English is my second language. Spanish is my third language. And yes I have an accent in both.
Don’t fall into traps to believe you don’t have an accent. You probably do. And what I’ve heard from everyone is: “be proud of your accent.” Your accent is who you are. It took me a long time to feel comfortable about it, but in the end of the day accents are a sign of strength (you know more than one language, duh!). It makes you different, and it makes you unique. So embrace it! Be proud of it!
Unfortunately, accents might put you in trouble every now and then. You might be mistreated, have prices hiked up because ‘you are a foreigner,’ or get a taxi driver who will drive you around the city assuming you don’t know where you are. It has happened to me countless time. Keep it cool (it is frustrating, I know, but it is part of the process)…
If someone look down on you because of your accent – and they will – remember you are speaking a second language. Don’t let a rude comment to put you down. People are afraid of what they don’t know, and what’s different – unfortunately you and your accent are different. They might mistreat you because they are afraid, or just because they want to protect their sense of community. It is not the most pleasing situation, but you will have to deal with it. Just remember, never ever generalize an entire community by one person who mistreats you, they are the exception.
Friends will make countless jokes with your accent. It is part of the process, and you will laugh with them. This is one of the most important lessons of living abroad: don’t take yourself too serious. Let them laugh at your accent, make jokes with it, but remember to be proud of speaking a second language.