Growing up military: Studying abroad

by Emma Bareihs
Stripes Europe

Growing up as a military kid, you develop a love-hate relationship with moving so frequently. As you get older, it is easy to say that you’ve moved enough and you’re tired of it. Going to university is a perfect excuse to say you’ll be settling down for a solid four years. At least, that’s what I thought.

After going to eight different schools, living in seven different homes and in two different countries before graduating high school, I told everyone that I had my fair share of relocation. But, without fail, here I am moving… yet again.

This fall, I will be studying abroad as a junior in an American university. For many people, simply traveling across the ocean is something groundbreaking. Although this experience won’t be brand new for me, I know what I am getting into and I’m excited about it. For me, starting over was always about growth. With each move, I became more confident in who I was. No matter how hard moving was as a military child, the more knowledge I gained, the more I wanted to know more, and that is why I decided to take this step.

Something about the military – experiencing unique cultures, traveling, meeting new people, understanding different lifestyles – gave me an underlying love for discovering unfamiliar worlds. Growing up, I never had a ‘home,’ like the average person did. My mom always told me, “home is where the military sends you,” and that is what I’ve known my entire life. Now that I have control of my actions, the idea still applies. The principles I’ve learned from moving with the military are driving me into the direction I am going.

You will never know how much you can do until you stretch yourself. Expanding outside of your comfort zone is something I believe you should never put an end to. The beauty in meeting new faces as you travel across the globe refreshes your soul and the experiences in new countries challenge your boundaries. If you grew up military, what’s the harm in moving once more? Studying abroad will motivate you to explore new territory like the military lifestyle did for you.

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