If your parents keep telling you being a military brat is enriching your life, they’re right.
These famous folks have done pretty well for themselves, and they each grew up in a military family too: Christina Aguilera, Wiz Khalifa, Will Smith, J. Cole, LaVar Burton, Mark Hamill (the GOAT Luke Skywalker), Shaquille O’Neal, Patton Oswalt, Bruce Willis and Tiger Woods, to name a few.
Now it’s your turn to become an international superstar by turning your backstage access to diverse cultures and your world-traveler experience into your playbook for an exciting future. Even if you have to write that book yourself.
Check out the scenery
You literally have a front-row seat to the world right now. Whether you’re exploring historical sites in Europe or seeing the hottest American entertainers at an AFE show on base – from Month of the Military Child shows to Heat Wave artists – sit back and take stock of what’s within your grasp every day.
Immerse yourself in the culture around you by learning key words and phrases in the local language
People really do like it when you try to speak to them in their language. Even saying hello, goodbye and thank you will impress others and make you feel like you fit in.
Try new things, especially food
You may not have a chance to taste local ingredients like these for a long time, so make the most of it. And remember, you don’t have to make every new food part of your routine – but trying them once probably won’t kill you. And you may find a unique flavor fave.
Ask your family to attend local events, festivals and parades
- The people organizing and participating in the activities are part of a generations-long tradition, and you have a unique opportunity to learn about it up close.
Better yet, explore ways you and your family can volunteer for local events and celebrations. It’s a great way to be an “insider” as you absorb the culture.
Not comfortable enough to get out into the new world yet?
- Research movies, videos and TV shows set in your new host country. Or visit travel sites and read about the nearby sites.
As you research and explore passively, make a wish list of places you’d like to see in person. Then talk to your parents about making that happen.
Whenever possible, make friends with locals. That may happen on its own when you volunteer or attend local events. And you just might develop a long friendship that will enrich your entire life. Just like your parents said.
Want more ideas and tips on making the most of being a military kid, including how to make and maintain friendships? AFE has great resources and links on our Month of the Military Child page.