What I have learnt from my Year Abroad #1
English people are used to hearing foreigners speak English.
Because I have a slightly darker skin tone than most Brits I was often barked at in Spanish or Catalan on the street or at University and when I replied with less than perfect accuracy or with a clearly non-native accent (particularly at the start of the year) I was frequently treated with an incredibly rude response!
I generally got an ‘uff’ before they turned away or a shrug of the shoulders but the worst I have ever experienced was from a woman at my University. What annoyed me the most was that she was an adult, (not that rude behaviour should be expected of anybody, but many of the students my age shocked me with their lack of social skills and maturity). I replied with correct clear Spanish, with all the information that she asked of me and because of my accent she turned to somebody else, stated that I was English, smirked and asked them the same question. To which she received the same response.
This was the story of my year abroad, I encountered so many rude people it really did put me off trying to speak!
I think the main thing to take from this is that (with thanks to Borat) English people are so familiar with the English language in all different accents and often very broken, they will still try to communicate as best as they can with the person. Spanish people don’t seem to have this patience, so I guess I just need to work on my accent…