Global Citizen

On September 24, I had voted in three national elections over the previous eleven months. I would love to know if anyone has had a similar experience. As I have been moving around the world, I have accumulated the right to vote in three countries - Germany (my home nation), the U.S., which I am also a citizen of and where I lived for over ten years, as well as New Zealand, which has been home for the past three years.

It was honestly an exhilarating experience for me and I feel very grateful about it. Anyone who knows me, is aware that I am very interested in politics and world affairs and I only start truly living in a country when I have the right to vote.

So, what does it mean for me to be a global citizen, while also making a home in one country? My sense is that I may never feel completely at home in one country anymore, but have rather learned to live with a more fragmented identity whereby I relate to the three countries in different ways and through a variety of memories associated with critical phases in my life. Given the spirit and high degree of immigration in both countries, the U.S. and New Zealand, I have met a large number of people among my clients and friends who also have lived and worked in one or more country before moving here. Many of them—like myself—travel a lot and identify at least as “dual citizens” and make quite an effort to stay closely connected to family and friends abroad.

What does it do to our psyche, though? To be honest, I am not sure. It has never been a big topic for me until moving to New Zealand and it may also be a function of getting older and wondering where one might settle long term. For now, I very much enjoy the notion that I get to be a world citizen and able to navigate my different “homes” in the way I have and to remain engaged and active in all of them. Whether it is a sustainable way to live longterm, I need to decide at a later point.

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