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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Andrew Oderkirk’s time in England gave him a new perspective on the world around him

The three years Andrew Oderkirk spent in England changed his perspective on his life.

When senior Andrew Oderkirk was eight years old, his family moved to Manchester, England, where they planned to stay for three years. 

Being as young and unknowledgeable about other countries as he was, Andrew was anxious and terrified, more than excited, about this move. 

“Before we moved there, I was young and had been told virtually nothing about where we were moving, so all I knew was that it was a different country,” Andrew said. “For some reason, in my mind, that meant they wouldn’t speak the same language as us or like any of the same stuff. I had a full-on panic attack at the airport because I was terrified that I wouldn’t understand anybody. But when we got there, I realized everyone around me spoke English, so it was all okay.” 

While most of Andrew’s worries seem silly, and even though he immediately felt better about moving to the UK when he realized most people there spoke English, there was some actual basis for his fears that he encountered later on. 

When we got there, I realized everyone around me spoke English, so it was all okay.”

— Andrew Oderkirk

“Honestly, the hardest thing to get used to was the voices,” Andrew said. “Especially when I first got there, it seemed like they were talking so fast, and I could barely keep up. It was hard to comprehend what they were saying because I’d never heard voices like that before, and I had no clue what they were trying to get at.”

Andrew struggled at first to understand what many of his peers and the adults around him were saying, and for a while, both Andrew and his parents were afraid that this accent barrier would impact his education. 

Luckily, this was not the case. Andrew found help from the people around him to work through the sudden change of schools. In fact, he even said that his educational experience in England was one of the things he missed most about living there for a variety of reasons.

“The transition between American and English high school really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting,” Andrew said. “I went to a private school, and it was fairly new so everything was up to date and overall really nice. The teachers at my school were probably why I enjoyed it as much as I did; they were always willing to help me work through any of the barriers and struggles that I came across.”

Andrew initially dreaded being uprooted from all his friends and family back home, and he was convinced that he wouldn’t be able to make any friends in the strange new country he was moving to. 

However, these fears, like most of the ones held by young Andrew, were discovered to be irrational when he actually arrived in England. Not only did Andrew find the teachers helpful, but he also discovered that he was surprisingly popular as the ‘new kid’ at his school.

“I was pretty scared of being the ‘new kid’ when I first started school,” Andrew said, “but it was actually a way better experience than I was expecting. All the kids were interested in me because I was the ‘new American kid.’ They all wanted to hear about the US, and they thought my accent was cool.”

At age eight, Andrew was very impressionable and receptive to the world around him, so the sudden transition from the American lifestyle that he was used to, to the foreign, English one that he moved into was bound to have an effect on him.

The different cultures and climates between America and the UK were very evident to Andrew in the three years he spent living there. From the accents to the sports and even the music (apparently, however big One Direction was in America in 2013, it was ten times more popular in the UK), the contrasting cultures had an effect on Andrew.

“I picked up a little bit of an accent from when we lived over there,” Andrew said, “but it’s mostly faded now. My appreciation for sports grew so much, too. The sports culture there is super important to the country, and everyone is pretty intense about it. The interesting thing is that because I lived there, I’m more interested in sports that are generally played in the UK, like rugby, and aren’t as common in the US.”

Of course, spending a large portion of your life in a place that you are completely unknowledgeable about is going to widen your horizons, get you out of your comfort zone, and give you a much larger appreciation for the world around you. This is what Andrew experienced when he spent those three years of his life in England.

“When we moved there I didn’t know a whole lot about the country,” Andrew said, “and I came out with a whole new perspective on my life and the way other people live around the world.”

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About the Contributor
Evelyn Alt, Copy Editor
Evelyn is a sophomore entering her second year on The Central Trend. Outside of school, she enjoys reading and hanging out with her friends. Her other interests include playing with her cat, Minerva, and going to Barnes and Noble with her sister, Millie. She is excited for another year writing on The Central Trend staff and looking forward to everything in her future. Favorite color: red Favorite food: anything chocolate Favorite season: Summer Favorite books: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio  

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