Though I currently live in the United States, in California, I am a British citizen, having lived in the UK for eleven years. I have known the feeling of moving to various places, adjusting to a new life each time. I will never forget the day when my parents informed me that there was a possibility we would be moving to the USA.
It was at the beginning of 7th grade, just as I was getting ready to leave for school. As I had been in a rush, the consequences of moving didn’t fully hit me. It was when I came back from school that it struck; I may have to leave the country I grew up in, leave my friends, and start a new life.
At the time, my parents just said that there was a possibility that the move would come about at the end of the year, and they wanted to give me a heads-up. However, I knew that if they were mentioning it, it was bound to happen.
It was around March 2014 when my dad’s work transfer was confirmed. Things happened quickly after that; informing my school, arranging for the visas, booking flight tickets, and packing our stuff. I remember the day we left, I wondered if I would ever come back to London.
My parents and I landed in California on June 26th, 2014, and have lived here for three years now. I am pleased to say that we have settled down well here, and that all three of us agree that moving here was a good decision. I won’t deny that this change was difficult for me, but the experience I have had living here has proved to be rewarding in the long-run.
The education system in California is very different from the one in England. In the UK, we take many more subjects a year, like Religious Studies, Music, Drama, Spanish or German, optional languages such as Latin, Mandarin, Japanese, and Biology, Physics and Chemistry each year. Since we do more subjects, our schedule changes each day. In California, I found myself restricted to Math, English, one science, History, language, PE and elective, which was a pity because I enjoyed having a variety of classes.
I started school here in eighth grade, which made it more difficult to make new friends since it was the last year of middle school. Having said that, everyone knew me as the “girl from London” and I was popular because of my British accent. I wasn’t completely isolated, but I was still lonely because I didn’t feel I would fit into any group.
The first year of high school was even worse because I was dealing with academic and social stress. The feelings of loneliness hit me even harder during that time. I also became more anxious regarding how I looked and being judged by others. Physical education is much more rigorous in California than in the UK, and seeing how unfit I was made me feel even worse about my appearance. My grades weren’t really doing well either.
However, the difficulties I faced made me even more determined to get more fit and score well in sophomore year. In the summer of 2016, I improved my physical fitness and took preview classes to get a head start on school material. I began 10th grade with a bang, and it felt awesome! I realized I wasn’t as anxious as before about being judged, and in the best shape of my life. I zoomed through 10th grade with flying colors.
Now I am in 11th grade, with my tough AP classes and standardized tests. But I am in a much more stable position to cope with all this. I strongly believe that moving to California has made me a stronger and more independent person, molding me into a person that can tackle any obstacle that comes my way. I don’t regret moving here at all.
Change is something that I encourage everyone to take positively. It made me a stronger and more independent person, and I truly believe that everyone will gain something from it. So, in the future, if you are ever pushed into a new change in your life, remember this. Embrace change. It could be the making of you.
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