What People Are Really Asking When They Ask “Where Are You From?” (And How to Answer)

Valerie Benti
The Foreigner Blog
Published in
2 min readSep 23, 2020


Photo by NastyaSensei from Pexels

People are always asking other people where they are from, but what are they really asking? Here are some ways to answer that horrid question: “Where are you from?”

What they’re really asking: Where are you originally from?

How to answer: From a sperm cell and an egg cell combining and then approximately 9 months later I gut pushed out of a uterus, how about you?

What they’re really asking: Where were you born?

How to answer: Well, I was born on Earth when it was in that sweet spot when the sun was in Taurus, the moon was in Sagittarius, and Pluto in Scorpio.

What they’re really asking: No, where on earth were you born?

How to answer: Give them the exact GPS coordinates of the hospital you were born in.

What they’re really asking: Where is your family originally from? [especially if the former question’s answer is somewhere in the US]

How to answer: Here are my 23-and-me results. As you can see, I am 36.6% British, 25.7% French, 12.4% Eastern European, 21.6% “Broadly Northwestern European”, 3.3% German, and 0.4% Japanese. So, I guess you can call me Ms. WorldWide!

What they’re really asking: Where did you grow up?

How to answer: In the beautiful countryside with endless meadows and green rolling hills that is the Shire. Or at least that’s where I grew up in my mind.

What they’re really asking: Yah, but like you’re not from here?

How to answer: From this exact location we are right now? No, I’m not, are you?

What they’re really asking: But, your English is so good!

How to answer: Oh, I speak a language that basically the whole world speaks because of massive exposure to American and British TV, movies, and music? How surprising!

What they’re never asking: Where do you feel at home?

Because they don’t really care.

Conclusion: The best answer to “Where are you from?” is to take out your 23-and-me test, your full address history, and don’t forget to show that English proficiency test. You better cover it all!



Valerie Benti
The Foreigner Blog

Science-doer, -writer, and -comedian. Founder of Geeky Comedy Seattle.