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Caroline Philpott

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Caroline Philpott was born in Taplow, England in 1978. She moved with her family to the US in 1982 when she was four. Because she was so young when she immigrated, she does not remember much about England or feel very connected to it, despite going back to visit in the fourth grade. Caroline received her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Urbana Champaign, moved to New York City in 2002, and earned her MBA from Columbia and the London School of Business. She has one son and is a Director in the payments and financial industry.

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0:02:23

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

My family came to the US from England in 1982 when I was four. It’s now 35 years later, I'm 39 and I consider myself an American. I think I've considered myself an American since I was about 10. I don't feel much of a connection to England. Or rather, it’s more in my head than my heart. People say they can't imagine me being British. An ex used to joke that he got duped: getting a British girl with no accent. I did part of my MBA in London and I felt just as much the tourist as my classmates.
We came over on a big TWA jet and all I remember is holding my dad’s thumb really tightly when the plane took off.
I remember being eight and thinking, “I've been here longer than I was in England. I'm not special anymore.”
We went back to visit England when I was 10. We went for a month and it made my fourth grade teacher so mad that she didn't recommend me for the talented and gifted program for the next year, even though I had been a part of it for years. That trip made me feel like a citizen of the world and taught me that traveling outside the US is important, something I now try to do with my son as often as possible, partly because England is the ONLY place my parents took us. We never even made it to Scotland. I joke that my parents never took us on vacations more than a few hours from home because in their minds they WERE traveling away from home.
My parents have British accents and that makes them special, but I can't tell my parents’ Britishness from their own personalities, including their voices. I didn't realize that Americans have different things than we did for Christmas, and even regular dinners, until I was well past college. Beans-on-toast seemed normal until I was 22.
After brief stints in Maryland and Ohio, my parents settled us in Iowa, which is where I consider that I'm “from”. I think both because my hometown is fairly small and because my parents moved away from their parents, I always assumed I would move away too. And I did. I have lived in New York for fourteen years now.