My first time in the US was an exceptional experience, the people are welcoming and jovial, and the culture is rich and diverse. But there were differences that I spotted on the verbal side of things. I thought to myself, “Well I know English fairly well, I’ll be alright”. But there was quite a difference in the colloquial slang that I would love to share with any prospective international student–to save him/herself from the confusion of course!
Day 1: I, a shy boy, landed at O’Hare Airport. “Sir?” someone said. I didn’t think it was addressed to me, and I just continued to the baggage carousel. *Mind you this is my first experience in the US*. “SIR?!”, the sound persisted and I looked back at the screech. Turns out the woman was talking to me; she lent out her hand to give me my dropped wallet. I was overwhelmed. Firstly, my wallet! God Bless your soul! Secondly, “I’m not even eighteen, me? a SIR?” This idea persisted, life was different here, people are nicer, more welcoming. The kind woman even wished me a great day–wow she is genuinely nice. At this very moment, everything I was worried about University got thrown out the window. I was ready.
Day 2: I had moved into Forest quad, arguably the home for the best food on campus. I went ahead to get some lunch at around noon time. Surely enough, I was a klutz: as I was waiting for my food at the counter I bumped into a girl, I was embarrassed. But then she gave me a casual “you’re fine”. Where I come from, the weight those words carries is something along the lines of ‘I find you attractive,’ so I was more than elated-I even blushed! It wasn’t until a local friend of mine explained it to me (while I may or may not have been bragging about the girl that found me “fine”) that I found the true meaning. Ahh, what a wonderful language English is.