for your stories
are some ideas to write about for both children and adults.
Teachers, please feel free to use these ideas as prompts for
Who are you?
'country' do you feel a part of and why?
What’s it like to feel a part of many nations and
cultures? Which ones and how?
Do you sometimes get confused about how to describe where
you are from? What do you say?
How are you ‘out of it’ culturally when you
return to your ‘home country’ after being away
for so long? What things don’t you know about?
What is it like when your child knows the new country’s
language better than you do?
If you’ve come from a ‘mixed’ family,
have you ever felt split between parts of your cultural
How has living in new countries changed the way you look
at your ‘home’ country?
Have you ever felt discriminated against because of the
color of your skin, the language you speak, the clothes
you wear, the rituals and religion you follow?
How have you ever felt like a chameleon? When and how?
Do you look for parts of your ‘temporary’ countries
when you go back to your ‘home’ country?
Did you ever feel like you had no choice about what was
happening to you?
What is the role of the Internet and/or computer or video
games in your life?
Confusion and Differences
you ever get lost because you didn't know the language?
Were you ever embarrassed because you didn’t know
a cultural tradition, ordered the wrong food or bought the
wrong thing at a drug, grocery and/or a convenience store?
How do you behave/talk differently with friends at International
Schools than with parents/grandparents?
How are schools in different parts of the world different
in discipline, in size, expectations etc.
Are there some funny things you’ve noticed when you
re-enter your ‘home country’? Is there such
a thing as ‘reverse culture shock’?
How is time different from one country to another? Are there
places where people seem to have more or less time for sharing?
What objects are ‘sacred’ or special to you
and what have you always brought from place to place? What
makes them important to you?
What was it like to have to do household chores after having
As a parent, have you noticed differences in child rearing
and behavioral expectations for your child? How have you
adjusted, not adjust and/or been embarrassed?
Do you notice that schools in different countries have different
expectations for parent participation and how?
Have you ever got in trouble at a dinner, business meeting,
date, party etc. when the customs and traditions of a country
were not quite understood?
Is dating difference from one country to another? How?
Have you ever felt conflicted by politics and/or war between
a couple of countries where you had lived or were living?
Have you every noticed that saying ‘hello’ to
strangers is either done or not done in different countries?
Have you noticed that treatment of the elderly is different
from place to place?
Have you seen the differences in the way business has been
Have you noticed that the way the media covers stories from
Was there any moment when you realized something new about
the world? About poverty? Ecology? Human relationships?
Do you as a teacher find a difference between teaching abroad
and teaching in the US? How?
stories about saying ‘Good-bye’?
Were you ever the new kid at school? What was it like?
How do you ‘keep in touch’ in friends you’ve
Have you noticed how places and people change each summer
when you return to the same house each vacation?
Did you sometimes not want become friends with people because
you knew you were going to leave or you knew that they were
going to go? Any you regret?
Do you remember any people who were helpful in your entry
into a new culture? How did they help you?
Did you ever befriend someone at the beginning of your stay
somewhere that was turned out to be a mistake?
What are the things you miss the most about places where
you have lived?
Do you ever return ‘home’ and feel that you
are ‘different’? In what ways do you notice
How are young kids, adolescents and/or teenagers different
from one place to the other? Are they treated differently…given
more or less freedom, incorporated or not in the ‘adult’
world, encouraged or discouraged to speak, for instance
Are there any mistakes and/or success that your parents
made in helping you adjust from country to country?
What’s in like trying to establish new friends when
you move to a new country?
In order to make friends, how have you ‘changed’
yourself to ‘fit-in’?
As a grown up, how have your adjustments to new places been
difficult or funny?
Have you ever had to say good-bye to a pet? What was that
What was it like to be on a plane the first time?
Do you have a story about being told it is time to move…again?
As an adult, what do you go through as you are preparing
Kids, have you noticed your parents beginning to change
when they are going to leave and if so how?
Have you left projects and/or relationships unfinished because
you knew you were leaving soon? How?
a parent, what kind of advice can you give to someone who
has to tell their kids that they are moving? How can you
help them make their children’s adjustment easier?
What kinds of things helped in you adjust to a new country?
As an adult, what stories do you have about trying to make