Citizen of the World

December 29, 2008
By
When people ask me where I come from I wish I could just reply “the world.” I have trouble defining where home really is and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time wondering if there is anywhere I truly belong, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am “a citizen of the world.” It is as if I belong nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I feel like I belong nowhere because I was raised outside of my birth country, and therefore it doesn’t feel like my true home. Yet the country I was raised in can’t be my true home either because there I am considered an expatriate. On the other hand I belong everywhere. I am everyone.
I am a compilation of my experiences. With each new experience I gain, I become a new person; my experiences are like the stepping-stones in my life. Every place I’ve been, every place I’ve lived is a part of me. For the first 14 years of my life my family and I lived in the small Middle Eastern country of Qatar. During the first semester of my freshman year in high school we moved back to America. The irony is that even though I am a citizen of the United States, moving here was like moving to a foreign country. At first it was difficult adapting to life in America because it was so different from what I was used to. My classmates’ experiences were the opposite of mine. They knew what I didn’t, and I knew what they didn’t. But we learned from each other. And even though moving to America was a stressful event, I am the better for it. Every country I have lived in will always be a part of me. My experiences and memories—the smells, the sights, the culture, the people, the encounters, the adventures, everything—make me who I am. They make me everyone.
Living overseas has given me a different perspective of the world than that of most other Americans my age. I know what it is like to be a minority in one country and a majority in another country. I know what it is like to have a fight break out at school because of a comment someone made about color or nationality. I know what it is like to be part of a community deeply connected by experience—not by color, race, nationality or religion. I know what it is like to be welcomed, and to be ignored. I know what it is like. Over my years of traveling and living abroad, I have become a treasury of my experiences. They are the foundation of who I am today. No matter where I am, I will always be “a citizen of the world.” I belong everywhere. I am everyone.





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