After living in London for a few weeks, I’ve realized that my notion of the people was completely wrong. From my study of the culture before arriving, I generally thought that people would be pretty quiet and keep to themselves. English culture values privacy. So naturally, that is what I expected. And I suppose there is some degree of privacy, but things are a lot different in the university setting.
When I actually met my UK flat mates for the first time, I was kind of scared. I was an outsider, coming from a country and state were people are pretty darn friendly. I guess I wasn’t worried that people wouldn’t be friendly; I just honestly didn’t know what to expect. But now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure a lot of what I was reading wasn’t talking about students at university. I guess I judged things too soon.
To my surprise, the students here are similar to students in the United States. Really one of the only differences I have found between our cultures is some of the language. I was prepared for dealing with the privacy of their culture, but I wasn’t as prepared for the language. They speak English, so I didn’t really think there would be a whole lot of differences in language. I mean, what could be that different if it is the same language? I forgot to consider the use of everyday sayings though.
I remember being at the Fresher’s Fair the first week. That’s like Roehampton’s equivalent of the student activities fair. At one of the booths they were doing a raffle for washing up. It was the Christian Union booth, so at first I thought it meant feet washing or something. But when I asked, which probably made me sound like an idiot, I found out that what they refer to as washing up in the UK is what we call doing the dishes in the US. It’s a subtle difference, but one that really confused me at first.
There are a lot of things that are different at university in the United Kingdom. Just look at some of Kate and my previous posts. The students though? If it weren’t for the accents and the lack of people wearing sweats everywhere (or trackies as they are called here), I’d probably forget I wasn’t in the states.