How Going Abroad Helps in Bypasses Certain Issues

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Malin
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03 Oct 2010, 1:54 pm

I'm in an exchange program with another university in Czech Republic. I don't know Czech so I'm not in with the Czech students, but rather a mix of Americans, Europeans from just about every area you can imagine and some countries.
The lingua franca of this realm is English. Literally everyone speaks it as a second language. As a result of speaking it as a second language, there are a number of interesting qualities to the 'Exchange English' spoken here.

1) Little to no metaphor is used.
2) People speak grammatically correct English in so far as they are able, and are always open to being more correct.
3) Everyone's ideal accent is a very plain 'news-reader' accent (my term, not theirs). They understand me better than the other native English speakers here because I have this accent, or 'no accent', as they call it.
4) Equivocation is avoided.
5) Pointless additional words are removed. Examples of common pointless words in sentences are: swear words (most swearing is pointless, not all), ' . . . .and stuff', 'like' (e.g. it was good *like*), and many others besides.
6) Basic conversation is very structured. It consists of 'What is your name?', 'What are you studying?' and 'Where are you from?', with no restrictions on whom these questions can be posed to, meaning anyone you see who's not walking somewhere.

Also, I'm not an outsider here, because when everyone is an outsider (everyone being from different cultures) then nobody is.

There are little expected modes of behaviour. People don't simply take each others food (we have a communal kitchen), instead food sharing patterns are very simply and unapolagetically discussed, leaving no room for miss-interpretation.

Has anyone else found this when travelling?

I'm liking the experience, and would recommend it to anyone.
The student exchange is also good because being surrounded by students means being surrounded by people with special interests which they are happy to discuss.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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03 Oct 2010, 2:51 pm

Malin wrote:
. . . People don't simply take each others food (we have a communal kitchen), instead food sharing patterns are very simply and unapolagetically discussed, leaving no room for miss-interpretation. . .

That sounds pretty good. And that's the way things should be. That unknown things are discussed in advanced.



thegreatpretender
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03 Oct 2010, 2:56 pm

I warmly recommend living abroad. Locals have a much greater tolerance for idiosyncrasies, as they are blamed (or rather attributed) to your being foreign. This allows you to have a sweet life where you are seen as "charming" rather than "weird". Just caricaturing but it works!

One thing though: you'll have to keep away from people from your own country as they will not make the same allowances...

Enjoy your experience...