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My Experience Growing Up Abroad

Growing up I lived abroad until I was 11-years-old. My family decided to settle in England so that my brothers and I could study GCSE and A levels so that we would have more opportunities to succeed in later life, such as applying for university or jobs. Prior to this, we lived in Cairo, Trinidad, Brazil and America before finally settling in rural Hampshire.


I am so grateful that we experienced travelling at a young age. I believe this has enabled me to become a more outgoing and social person. Also, I am willing to try new things and am very accepting of other people, as from a young age we were immersed in exciting cultures and places where we simply had to adapt. My first memory of growing up abroad begins in Trinidad as I was only a baby in Cairo. I recall being told that we couldn’t play near the road or away from my parent’s vantage point, as it was such a dangerous place. Even in the evenings, my parents were not permitted to go out without a chaperone, and we had to be child-minded by a person my father’s company had pre-approved. It was a pretty unconventional upbringing, especially as lots we did had to be double and triple checked for safety. Regardless, we still have some fun memories and stories from growing up in other countries.


My favourite place to live was Brazil. I became more outgoing and loved learning Portuguese. As children, my brothers and I picked up second languages quite easily, in comparison to my mother and father who would stumble and cringe every five words. We would find it funny to speak, as my parents simply could not understand what we were saying! Also, being a stone’s throw away from Copacabana beach and living in a forested region of Brazil, we were never without entertainment. I find it crazy nowadays, how to me that just felt like second nature and ‘home’. We also adopted my dog in Brazil, and she is called ‘Rio’ in homage to her roots. She is still alive today, whilst slightly senile, she has maintained her youthful energy and is a constant reminder to my family of the many experiences we have shared. 


Lastly, we moved to America rather reluctantly as my father got a new job in Texas. America was mundane in comparison to the more tropical lifestyle my family had grown accustomed to. My mother was never fully able to settle there, as she did not enjoy the ‘strip malls’ and everything being ‘bigger in Texas’. Whilst, the summers were scorching, the winters were freezing and there were never any fun activities to engage with. I only really remember going to and from school. However, we were lucky enough to experience several holidays all around America due to our handy geographical location. Whilst America had a plethora of different cultures and climates to enjoy, my family did not agree with it. Hence, we decided to move back to England, leaving my father in America to continue his contract until he could relocate. 


I am so grateful for my childhood. It enabled me to become a more friendly and open person. I loved meeting new people as a child, and this trait is something that has carried with me to adulthood. Hopefully, when I have my family, I will be able to travel too. I truly caught the travelling bug and am craving a post-covid holiday. I would recommend to anyone to go travelling at whatever age, or experience living abroad, if possible. There is no way you will regret it!


Isabel Sharp

Nottingham '21

I am a second year university student studying English. In my free time,I enjoy running and spending time with my dog!
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