Over the past two weeks (which sometimes feels like months) I’ve, for the first time in my life, truly been living in a foreign language. Everyday, I have had a long, detailed conversation in French, everyday, I’ve learned a new word of slang, and everyday, my head has ached from spending hours concentrating as my French friends fired back and forth in rapid, colloquial speak.

For the first time, I began to understand how many of my friends in the US, those who are from other countries, feel living and learning English in the US.

  • Accent – for the first time, I became aware of my accent when I speak French. I could hear it, and it sounded…bad.
  • Mental Exhaustion – listening to people speak in a foreign language takes effort, it takes time. By the end of the night, I felt woozy, like I’d just taken the GMAT’s, mentally exhausted.
  • Perpetual Concentration – I was having dinner with a friend, speaking in French. If I stopped concentrating on her for a single second, I’d miss what she was saying. Keeping this concentration for an entire evening – quite the mental exercise.
  • 99% Ain’t Good Enough – if that one word you didn’t get is the most important one.

My FOB friends – I know have a newfound sympathy for you. However, that still won’t stop me from using lots of slang around you.

Asia Undercovered


Understand Asia. Nithin Coca's weekly roundup of the news, memes, trends, and people changing the continent.




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