Having a different name while in a foreign country

See the results of this poll: What do you think?

Respondents: 10 (This poll is closed)

  • A good idea : 0 (0%)
  • Depends on the situation : 10 (100%)
  • Not a good idea / Inappropriate: 0 (0%)

Well… I’ve lived abroad for two years, mostly in [name_f]England[/name_f] and then spent several months in [name_u]Sweden[/name_u], and I have not really found an answer to this question. I think it partly depends on what you’re comfortable with doing and what you can reasonably expect from other people. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though I am not a huge fan of my name, for me it felt insincere and even somewhat patronising to not introduce myself using my real name and how it’s supposed to be pronounced, but after while I started adding that people could call me by a shortened version of my name that is generally a lot easier to pronounce. I did that although I have two easy - very international - middle names I could have used instead, but I would have felt like a fraud if people figured out that I was going by a name that did not remotely resemble what people had been calling me for 20 years at that point. I think it’s important to take into consideration that I was going to be friends with these people so in that sense the connection was not necessarily meant to be just temporary.

Some people ended up using an alternate pronunciation of my full name and I was completely fine with that. In some cases the occasion didn’t call for me trying to explain the whole shtick with my name so I went straight for the nickname when introducing myself and if I would meet them again later and talked some more, I would be explaining to them what the real deal was with my name, granted I could easily communicate with them. I have a friend who did end up using an alternate version of her name, even though her name is not nearly as confusing as mine, but that was because she did not like the way people non-native speakers typically pronounced it. So in that sense it’s truly a matter of personal preference.

I am still not a big fan of the shortened version of my name, but it tends to work quite well. I feel like it’s better to have people call you by a name rather than having them avoid your name at all costs because it’s such a challenge for them. So I think perhaps what I might do in your situation, on the basis of my own experience, is to check with some people you meet there how easy your name really is to pronounce and then go from there.

I think it depends on the situation e.g. if I discovered that people could not pronounce my name or if it sounded like a rude word in the local language then I would probably opt to go by a different name.

From what I understand, in some parts of [name_f]India[/name_f] English or Western names are fairly common, so you may find that people already understand your name.

I think the beauty of having a classic name like [name_f]Julia[/name_f] is that it can be translated into multiple languages. I wouldn’t introduce myself as a different name unless it contained a sound that culture’s language didn’t have or sounded like a rude word/phrase.

I would first introduce myself with my given name, and then just roll with however the children/ other staff pronounce it. I worked in a daycare that was run and for people not of my culture/ language and that’s what I did. My parents actually liked the story and name so much it’s become one of my nicknames at home lol.