Most of the clients that School Choice deals with are trying to figure out schooling abroad for their young children. Their concerns tend to be limited in scope to the near-future: how to ease the transition, what school their child will go to, who their child will be friends with, whether or not their child will be granted admission to the top schools, etc. When the scope of their concerns does include the future, they tend to be worried about, for instance, what colleges their new school sends students to.
More interesting for me is the bigger concern of how their education and time abroad will have changed their children as they become young adults. While academics think about this issue, it (understandably) isn’t usually on the minds of families in transition. That said, it’s one of the most exciting parts of an expat experience, and one that parents should at least be aware of.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken to a number of recent college graduates who spent time abroad as they were growing up. Hopefully, their reflections on their time abroad and the ways in which it shaped who they are now will give you a new perspective from which to view your expatriation.
I spoke to four recent college grads who had had vastly different expat experiences.
- Alex, who just graduated from Northwestern University, moved from the U.S. to London for Kindergarten and remained there until he graduated high school.
- Brittany, who just graduated from Syracuse University, was an American who grew up in Haiti, Jordan, London, Virginia, and Indonesia.
- Jessie, who just graduated from Swarthmore College, lived in Paris for two years in middle school, then returned to the U.S.
- Andres, who just graduated from Swarthmore College, studied at international school in Venezuela, even though he was a native of the area. His experience at an American college gave him perspective on the benefits of his international education.
Next week, in Part 2 of this article, read about what these four young adults had to say in regards to the influence that their time abroad had on them!