How have I changed from the person I was in my country to the person I am today: an international student?
This topic could take a never ending blog to explain the changes – sometimes big and sometimes not so big. The changes are not only in the way you live, but also in the way you think once you are in another country. I can think of many examples, and I chose to focus on the one of language.
If you know me, you know that I have an accent. After a year and a half in this country I realized I will never get rid of it and I actually started enjoying it. Yes, I do have an accent and that makes me unique. Regarding grammar and pronunciation, you also must know that I ask people to correct me if I am not saying words well or I am grammatically incorrect. I really want to master the language and I really enjoy learning. I am here to speak English to express myself in the best way possible.
I’ve been asked if I dream or think in Spanish. The answer is no. I think all the time in English and dream in English. It is interesting that when I visit my country, you can tell I have not lived there for a while. I have started to forget words and my “r” sound is getting confused when I say certain words. On my last visit I had an accent-in Spanish!!! Actually that was not very pleasant. I am Mexican and I want to speak my language as I always have. I understand that it is a matter of geography and practice, and the same is happening in reverse with English. I now say words much better than I did in the past, but regardless, accent or no accent, it is my goal always to use the languages properly. It is funny that at times when visiting Mexico, I would respond in English, and here, if I am really tired (more likely exhausted) I tend to respond by mixing English and Spanish! You can tell when it is time for me to go to bed!
So next time you listen to an international student speaking, I invite you to think that that person may have much more to say but there is in some cases a natural barrier when you are not native to country. There are countless occasions when I have laughed with my friends about certain words I say differently or about the fact I do not have the words I would like to express myself with.