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Your reaction for an international student's native like english

As an individual born and raised in Hong Kong, I have spent most of my life attending an international school. Recently, I made the decision to switch from the IBDP programme to A-levels and I will be commencing my studies in Cambridge come September 2023.

Through my British teachers, I have developed an English accent which has led to confusion among my local friends and even students from other international schools in Hong Kong, who sometimes mistake me for someone who has grown up in the UK. I am genuinely curious about how people in the UK react to international students who speak English fluently and are mistaken for native speakers as a result. I would appreciate any insights into how such individuals are perceived and how to navigate any potential cultural differences or misunderstandings that may arise.

Thank You for your time!
Original post by marcytchu
As an individual born and raised in Hong Kong, I have spent most of my life attending an international school. Recently, I made the decision to switch from the IBDP programme to A-levels and I will be commencing my studies in Cambridge come September 2023.

Through my British teachers, I have developed an English accent which has led to confusion among my local friends and even students from other international schools in Hong Kong, who sometimes mistake me for someone who has grown up in the UK. I am genuinely curious about how people in the UK react to international students who speak English fluently and are mistaken for native speakers as a result. I would appreciate any insights into how such individuals are perceived and how to navigate any potential cultural differences or misunderstandings that may arise.

Thank You for your time!


At universities, most people don't really care.

The UK is multicultural and pretty diverse, so even if you look foreign but speak great English or speak with an English accent most would probably regard you as a native.

We have a number of foreign students studying in private schools, so it wouldn't be too surprising that they would assume that you did something similar.

For those who do make assumptions about your appearance, they would assume you're from abroad until they get to know you.

If they hear you speak in an accent but assume you're from abroad, they can ask about your background but this is rare. Most are polite enough not to pry unless you wish to say so.

I know of people who were in a similar situation to yourself and went to UK universities. They fit in fine with a number of people from various backgrounds. Some stayed in the UK to work for major companies.

You shouldn't feel alienated in a British university, but there would be some students who can come across superficial and segregate themselves amongst those they feel more 'familiar' with. It's an unfortunate fact of life, and it's to be expected. However, for the majority of cases (say 85-90% of the time), you're in good company.
(edited 1 year ago)
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Thanks!

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