Real Talk: Internationals from England share their shock talk


By Jade-Marie Gilbert

Arriving at Union, we were confronted with a pamphlet entitled “You may experience culture shock.”

Pfft! was my initial response. I’ve seen American Pie I, II, III and IV. I’m totally prepared for this!

Although several of the clichés are on the mark (you do drink from red cups, and Poptarts are a taste sensation) I have yet to see a Big Mac bigger than a baby whale and no one has told me stories about having a trumpet shoved up their back side (little disappointed).

The biggest shock to my system has been the language barrier. While trying to be as politically correct as possible for the sake of good journalism, you Americans just can’t appreciate my very British accent to its full capacity, so much so that I have to speak more Dame Judi Dench than Eliza Doolittle.

I flew over to the U.S. of A. with a dear friend of mine, who, in her best spoken English, warned me in the nicest way possible: “If you talk like that here, no one is going to understand a word of what you’re saying, you cockney mongrel.”

So if you want a laugh, come find me first thing in the morning, after a couple of (legal) beers or after a conversation with ‘me Mum,’ and try and get me to pronounce:

“How are you today? I feel a little tired.”

Your ears will be delighted.

“Ay’ up’ me duck, feeling like a wolly on a roundabout.”

But in all seriousness, every day I’m here I dread leaving a little more. Your country, people and culture are amazing, and after getting over the initial shock and learning to control my chimney-sweep dialect, I can honestly say I love it.

But I’m only here for one term, so please send me home with an accent Morgan Freeman would be proud of, and a few stories of one time at band camp.


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