By Connor

When most people think of a normal childhood, they think of going to school, making friends, and living in the same town for years. Collette did nearly the opposite. She traveled the world with her family, going to 37 countries by the time she was 15! When I asked Collette if she had traveled to other countries she said, ”I will tell you the major ones: India, Australia, France, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Thailand, and a bunch of others.” Instead of living in one town her whole life, and going to the same 3.jpg schools there, Collette traveled the world. At the age of six months, she left America with her parents when they moved to Singapore. At the age of five, she moved to London, England. Living in these two very different places where her environment changed constantly, Collette gained a global perspective first hand.
In Singapore, she had many death-defying experiences, even before Kindergarten! When she was only one year old, she was playing hide and go seek at her house with her mother and babysitter. Collette hid in the pool; at which time, neither her mother nor her babysitter knew where she was until they found her nearly drowned in the pool. She left Singapore when she was five, heading to England where she would live the next ten years of her life. An object that reminds her of her upbringing in Singapore is a Clown chair that she had around her growing up. It is the only object she still has to remind her of her time in Singapore. In London Collette had more experiences of being a citizen of the world. She was able to reconnect with her Indian relatives who also lived in London, reinforcing her cultural experience there. She went to an international school and was allowed to roam London as she pleased. This included hopping on and off the Metro and being given a large amount of freedom and

Despite all these international travels, moves, and schools, Collette said that it was hard to adjust to life in America. Her main difficulty in adjusting to American life was the sense of humor of here. As she said “The hardest part about adjusting was trying to find funny things to say... your humor is just, different.” Despite this difference, Collette has adjusted well to American life now, American schools, and is reconnecting to her American side. She has many friends and is a full member of our community. Another difference she talked about was the changes in the schools. In London, she was one of many students with ex-pat families. As a result, not many of her friends and classmates stayed at the same school for very long. There were no “lifers” as there are here. No one who left was even still in the same country. Because of this, keeping friends was difficult and the nature of the school changed often with classmates coming and going.
Collette’s entire life was spent abroad. Her 15 years in Singapore and London gave her a global perspective because of where she lived, the schools that she attended, and the people she met. Any person who has travelled to 37 countries by the age of 15 cannot help but have a different outlook. Now, her many travels have finally brought her “home” to the US. Welcome back Collette!