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Perks Of Living in Multiple Countries and Being a Dual-citizen

Whether I’m shopping at the supermarket, drinking at a bar, or meeting a new professor it is impossible for me to engage in a conversation with a stranger and not be asked about my accent. Annoyed with these repetitive questions my older sister actually adopted the American accent however, not blessed with the same acting skills I have kept my South African-predominantly British-American accent. While these typical conversations do rack up to be quite annoying, I have found that there are definite benefits to being a dual citizen living with a green card.

Access to Different Countries and Visas

I have read and said that having a British passport is possibly one of the best passports to have, and when you throw an American green card and South African passport on top of the pile there aren’t very many countries you cannot visit. Touchwood, I have never had any hassles applying for a visa in a country I have intended to visit.

The Stories

Similar to “there is always something to talk about” the stories you obtain from being a dual citizen and having a confusing accent are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Often you will hear my family and I comparing the latest awkward situation our accents caused.

One of my favourites is when we were at a restaurant and the waitress turned to my mom, who sounds 100% more South African compared to my strong British accent, and asked if I was “a foreign exchange student.” However, my father prefers to the tell the tale of when he asked for a Diet Coke and the completely confused server, unable to understand his Jo’burg accent, brought him a water.

The Stamps

Travelling back and forth between “home” countries to see family and friends equates in your passport being stamped a whole lot. Personally, I find this one of the greatest joys of travelling – it’s the little things.

Redefining the Word "Home"

The past five months I spent in New Zealand I came to the realization that no single country is home for me. My grandparents, cousins, and extended family members are all in South Africa (where I spent infancy and early childhood), some of my closest friends who I consider family are all in England where I spent my middle childhood and half of my adolescence, while my immediate family are in America where I now live. I get the same feeling of being home walking into my cousin’s home in Cape Town as I do walking into my parents home in Ohio. This past year I have realized that home is not a single place for me, but rather where my family and loved ones are.

Forever Something to Talk About

I know I began this article expressing my annoyance of everyone asking where I got my accent it is true that an accent definitely has its perks. When meeting a stranger there is always something to talk about, where I’m from, why we move, and even the most annoying “which is your favourite country.”

The Instilled Sense of Adventure

Living in three countries has definitely provided me with a strong sense of adventure and desire to travel. Having seen a lot of the places, thanks dad, I know there is still so much of the world left to explore and I try to venture there at every chance I get.

Friends All Over the World

Unbeknown to my eleven-year-old self, being in an American high school while your childhood friends were still in England definitely came with some perks. Not wanting to look like a bitch, if I ever needed to talk about one of my new friends I could always contact my old friends. Having no idea who the people where, they always had to take my side! Not to mention the Instagram likes.



Profile photo of Kirsten Cowie

Born in South Africa, spent eight years in England, and now currently in America, it is safe to say my accent tends to confuse quite a few people. At age twenty one I consider myself very fortunate to have explored several parts of the earth but there is still so much left. In an ideal world when I graduate from PSU, Spring 2016, I will land a job that will allow me to travel more of the globe. Frosting and cheesy garlic bread are my ultimate weaknesses.



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