…you start mixing English with your native language. When talking in Finnish, I too often find myself dropping random English words in the middle of sentences. This happens especially when I’m talking about university-related stuff that’s all in English in my head. Sometimes I don’t even know the proper translation for some words. This of course sounds rather horrible but it’s really hard to stop!
…you get used to the fact that (almost) no one understands your native language. I have some Finnish friends in Stockholm and with them nothing is too embarrassing or personal to talk in public anymore. And then sometimes it happens that there is someone who understands and they look at you like you’re crazy.
…one of the first questions you ask a new person is “So where are you from?” Your class and the parties you attend are full of people from all around the world so the chances that the other person is not from Sweden are pretty high. Talking about your home countries is also a pretty safe topic to get the conversation going.
…you know the struggle of trying to fit your life into a few suitcases. When you’re moving between countries often, you become a master at packing. It’s really amazing how much stuff you can fit into a hand luggage bag. You also learn to get rid of stuff you don’t need because, well, having a lot of stuff just makes constant moving so much harder.
…you get used to people pronouncing your name wrong. Meri usually turns into “Mary” or “Marie” or something similar. And I don’t even expect people to learn how to say my weird Finnish surname.
…you have friends everywhere. This is one of the best things about being an international student. Someone to show you the coolest clubs in Berlin? Check. A place to crash in Amsterdam? Check. There are so many places you can travel to where you have a local show you around and tell where to go.
Just some thoughts how life is different when you become an international student. Have a great week everyone!