From born-and-raised-white-Apartheid-South-African to global citizen who cherishes racial and ethnic differences

I obtained my U.S. citizenship on February 28th, 2012. By 2012, I was well on my way from becoming a born-and-raised-white-Apartheid-South-African to becoming a global citizen who cherishes racial and ethnic differences.

My road to global citizenship began with a choice my mother made in the 70's. She decided to take her first overseas trip: South Africa to Canada. Understandably, my mom had an incredible experience. When the opportunity came up again in 1991 for our family to travel overseas, my father and mother grabbed it. I was in Grade 6 and my sister was in Grade 4.

We left South Africa for a lengthy six-week adventure through Europe, then the United States and finally across Canada. It was an amazing trip for any 11 year old. A boat ride past the hiding place of Anne Frank, zooming around on the London underground, photos with Mickey and Minnie, soaking in U.S. history at the capital, being soaked under Niagara Falls, going up the Seattle Space Needle, eating clam chowder soup on a ferry ride to Vancouver Island, picking up drift wood on the shore of the quaint Quadra Island, and traveling on a bus through the rocky mountains (Banff, Lake Louise and more).

After finishing high school in South Africa, my international explorations continued. I had an opportunity to go to the U.S. for college. Weeks after enrolling at my college in Dallas, Texas, I signed up for a summer trip to Spain and Morocco. It felt unreal finding myself in a rural village on my home continent only a few months after leaving Africa, but this time, 5000 miles northwest of my hometown in South Africa. 

During college I made friends with students from six continents; more than 60 countries. Diversity became the norm and my way of life. After graduating with my undergraduate degree, a door opened for me to teach in Shanghai, China. At this point, the world had securely become a home. 

My experiences in China were life changing. My passion for education was born in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. I had wonderful Chinese families in my classes, along with families from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy and the U.S. My students and their parents changed me, forever. 

After a wonderful time in China, both in the classroom and around the country, I decided to return to Texas to complete my master's degree in educational leadership. While working on my master's degree I had many opportunities to travel back to Asia to educate families and organizations about life, learning, and work in the U.S.

Today, in 2016, I am back in Shanghai. This time with my wife and two children. We are coming to the end of our fourth year as an expat family. Our children are solidly on their roads to becoming global citizens.

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