Logo for Costa Coffee

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I realize that while abroad, I will have some issues with language usage, references, biases and just knowing things that are commonplace to everyone else.

For example, in my “Creative Industries: Strategy,  Environment, and Management” class our first assignment is to do a strategic analysis of Costa Coffee. I have never in my life done a strategic analysis, moreover I have no clue what Costa Coffee is. It could be in the U.S. but I’m not a coffee fan, so I do not know. After giving us the assignment, Jeff, the professor asks if anyone does not know what Costa Coffee is. I raised my hand and realized I was the only one in the class who was unfamiliar with this business. One girl then looked at me and said, “What? You don’t know what Costa Coffee or Nero Coffee is?” In my mind, I was thinking, “No, I raised my hand because I wanted to stretch…of course, I dont know what that is!” This continued to happen as references were made that strictly pertained to the U.K.  I felt at a disadvantage because not only do I not know the references, but since I don’t know the references, I can’t fully understand the examples given which hinders me from fully understanding the concept discussed.

I wonder if that is what Anna felt like sometimes in class when we would make U.S. references.

Also, I have run across several people who have basically insinuated that my English speaking skills are inferior to their English because I do not speak the Queen’s English

For example, I was reading something that referred to “oestrogen.” I asked, if that was a hormone different from estrogen or was it the same thing.  My friend replied that it’s the same thing but that they spell it correctly. I inquired why is their spelling the correct way and if it was said differently because the “o” was in front. She replied that the “o” is silent. I asked then why is it there?  I’m still waiting on her response….lol

Conversation like that have happened when I spell something with a “z” instead of an “s” like “organization” instead of “organisation.” I really do not feel that the spellings or pronunciations are a big difference, nor do I feel like one form of English is better than another.

I have also met people who have a predetermined bias against Americans for one reason or another.

For example, I was on the bus and two British people were arguring. In the midst of the argument, one person said to the other, “This is not America! You can not have things your way.” In my mind, I wondered how did the U.S. get involved in their argument.

I was in McDonalds and an older gentlemen heard me talking and said, “You’re a yank, aren’t you?” Surprised, I stated “I’m from America if that is what you mean.” He continues and says, “I have met many American women and American women are loud, pushy….etc. I have no use for an American women.”

While in class my professor was giving a lecture and telling a story to emphasize his point. He said, “Is anyone from the U.S?” I was the only one who raised my hand. He then said, “Well, then I won’t say what I was about to say in my American accent.” I almost wanted him to continue his lecture so I will see what he would have said and how he would have said it.

But despite these differences of pronunciation, spelling, etc. the above mentioned conversations are few and far in between.

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