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Should I speak with an Australian accent when I go to Melbourne for uni?
Adrian Beale has the right answer. We’re quite used to people with different accents. The divide is more about international students not having the confidence to associate with the locals, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Reach out to locals, and they will befriend you; no need for the accent. We do judge, but we judge on demeanour, not on accent.
In my day (early 90s), the International Students numbers were lower—which meant that it was more difficult for international students to segregate. My main social group during Engineering, as it turns out, was East Asian. The group included people with Ocker accents (from the country), people with the East Asian variant of Received Pronunciation, and people with more clearly Chinese accents. In retrospect, I realise that I did not have a clear idea who was just off the boat, who studied here in high school, and who was descended from Chinese who came to the goldfields in the 1850s. (My money was on the Ocker sounding guy.)
It was clear that the group was mainly East Asian, plus one Greek (me) and one Fijian Indian. It was also clear that I wasn’t unwelcome, and that the group was not particularly insular. There was a countergroup of Anglos, who didn’t associate socially with the East Asian group, but certainly didn’t shun them either.
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