A British student’s advice to international students.
Here are five random (but useful!) things you should know about living in England.
1. It is not just the accents that differ across the country but words!
There is disagreement here about what to call a bread roll: Is it a bap? Is it a bun? Is it a cob? Is it a bread-cake ? Is it something else entirely?
The answer will depend upon where you are in the country and where you have grown up!
There is also a generic North-South divide about the name given for an evening meal. Southerners tend to call it ‘dinner’ whereas Northerners typically say ‘tea’.
But then, if someone invites you to tea do you expect to have a hot meal or thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches?
Tea for some refers to afternoon tea which is a tradition of eating sandwiches, cakes and scones alongside a pot of English breakfast tea.
You’re best to clarify this before you go round someone’s house for ‘tea’.
2. You will be asked “How are you?” by A LOT of people!
It is very typical of us here to ask “Hi, how are you?” even when just walking by in a rush:
“Hi, how are you?”
“Hi, good thanks! How are you?”
“Good thank you. See you later!”
I have had a few of my international friends say that they have been asked this question by people they are not so close with and thought that they had to give a genuinely honest answer of how they are emotionally feeling right at that moment!
3. The go to topic is … the weather
It may be cliché but we LOVE talking about the weather and our media loves talking about the weather!
My Mum is a very good example. Every weekday she will ‘watch’ the 30 minute national evening news at 18:00 – 18:30 just to listen in on the weather for the last 5 minutes. She will then do the same with the 18:30 – 19:00 local news!
4. We use both imperial and metric
We use a baffling blend of both unfortunately … sorry about this! We seem to have a lot of traditionalists who are hanging on to the old fashioned methods so we tend to use both. I can tell you that I am 5 foot 7 inches which is 170.18 cm!
5. When summer has truly hit then the ice-cream vans will be out!
Traditional seaside towns are full of ice-cream vans in the summer months selling ice-creams to kids and adults (no matter your age, a sweet treat is always craved!)
A classical beach treat in England is a Mr Whippy, sometimes referred to as 99.
Make sure to try this soft serve ice-cream one time (I once received a free one on the University of Lincoln campus from the Student’s Union!)
By Lydia Gallyer-Barnett, BA (Hons) Business Economics student