Editor’s Note: Junior journalism major Hannah Hyde, who is studying abroad in England this semester, is a contributor to A Bruin Abroad, the Vision’s recurring blog from Belmont students studying outside of Nashville.
“Let’s just go queue at the till to pay for my bangers and mash and then we’ll pop round the pub for a pint. Oh, and don’t forget to grab your jumper and wellies out of the boot when we go to yours. Also, I think my mum is making chocolate biscuits tomorrow if you want to come round. Oh, I just got a text on my mobile; apparently Liam had to go to the A&E last night because some yob got too sloshed at a football match and tried to have a go at him. Liam’s alright, but I’m sure Henry will take the mickey out of him.”
Confused? I was, too.
But now I can safely say that after six weeks of living in London, I can now translate the Queen’s English.
“Let’s go line up at the cashier to pay for my sausages and mashed potatoes and then we’ll go to the pub for a pint of some possibly alcoholic beverage. Don’t forget to grab your sweater and rain-boots out of the trunk of my car when we get to your house. Also, my mom is baking chocolate cookies tomorrow if you want to come over. Oh, I just got a text on my cell; apparently Liam had to go to the ER last night because some jerk tried to fight him. Liam’s okay, but I’m sure Henry will make fun of him.”
When I was preparing to go abroad, having to deal with a language was the least of my worries. I figured, I speak English, they speak English, no problem. Now, I have a slight southern accent, nothing too strong. Sometimes people tell me that it sounds like I don’t have one at all. But over here… how different that is.
For example, in the first week of classes, we were going around introducing ourselves. A girl from Zimbabwe introduced herself, no one batted an eye. A boy from Hong Kong, same thing. But as soon as I opened my mouth and said “Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m from Tennessee in the United States,” the room fell silent and no fewer than seven people stared at me, all because of my voice.
It is a strange thing, to be singled out based on something you can’t help. I’ve had a few professors pay extra attention, simply because I’m an exchange student. It was nice the first couple of weeks, when I was still adjusting, but now? I really just want to be like everybody else.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to go meet my mate for a rousing game of naughts and crosses whilst sitting outside of a pub on the high street.
*mate = friend *naughts and crosses = tic-tac-toe *high street = main street
For more about Hyde’s experiences in London and Europe, check out her blog at sightsandsoundsoflondontown.tumblr.com.