However, there are more differences than you might initially realize. You may occasionally come across a British phrase or two that will trip you up, and the UK way of doing certain things might blindside you at first. Coming to England presents some challenges, and is an adjustment for sure. It’s normal to feel a little lost and silly as a foreigner at first—you’re definitely not alone! Here’s a list of ten stupid things you’ll likely do within your first month here. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
1. No matter how many times you learn about pub etiquette, you’re going to forget to note your table number before you go up to the counter to order.
2. You’re going to call biscuits cookies to a cashier’s face.
3. Someone will greet you with, “alright?” and it’ll catch you off guard, so you’ll just awkwardly say hi and give them a little wave.
4. You’ll be slightly surprised when you order fish and chips and french fries come out of the kitchen instead of Lay’s.
5. You’ll cringe when someone calls it “the toilet” instead of the restroom or bathroom. (It just feels wrong somehow.)
6. You’ll feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of monarchs you have to know for your first British Studies quiz. This will lead you to go on YouTube to look up songs that will help you remember said kings. You will find one written for children, and you and your roommates will jam to it until you know that song forwards and backwards. (Then King Stephen/it’s true, check it/I’m Henry II/killed Thomas Beckett!)
get off at the wrong stop. (Who knew Abbey Road station
is different than the Beatles’ Abbey Road?)
8. For a millisecond, you’ll forget that they drive on the left side of the road and be utterly convinced you’re going to die in a head-on collision.
9. You’ll say something is fifteen
dollars first, quickly correct yourself and change
it to euros, and only then will you remember
that they actually use pounds in England.
10. Forgetting that some places in England use military time, you’ll accidentally book a train ticket for 8 in the morning instead of 8 in the evening. (20:00=8:00.)
And all of these things are okay!
You’re not here to feel smart: you’re here to learn. What’s the point of traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of pounds (which is basically millions of dollars with the sad, sad conversion rate) to get the exact same experience you could be having at home?
Even though you might feel a little lost and dumb in a new place, just remember why you’re here. You came to Harlaxton College to broaden your horizons and experience new things, and there’s nothing stupid about that.
Written by: Taylor Gates