For those who don’t know me… hiiii! I’m Karina, a happy Peruvian. I left my country right before Wharton, so this is my first time living abroad and, more importantly, my first time speaking English.
I learned English basically for my GMAT and I have improved my English since I’ve been here (or at least that’s what I want to believe). But of course my accent, *sexy* pronunciation, and my American-issues ignorance have caused me to have some funny moments, so why not share them, right?
Here are my top three funniest stories at Wharton:
#1: Cohort picture
When I was in Q1, I was taking pictures with my cohort outside the MBA Café. Everyone was there and I saw Emily, who is in my Learning Team, wearing nice boots so I said out loud: ”Hey Emily! I love your boobs” and she was like: “What?” While everyone was cracking up I tried to correct myself so I said: “No, no, not your boobs… I meant your boots. Well, your boobs are also great.” Everyone was like: “OMG Karina, just shut up.” Hahaha 🙁
#2: Writing an article for the WJ
Last semester, I was writing an article for The Wharton Journal about the Pope who was coming to Philly. I wanted to explain how important his visit was for me as a Catholic, but I did not want to sound very “cursi”—a Spanish word that I didn’t know how to say in English. I looked it up in the dictionary and I saw that “cursi” in English is “corny”. Ok, I said to myself.
After that, to get some advice about my article I asked an American Catholic friend to help me. This was our conversation:
Me: Hey! Please help me with this article about the Pope because I’m struggling about how to transmit my ideas.
Friend: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I want to explain how important this is for me but I don’t want to sound “horny”.
Friend *surprised face*: What? OMG Karina! Of course you do NOT want to sound “horny” when you’re talking about the Pope! Come on!
Me *red face*: Oh nooo! 🙁
I was in an Uber with two friends going to Huntsman and we had this conversation:
Me: I’m soooo excited about my presentation today! It’s about Luxottica, the sunglasses company, so I’ll wear my sunglasses during the presentation! Like black men.
Friends *Horrified face*: WHAT?
Me: I’ll wear sunglasses like black men… you know! You have seen the movie, right?
Friends: Hmm… I think you meant “Men in Black”
Me *red face*: OMG! Yes! I’m soooo sorry! I just realized what I said. When I watched the movie in Spanish the title was “Hombres de Negro” so I translated it 🙁
Friends: Don’t worry… we know you, hahaha.
Bonus: It’s all about the time
Last year on a normal day, I woke up, looked at my watch, got ready, and went to Huntsman. When I arrived at school there was no one there! In the entire building! It was weird so I went to talk to the Security Guard (SG):
Me: Excuse me, do you know where everyone is?
SG *A little surprised*: Well…. There’s no one here because it’s 8 am.
Me: No, no, it’s 9 am (looking at my watch).
SG: It’s 8 am because last night we changed the time.
Me: Wait, WHAT? Can Americans control the time too? In my country we never change the time! Nobody sent me that memo 🙁 #FeelingLikeAnIdiot
I know these stories are funny, but there are some good lessons from them. First, never judge someone who says something inappropriate because that probably wasn’t his/her intention. Second, don’t take for granted that people do things in the same way (especially internationals). Finally, based on my personal experience, I really want to stay here in US after Wharton, so I’m making a big effort to improve my English and to learn how things work here. I can assume that a lot of international students are doing the same. So, if you’re an American and have the opportunity to be in contact with any of these international students, please have a little bit more patience.
In summary, if next time I see you I say: “I love your boobs” please don’t judge me 🙂