The ups and downs of constant change
When a family moves away from their home country, it is often the kids who take it the hardest. Leaving friends behind and trying to adapt to new environments year in and year out isn’t always easy. On the other hand, it can also be exciting and fun to make new friends, learn new languages and try new things. tbjkids sat down with four students from Beijing BISS International School to discuss the pros and cons of moving around the world.
How do you feel about moving?
Gavrilo: My dad works for the Olympics so we have to move every two years. So far I’ve lived in four different places: Serbia, Athens in Greece, Turin in Italy, then Beijing. At the end of this year I’ll be going to live in Barcelona. At first, moving around was pretty hard. I’ll stay in one place for such a short period of time that I don’t have much chance to make really close friends. But I got used to it.
Alex: For me it’s the opposite because I lived in one place for a long time before I moved to Beijing, and now I’ve been living in Beijing for six years. I just wait for my friends to leave. A lot of my friends are like Gavrilo, moving around every two years, so I don’t get much of a chance to get close to them. But I got used to it after a while, too.
Frena: This is my first time moving to another country. I’ve lived in other countries, but I was too young to remember. When I first came to Beijing I wasn’t so happy because I left my friends, but now I’ve made new ones. Although here, a lot of people are leaving too, which is hard, but I guess I can handle it.
Ksenia: This is my second time moving. The first time wasn’t so hard because I moved to a place close to my home country, where the language and the people weren’t so different from my own. But when I moved to Beijing it was pretty hard, because it’s a completely different culture. Besides, I can’t see my friends back home very often.
Do you still keep in touch with your friends back home?
Gavrilo: It’s not too hard to keep in touch because you can e-mail each other and see each other through web cameras. I still keep in touch with many of my friends from the other schools.
Alex: The downside of it is that even though you can keep in touch with them, once you’re making new friends in new places, you automatically bond with the new people that you can see and interact with on a regular basis, so you end up growing distant to your friends back home.
Frena: I’m not as close to my friends as I used to be because I don’t see them or hang out with them. When I talk to them online I just tell them how life is in Beijing, they tell me how Ethiopia is, and that’s about it. You can’t tell them every detail in your life because they won’t understand. They’re not here.
If you could choose, would you move or stay in your home country?
Gavrilo: I would choose to move because it’s fun and exciting. I wouldn’t know half as much as what I know now if I didn’t move around. But I’d probably choose to have some of my friends move with me.
Frena: I think I’d choose to stay because when I came to Beijing, I realized how much I love my country.
Ksenia: I wouldn’t choose to move either because I was really sad to leave my friends when I came to Beijing. My friends back home are starting to forget about me.
Alex: I’d probably move back to the States, but it’s fun to meet new people. Like Gavrilo said, it’s best if you can have some friends move with you so you wouldn’t be in a new environment all alone.