First week of classes are over and we are getting used to this beautiful place. Sometimes I stop and realize I am in England and get excited all over again. There are many differences that take some getting used to but everyone has been so friendly and willing to help us out. Sometimes just walking around I feel like I practically scream “I’m American” with my pastels, book bag, and tall boots (these aren’t seen often). It’s really obvious when I talk and almost always get “Where abouts are you from,” but it’s a great conversation starter. So what’s so different about the UK?
- The accents and certain words. I have to have people repeat themselves way more than they would like but I am learning. Some words/phrases that are different are…
- Bathroom = loo
- Silverware = cutlery
- Band-Aid = plaster
- Stove top = hob
- Jelly = jam
- How are you? = you alright?
- Friend = mate
- Elevator = lift
- Sweater = jumper
- College = university (uni)
- High school = college
- Major = course
- Classes = modules
- Parking lot = car park
- Trash can = bin
- French fries = chips
- Cookie = biscuit
- Standing in line = queue
- Underwear = pants
- They drive on the opposite side of the road. This is an obvious one but is so so confusing when you’re used to it being the other way around.
- The busses have two stories. No matter how cool you think it is to sit on the second floor, I don’t recommend it unless you have awesome balancing skills to get back down while the bus is still in motion.
- You have to take your own bags to the grocery store unless you want to buy bags there.
- Stores are unique. While there are some chain restaurants and stores, there are so many little unique coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants.
- “Cheers” is something you hear all the time. It’s like a “thank you”/”have a good day”.
- The light switches go the opposite way. Push down for on and push up for off.
- Stores close and open whenever at weird hours so you have to make sure to check the times before you leave.
- They use kettles to make coffee and tea.
There may be many differences but I couldn’t be happier to be here. We explored our little part of Leeds, called Headingley, yesterday and found the best milkshake shop. We went into the city to look around and I ate my first crêpe (nutella and marshmallows… yum). Luckily we have to walk about 30 minutes to the university, from our accommodation, every day so we are definitely getting our exercise.
I’m not usually one to like standing out in a crowd. I’d much rather not be seen and blend in, but being here has helped me change my outlook a little. While sometimes I feel weird not talking or dressing just like them, it makes me who I am. It is nice to have conversations with people about what it’s like where I am from compared to where they are from. I love getting asked “where abouts are you from” because it is a great way to meet people that I may have not had a conversation with if it wasn’t for my funny accent.
Being in a new place with different ways of life is so exciting to me because it opens my eyes to different perspectives. It allows me to be more empathetic with people that may have grown up way different than I did. Being here for 5 months gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this culture. We get to hang out with the other students, try the local food, and just experience life differently. I may have only been here for a little over a week but I highly recommend studying abroad or traveling. It gets you out of your bubble.
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
Cassie Miller – North Carolina State University – USA