I was born in Japan, but I moved to a upper middle class suburban area in California when I was barely one, and specifically it was southern California. From here I spent a pretty average childhood up to grade six, when I moved to a less snobby, but still suburban area in Southern California, due to financial issues I didn't understand. This time it was even closer to a big city, and I was still pretty fine there. It was a big move and it shook me up a little, and I was probably one of the weirder kids there, but I still was happy, had friends that cared, all the good stuff.
At the end of grade seven, turns out my parents still weren't making that much money, which I still didn't realize at the time. Understandably, they jumped at the first job offer they both got, which happened to be working at a Japanese restaurant, which seemed perfect given we were Japanese, and having Japanese employers made communication easier for my parents. So having seemingly gotten a decent job offer for the first time in a while, we packed our bags and made a move 11 hours north, to rural Northern California.
Now I'm assuming most people don't know how each section of California is like so I'm going to just give a quick Summary. Southern California is pretty stereotypical, with LA and San Diego. Seems pretty douchey, and a lot of people there are, but it's still diverse and pretty forgiving, plenty of friends to be made and fun to be had. The Bay Area is it's own little bubble separate from both the North and South, and it probably is the most diverse, and has a little bit of everything for everyone. It isn't as douchey as SoCal, but it is a lot nerdier, and sometimes cringier imo. Now, Northern California is best described like if you took a slice of rural Louisiana and placed it on the West Coast, basically its heaven for Red Necks. And I hated it there.
For the first time ever, I had trouble making friends. Most kids would actually avoid me on purpose, and the meaner ones would actually bully me, which I had thought was a myth up until this point. Even got called a chink a decent amount of times, since I was essentially one of the only Asians there, and to them Asian=Chinese. It eventually escalated to the point of physical bullying once the kids realized that the teachers didn't care about me either. Fighting occurred anywhere between every other month and every week. Every time I would hurt somebody in self defense, I would be the only one to get punished. This continued up until I became a high school student, due to me not telling my parents what was really going on, and pretending that I was fine,
Once in high school, I managed to separate myself from my previous peers, but the damage had already been done. Like you said, going to rural areas tended to lessen me as a person. I became socially inept, utterly lost all confidence in myself, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to keep up academically with my friends from past homes, due to how bad the schools were there. I spent high school mostly alone, and every single time I saw some people from my middle school I would freeze up and forget what I was doing, and what I should do next.
My parents hated their workplace almost immediately as well, so we left as soon as we could. Unfortunately, this took three years, and those three years I spent there utterly changed me as a person, since it happened to be during my teenage years, which is arguably one of the most important times in how a person develops. Even now, while I live in a major city, I still am an awkward fuck because of those years, and even though I've been working on it, I'll probably never be able to get rid of the damage it's done to me as a person.