As an international student, I was very excited about trying new things at the beginning of the term, but as a “non-proficient” speaker of English, I felt constantly frustrated by the language barrier which hindered my access to information and ability to communicate with my class.

My frustrations contributed to a deep sense of loneliness which became the focus of my research. I became interested in personal perspectives of loneliness, in particular those of non-native/proficient speakers of English.

This digital space contains interviews conducted with international students in London. Through a series of playful Interactions in typography, it aims to facilitate empathy and an understanding of the challenges that communicating in a second language presents.



I didn’t find it as hard as arriving at a new school in a new city could be, but I do remember comparing myself with perfect English speakers and thinking ‘I could never be as comfortable as they are’. I felt a bit like a fish out of water in that respect, but this was probably just my perception of the situation. The people I was comparing myself with were maybe not any more comfortable than I was.

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I don’t really find it difficult to socialise in English.

Language is only a part of mutual interaction.intercommunication. I don’t normally feel uncomfortable when speaking English, but I do feel there are some differences in expressionsexplanationsexpressionsexplanationsexpressionsexplanations in English compared with my native language. I might tend to be more distantshydistantshydistantshy in some situations.

Because English is not my native language I found it difficult to socialise using English when I first arrived in the UK. I felt intimidated and shy when I didn't understand the sense of humour, dialect or lack of directness.

This is not bad.
This is good.
I almost agree.
I don't agree at all.
That is a very brave proposal!
You are insane!

A muted situation. Mostly I feel really frustrated and embarrassed. The environment was not a safe space or a comfortable occasion for me anymore. I decided to ‘mute’ myself. Stop sharing, stop talking, stop smiling. Just listening, be silent.

Stop sharing,
Stop sharing,
stop talking,
stop talking,
stop smiling.
stop smiling.
Just listening,
Just listening,
be silent.
be silent.

I don't know much about the social contexts and cultural backgrounds of the UK. Everyone is from different countries and it's hard to find a general understanding sometimes. I try to use easy words and repetition to describe one thing which is bothering me.

I was not always used to speaking in English before I arrived in London. I felt extremely nervous. Because I still found it hard to understand what the native speakers were saying.

Contributors: Baki, Betty, Michelle Lin, Pei-Yu, Wen Chen, Yuan Xiao
© 2020 An Invisiblle Wall. All Rights Reserved.
Visual Design By Bo-Yu Chen
Front-End Development By Chiun You

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