By: Samantha Quee | Asian Avenue magazine

Tiffany_ChangTiffany Chang spends her free time hanging out with her friends at the mall and catching the latest action flick at the movie theater like most teenagers. However, unlike most of her peers, she has already lived in five different international locations with Denver being the latest addition to her list.

Tiffany is the daughter of Director General Jerry Chang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver. Due to her father’s work arrangement, travelling and moving to different countries has become her permanent lifestyle. Born in New York, Tiffany has lived in Taiwan, Hungary, and Singapore before relocating to Denver. Mr. Chang’s schedule demands six years of overseas placement and three years in their home country, Taiwan. Then, the entire cycle repeats itself and the family is off on another round of adventure.

I met Tiffany and her mother, Jennifer Chen, at a café in Englewood. The first word that crossed my mind when I saw Tiffany was maturity. This young lady exudes an air of steadiness in her speech and presentation, something not all 15-year-olds possess. Indeed, she chuckled and said, “Most of my friends find me a little too mature for my age.”

Moving from country to country means that Tiffany has limited time to develop strong friendships. When asked about her thoughts on this issue, she said, “Over the years, I’ve learned to just go with the flow and not to latch on to negativity. Traveling widely is not something that everyone gets to enjoy. Social media helps me to keep in contact with my friends through Facebook and I chat with them on Skype.”

Jennifer attributes Tiffany’s maturity to her extensive worldview and frequent travels. “Since she was much younger, Tiffany has been very independent and we never have had to worry about her. She is also very thoughtful and understanding. I think we are more like friends rather than the traditional Asian relationship between mother and child.”

Additionally, Tiffany has to be adaptable to her ever-changing education curriculum. “Usually I take about one or two months to settle into my new school. However, when I first transferred from an international school in Singapore back to a local school in Taiwan, it was difficult as the language of instruction changed from English to Mandarin. It took me a while, but I eventually overcame it.” When asked what is her strongest subject, she giggled and said, “Well, it really has got to be math! It is quite a stereotype but Asians do excel in this subject.”

Tiffany-Violin

Tiffany will start the next school year in 10th grade at Cherry Creek High School and has been selected as the chief violinist for the string orchestra. She said, “I started learning the violin when I was six years old. It is a lot of hard work, and I would not like to put additional stress on myself by envisioning a future career in music. Nonetheless, I enjoy playing the violin and intend to keep working on it.”

Being effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese, Tiffany hopes to carve out a career using her language skills. “I haven’t really decided on the exact ambition, but it will have to be something related to language.”

During this summer vacation, Tiffany visited the Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes with her parents. She said, “Travelling has widened my horizons and shown me the different lifestyles of each and every community. It has taught me to never have a myopic view about life and to always consider different perspectives.”

For now, Tiffany relays that the one thing she anticipates about living in the U.S. is attending prom. She says, “I’ve missed graduation ceremonies and class trips before which was not that big of a deal, but I have never attended prom, so I’m really looking forward to it!”