Being an International kid is like having a disease that you are born with and there’s no cure. People never understand the reason you wanted to leave, and sometimes neither do you. But you know that you have to. From the moment you leave the comfort of your house and embark on the plane, many times alone and even clueless, the sadness of leaving your home is overpowered by the adventurous feeling of curiosity that is inherent to all travelers. And you are a part of the world now.
But every rose has it thorn — and this one has many. When the temporary house becomes a permanent residence, when the international kids are away for long, they finally understand what people mean when they say international kids are very brave. Wishing happy birthday to your nana via Skype, missing the first words of your nephew, witnessing on social media all the fun your friends are having without you. You are brave for leaving, yes. But was it worth it?
You then remember of that time you saw the sun rising at the lake in Rhode Island, or when you went rafting on the cold waters of Maine. You remember the class president you became best friends with or the crazy indian girl who changed your life. Weird American traditions, tasteless peanut butter sandwiches, very odd prep school parties, crazy red socks fans, boarding school kids. You think of the day you went cliff jumping and thought you were going to die, and when you were in a snowball fight for the first time. You are brave for staying, too. It was worth it.
Being an International kid also is taking a little bit of your country wherever you go, sharing your culture and answering questions people will always ask you. It is saying that not all Chinese people are good at math, that Jamaica isn’t in Africa, that Mexicans don’t have pet donkeys, and that all Brazilians do not live on the Amazon forest. It's letting the domestic kids become aware that there is a world beyond stereotypes and prejudices — and it is awesome.
When International kids meet, the connection is instantaneous. It’s always good to find some other student who knows how it feels to be international. You understand that your not the only one who knows with mastery dozens of airports, who loves to show off the stamps on your passport, or who is used to being the one who goes away.
Being an International kid is like a disease that you are born with and there’s no cure. If you have it, the consequences are inevitable: you spend 50 percent of your time googling cheap plane tickets and 50 percent thinking of ways to get enough money to buy them.
A true international kid never forgets where they are from. And for most of us, there will always be those sad nights when we would give all we have to go back home, even if just for a while. There will always also be the amazing, epic, book-worthy adventures that make of your life an extraordinary collection of memories.
So here’s to us, the brave international kids, who leave their homes without knowing for sure when they’ll be back, but who do so while enjoying, without restrictions, the best life has to offer: the entire world.