Moving schools internationally can feel scary, big changes always come with a fear of the unknown. However they can also be the start of a great new challenge and lead to a lot of unforgettable experiences. We spoke to Maddy about moving to America with her family and settling into life in an American high school.
How did you end up moving to America?
Moving to the USA was a decision made possible by my mum. She took an international assignment and got the chance to move to Connecticut for two years and bring her family along.
How did you feel about the move?
When I found out I was moving to the USA I felt really excited but also nervous. It was a big change and so took some getting used to. I was 16 at the time and leaving your friends at that age is really hard because you’ve just finished school and are settled into solid friendship groups. However I was excited to see what America had to offer.
How did you find the first few months like?
The beginning was definitely the hardest, I think it would be the same for moving to any new country. I didn’t have any friends to start off with, but that soon changed when I settled into school life.
What was going to an American high school like?
It was big change to school in the UK. I went from a school with 30 people in my year to one with 400 people! It’s a different education system altogether. I transitioned from a school where I could choose my subjects to a school where I had to study every subject. It was a little strange at first, however I did really enjoy it. In my new school I took classes in topics I never had the chance to in the UK such as politics and photography.
What advice would you give to someone moving schools internationally?
Joining clubs and teams at school are great ways to make friends. I joined a ski team and got to go skiing three times a week after school. Finding people with similar interests is a great way to make friends when starting somewhere new.
What would you recommend doing for fun in America?
Travel! Take time to travel around different parts of the country, it’s so big they’ll be a lot to take in. Exploring as many different states I could was one thing I loved to do and would recommend to anyone. I particularly enjoyed travelling around the Northeast Coast.
Did you miss anything when you lived abroad?
I missed my friends a lot but there were so many ways to keep in contact which made it easier. I also missed the ease of traveling around on public transport in London. Driving is so important in America as everything is far away. I would definitely recommend learning to drive whilst living in America.
Would you consider an international assignment for yourself?
I would definitely consider undertaking one. Living in America was a great experience and I actually moved around a lot when I was younger. I was born in Hong Kong and lived in Brussels for a while when I was very young so I’m used to travel. I have travelled to twenty eight countries in total so far. Travelling is something that is in my nature and something I see myself doing a lot more of.
We hope you have enjoyed Maddy’ story on moving schools internationally. Want to read more of our moving stories about life abroad? Click here.