Worldwide ERC® Foundation Scholarship Recipients Share Their Relocation Stories

Eric House - Jun 01 2021
Published in: Mobility
| Updated Apr 27 2023
The Worldwide ERC® Foundation awarded $1,000 scholarships to 11 high school students in 2021.

Relocation can be a challenging adjustment, even for the seasoned globally mobile employee going on another assignment in a different part of the world. High school can be a challenging adjustment too, with harder classes and more extracurriculars to do in the span of four years, all while preparing for what comes after. So what would it be like to experience relocation and high school at the same time? Just ask the recipients of the Worldwide ERC® Foundation Scholarship who shared their stories with us.

Each year, Worldwide ERC® and participating Worldwide ERC®–recognized regional relocation groups invite high school students with relocation experience to submit essays sharing their personal stories, what they learned from their move (or moves), and/or what advice they might have for other young students going through the same process. Regional groups select an award-winning essay, and the students each receive a fund of $1,000 in support of future endeavors.

Here are just a few perspectives from this year’s 11 scholarship recipients:

As many in relocation know, moving and adjusting to a new place can be tough for the transferee or their family. Ishita Shah knows what it’s like to have plans – competing with your best friend at the coveted policy debate, Thursday night piano lessons, or going on the science field trip you’ve dreamt of since you were 13 – only for those plans to suddenly change. Moving from the nation’s capital to Texas wasn’t easy, but the challenges brought new opportunities, and new exciting plans. Says Shah, “Because I finally realized, firsthand, that change was what I made out of it.”

Even for the most seasoned globally mobile employee, their family may be just as seasoned. Take Christian Denton for example, who writes that relocation had been part of his life as his father was stationed all over the world for work in the Navy. Yet, there was one move in particular that he hadn’t been prepared for. Going from his established life in South Carolina to a new one in Texas was difficult, but as he branched out, made friends, and pursued his passions, he experienced growth. “The start of the transition is going to be hard and that is inevitable,” writes Denton, “but your situation can only be decided by you and how you overcome this challenge in your life.”

For Michaela Mangubat, relocating from the Philippines to California was an experience of newfound freedom and self-confidence. Being diagnosed with Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, Mangubat wore a wig every day. But while living a normal life with other kids, she felt her confidence slipping. Of course, the move to California wasn’t easy, but it came with “an opportunity to start fresh,” writes Mangubat. She stopped wearing her wig and began a new life embracing her look and new opportunities. “Taking off my wig and embracing my alopecia fully allowed me to become a better version of myself,” she says, “and I don’t think that I would be able to have had the idea to stop wearing my wig at all if my family didn’t move.”

As Marcos Hernandez grew up as a proud Chicano in Kansas, he knew what it was like to be treated differently. And when relocating to California, he experienced firsthand what it means to work hard, sacrifice, and make a life for yourself no matter the challenges in your way. As a first-generation college student, he plans on going to medical school and becoming a doctor. When it comes to relocation, “You're also receiving a fresh start,” writes Hernandez, “so make the best of what's around you and always be yourself regardless of where you're from because being unique is always better than being like everyone else.”

Throughout all these experiences, high schoolers may be wondering if there’s a survival guide. Ask transfer expert Jeremiah Lee, who writes of handy tips to help fellow students navigate this trying time. “Your survival guaranteed or your money back!” writes Lee, whose tips include: survey the area; blend in with the humans; be open to new experiences; and take on a workload you can handle. Most of all? “As you should take these pieces of advice, always remember to stay true to who you are. Be proud of yourself and don’t change to try to please others.”

Each recipient’s relocation story is unique, personal, and inspiring, showcasing not just the challenges in relocating, but how those challenges can ultimately lead to new experiences and lessons learned. We thank each and every scholarship recipient for telling us your story, as these stories only serve to further enrich the globally mobile community.

Supporting Regional Group: Student Name:
Minnesota Employee Relocation Council Taylor Posey
Corporate Relocation Council - Chicago Jeremiah Lee
North Texas Relocation Professionals Ishita Shah
New Jersey Relocation Council Harrison Green
Houston Relocation Professionals Christian Denton
NYCORP Nazeefa Chowdhury
BAMM (Bay Area Mobility Management) Princess Michaela Mangubat
BAMM (Bay Area Mobility Management) Marcos Hernandez
Metro Atlanta Relocation Council Beyonce McCrary
CMARC - Charlotte Metro Relocation Council Paris Ross
Tennessee Relocation Council Brandon Arrieta

Regional Relocation Groups with scholarship programs are encouraged to submit the Scholarship Application.