I guess sometimes, people (UK students) forget that Cambridge or other universities for that matter is an international place. In my case, going to a school with people from 70 different countries tend to make you aware of what you’re saying and how it can be perceived by others. However, for a number of UK students, I suppose university is probably the first contact that they have with lots of international students in one place, and sometimes they forget that the people they’re talking to have different nationalities, cultures and views on things.
I usually have breakfast with a group of people, dubbed ‘The Breakfast Club’ by us. This morning, I saw a friend of mine, an exchange student from France in the hall so I beckoned him to sit next to me. We conversed with the people in my table when one of them stated, “I think Paris is an unattractive place.”
My eyes almost bulged out. Oops, the person who spoke didn’t realise my friend is French! I can’t say anything without being obvious, so I fervently hoped that the person would shut up or talk about something else.
“Yeah, I agree, it’s not that nice. But southern France is beautiful,” quipped my friend.
Phew! He didn’t take offence. That was fortunate. Bloodshed avoided. Though in the future, some people might want to screen what they’re saying to avoid potentially awkward moments.