singapore, all in the span of 13 years. Her most recent move was last year when she moved to Singapore for her father’s work.

“I move around because of my father’s job, which is the most common factor for third culture kids like me or just kids who move around a lot in general,” Patel said. “Promotions are difficult to resist, and sometimes it’s the perfect thing for your family.”

Patel said it has always been hard for her to be up-rooted, and the moving doesn’t get any easier. She said time is really the only thing that helps her get over it.

“It’s never easy to adjust well right after you move because you aren’t in the right mindset,” Patel said. “Once you get over it, as I have begun to do, you feel better about your new surroundings. In the beginning, it’s absolutely terrible.”

Patel said she has yet to find two places that are the same; at times, the schools and cultures aren’t even relatable. In Singapore, her school goes by a whole different system than what she was previously used to.

“It’s called International Baccalaureate (IB), and it’s a lot more rigorous than both the British and American systems,” Patel said. “The IB grading scale ranges from 1 to 7, which is difficult to get used to after using letter grading and percents. There are also specific IB teaching aspects and methods that are different and make together for a very new learning experience altogether.”

Moving can really affect all of your friendships and make it really difficult to maintain contact with everyone, Patel said. She said you really have to want it and work hard to keep up with everyone, especially with the time differences.

“I don’t keep in touch with friends from Greece, however I’ve been maintaining contact with my friends in Kansas very well,” Patel said. “I’m pleased with this because I talk to them almost every day, and it makes my new life here in Singapore that much more bearable. I keep in touch with them through social media apps and video chatting.”

Language hasn’t been a huge barrier for Patel. She went to international schools in Denmark and Greece but still picked up bits of the language as she hopes to learn in Singapore.

“I learned Greek and Danish as well, as a part of school curriculum,” Patel said. “I’m not fluent, and it’s difficult to keep it up when you have nowhere to practice the language. I had the option to learn Mandarin at school in Singapore, but I decided to continue with Spanish, though I hope to pick up a little Mandarin and Malay throughout my years here.”

Patel said that she has decided to make the best of her situation. She tries to keep an open mind and be kind every time she moves.

Freshman Zenia Amrolia was born in India and lived in Canada until she moved here at age 7. However, she said she thinks her family has settled down fairly well here and will probably be staying here for awhile.

“I do not keep in touch with my friends from Canada because I was seven when we moved to the U.S, and not seeing each other in person is hard,” said Amrolia. “I visit India every year, so I keep in touch with my friends there.”

Amrolia wasn’t really affected by her move, because of her young age both times she moved.

Amrolia said, “Because I was so young when we moved, it wasn’t all that difficult to learn English,” Amrolia. “Also, at the time, I only knew how to speak a little bit of Gujarati.”

Both times Amrolia moved were due to her father receiving promotions in his company.

Amrolia said, “We moved to Canada because my father was offered to be president of his company there, and to the U.S. because of his work again.”

Amrolia’s younger brother was left relatively unaffected because he was only 4 when they moved to the United States. Amrolia said her brother was somewhat of a social butterfly and that it wouldn’t have been very hard anyway.

“I never went to school in India because we moved when I was 2, but in Canada I went to a private nursery for preschool and kindergarten,” Amrolia said. “Then when I moved into first grade, I attended a public elementary school. My brother attended the same preschool; however, we moved before he hit grade school.”

Amrolia said she has been left relatively unaffected by this experience, along with her brother. She suspects that it has something to do with the fact that she was so young for both of her family’s moves.

Even though Karina Patel and Zenia Amrolia both have moved countries multiple times, they said they wouldn’t change it because it has made them better people overall. Patel said

“I’m glad to have experienced this because it’s become one of my own habits now is to smile at random strangers. I feel I’ve become more of a talker, listener, smiler [and] just a better person overall.”