I’ve been in Manchester for a week now, and I still haven’t had any lectures. They start this afternoon. Instead, I’ve met quite a few people. Most of them exchange students much in the same situation as me: Crummy accomodation, no network or obligations. But that can change quickly. Besides sharing a house with a german, a scot, an american, a welshman and two chinese, I’ve been hanging out with finns, germans, swedes, frenchmen, spaniards, italians, japanese, indians, austrians and the odd belgian. And on top of that there’s the mancunians who obviously are everywhere. Generally, there is such a wealth of strange english accents that it can make your head spin.
Trying to take part in a conversation between a german (they have trouble with the S’ses and generally try to avoid sounding like cartoon germans from an old WW2 flick), a chinese (they really do have trouble with L’s and R’s, my housemate Lei would say “Andleas”, so she has decided to call me Andy instead) and an italian (they tend to construct english sentences the italian way, and generally have a way of short-stopping their sentences to give their points more effect) can be quite a challenge.
And yet, it works. The internationals here are bursting with interest and a willingness to meet new people, it’s a joy to be part of. And funnily enough, it tends to be the mancunians themselves who are the least comprehensible. Maybe because they take their fluency for granted… yeah?