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From Australia to an American Base

This is my story of the hard time I have had as a military brat. My name is Annie and I am Australian. I was born and raised in Australia. For most of my life, I just moved back and forth between Sydney and Canberra, but one day, my dad told me we were moving to South Korea. I was shocked and didn’t really believe that it would ever happen, but when I got on the plane it felt so real.

I got to Korea in my 8th grade, and I was shocked to find that it was an American base. It was not what I thought it was going to be. I had never really thought about how I was Australian and how my voice sounds different to other people in the world. I had never thought about any of it - like the school work being different. There was more homework, harder math, and a different grading system. It was harder to adjust. The school environment was different and it was hard to fit in. The length of the school year was different. The people were different. It was all different; nothing was the same. Even the size of my family was different because some of my siblings stayed in Australia. It was weird not having my full family there.

I felt like people judged me in every single way, like my voice and my clothes. I have never been judged by my voice before. Everyone has the same accent as me in Australia. This has never been a feeling that I thought that I could have. They ask me to say things like “no Cleo” or to do an American accent. It makes it hard to make friends because most of them just want to know about Australia and my accent, not who I really am.

This year, I joined the cheerleading team in 9th grade, and it was hard. They also call me their favorite Australian. It is not that I hate the nickname, but it makes me feel that I am nothing but Australian. I want to be known as more. I want them to know who I am, not just where I come from. I want them to see my funny side, my anger, and my crazy side.

I have enjoyed my time here at Camp Humphreys, but it has been a bit lonely. It gets easier every day. I started the International Club at Humphreys High School and it makes me feel connected to other students who are international. That really helped.

Anyway, my time here at Humphreys is up, but I just want people to know that it should not matter where people come from - they are human just like you. Also, if you are an international student like me, find people who can relate to you - it can help.


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