Teens, Ashlei and Elizabeth share their experiences living abroad
There might come a time when you need to move to another country because of your parents’ work, family, or another reason. The thought of living abroad might seem daunting or scary. You’ll have to leave your city, home, and likely your friends and some family members, too. But, living abroad can also give you some amazing experiences and adventures.
Today, the Chronicles Crew is talking to two girls who know all about this. Fifteen year old Ashlei and twelve year old Elizabeth lived abroad for three years. They recently moved back to the USA, but they’ve come home with some new ideas, thoughts, and many stories to share. Read on for a glimpse into their time abroad and learn some coping skills if moving away is in your future.
How old were you when you first moved abroad and where did you settle?
Ashlei: I just turned 12 when we first moved. We settled in Stuttgart, Germany, which was a beautiful place.
Elizabeth: Nine years old: In Stuttgart, Germany
What were some of the major adjustments you had to make when you arrived?
Ashlei: Language and weirdly enough the food. Not that it was disgusting, but the food was so healthy unlike the artificial stuff from where I lived before. The language part was easier since I took German in school, so understanding things wasn’t as hard.
Elizabeth: Being able to adjust to the time zone and language.
What surprised you most about living in another country?
Ashlei:I think what surprised me the most was the traveling and how all the other countries were so close to each other. It was just so easy to get there by train, plane, or even cruises.
Elizabeth: The food was amazing. Being able to go anywhere on the base with my friends when I wanted to. And doing soccer. The highway signs were blue. They called a highway an autobahn.
You recently moved back to the USA. How has the adjustment been?
Ashlei: I think moving back to the US was harder than going abroad. I’ve had to watch my diet more since I’m allergic to red food dye, which they never used in Germany. Also, I had to readjust to hearing everything in English without needing to translate. But so far so good.
Elizabeth: Easy and difficult. I got adjusted to the time zone the day we moved here. But….I had a hard time finding friends because my soccer team girls and I didn’t have anything in common so it was awkward.
How to you feel living abroad helped shape part of your teen/tween years?
Ashlei: Living abroad definitely helped me become more cultured and confident in myself. I feel like I’m less likely to care about people’s opinions, because having to always make new friends or play with new teams has helped. I could also say I’m a bit wiser than some kids when it comes to certain things. Just from being a lot of places. It kind of helped me transition from being too close minded. It also taught me to be more independent, especially since a lot of my old friends from before I moved stopped talking to me. So when that happened, I learned to cherish the time we did have.
Elizabeth: Well I learned that most people you’ll meet won’t be your friends forever because they were mean or fake.
If other teens are about to move abroad for work or family reasons, what advice do you have for them?
Ashlei: Don’t be mad at the move––embrace it. It may seem like the end of the world because you are leaving your friends, and in all honesty, maybe only one will keep in contact. I know that sounds bad, but once you get to this place with more people who have also moved and understand you, things will be so much easier. Plus if you move again, these new friends will definitely stay in contact. Definitely travel, because I know teens these days love pics for their Instagram and you will get a ton!
Elizabeth: Spend as much time with your friends as you can, eat Chick-fil-A as much as possible, be familiar with the language in the country you are moving to, buy a nice camera with tons of space so you can take tons of pictures if you travel. When you get orders to leave, spend a lot of time with your friends and not inside on your couch watching TV. Plus keep in touch with your old friends. I didn’t and we lost contact so now we don’t talk.
Thank you, Ashlei and Elizabeth, for sharing your story and your helpful tips. We wish you the best and much success!