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What is it like to study abroad in England?

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John Banks Profile
John Banks answered

I studied abroad in England back in 2015 at a Cambridge summer school and I had a blast! You’ll meet a lot of interesting people and make friends from all around the world. I stayed at Queens’ College, which was a historic college right in the center of Cambridge and spent the bulk of my weekdays studying in small group classes. I learned a lot about the course I was planning on studying at University, became more independent, and generally grew as a person.


When I wasn’t in class, I was exploring Cambridge and enjoying the beautiful scenery and architecture, hanging out with friends, eating fish and chips, and generally experiencing British culture


As an American, here are some of the biggest differences that I had to get used to while I was studying in England:


The Weather

I’m originally from LA, so the biggest thing for me was the weather. England has pretty miserable weather outside of the summer. It rains a lot, and it gets pretty cold in the winter. That being said, in the summer, the weather was really nice. It wasn’t too hot but it was warm enough to really enjoy walking around.


Walking Culture

Speaking of walking, the walking culture in England is another thing I picked up on as being different from America. In the US, I’m used to jumping in the car to get from A-B. In the UK, it felt like people walked a lot more. For example, I’d never drive to the supermarket, even though it was at least a 15-minute walk away.


The Lingo

Obviously, we speak the same language, but there are a lot of important differences between British dialect and American dialect that will catch you out. Fries are chips, chips are crisps, cookies are biscuits, erasers are rubbers, trash cans are bins… I could go on.


I guess a lot of it depends on which city/school you’re studying in/with. If you’re interested, I studied in England with a company called Immerse Education. You can find out more information about them and the course I did here: https://www.immerse.education/cambridge-summer-school

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Anonymous , Mate Here Is Something To Read , answered

We all know that our time spent at university could be the best years of our lives. It’s often the time we find ourselves, discover our true passions, leave our comfort zone, and explore new places. Studying abroad gives us an even greater chance at this. Whether for a few months, a year, or even for the duration of your studies, studying abroad is an opportunity to learn about a new culture, to meet new people, and to create memories unlike any other.

The United Kingdom is among the most popular study abroad destinations for many American students. There is no language barrier and this makes it easier to meet people, make friends, and excel at university studies. I am studying in Scotland, and as an American, I’d like to offer some insight into what it’s like to study abroad in the U.K., and what I wish I had known before I arrived.

Depending on what you’ve chosen to study, your academic workload may vary from manageable to intense. Usually in the beginning of your time studying abroad, professors won’t put as much pressure on you because they want you to get to enjoy the social aspects of university life.

However, although you may not have as much class, if you join a society you will definitely be spending time at uni. Societies are a big part of your experience here. You can sign up for as many as your time allows and participate as often as you like.

The fee to join a society is normally no more than £5, which gives you a years membership. These groups can be dedicated to sports, fandoms, hobbies, etc. Sports can range from rugby to Quidditch, and more creative clubs can range from art to cheese appreciation! These societies do weekly meetups at the university, however they also plan activities outside uni, such as pub crawls, games, and even society balls! Societies are a great way to make friends and get to know your host campus life better.

Your Living Situation

Aside from your coursemates, many of the lifelong friends you will make at ‘uni’ (the U.K. Nickname) are the people you live with while studying abroad. Student halls can either be university-owned or private and typically consist of shared flats between 6-8 people with one kitchen and two bathrooms. Living in the student halls is definitely a great way to meet people and make friends, and is usually budget friendly if you’re willing to have roommates or flatmates.

Your Living Situation

Aside from your coursemates, many of the lifelong friends you will make at ‘uni’ (the U.K. Nickname) are the people you live with while studying abroad. Student halls can either be university-owned or private and typically consist of shared flats between 6-8 people with one kitchen and two bathrooms. Living in the student halls is definitely a great way to meet people and make friends, and is usually budget friendly if you’re willing to have roommates or flatmates.

When it comes to the weather in the U.K., many people have the impression that it is always rainy, cold, and cloudy. Before I moved here I was convinced I'd never see the sun and I wondered if it'd make me miserable.

Once I arrived, I learned I didn't have to worry. Life in the U.K. Is designed with rainy weather in mind and there are a lot of cozy pubs and fun coffee shops to frequent and plenty of activities to partake in. You won't even notice the sun isn't there! And don't worry about packing an umbrella – almost no one uses one, especially among students. A rain-resistant jacket with a hood is all you'll ever need.

You might be surprised to learn there are distinct cultural differences between the U.K. And your home country. You might even experience some culture shock, so don’t be surprised if you feel a bit disoriented for the first few weeks you’re studying abroad here.

In addition to etiquette differences – you only say hello without a hug (like in the U.S.) or cheek kisses (like in Europe) – and language differences (be sure to understand the difference between “trousers” and “pants” before you go clothes shopping!), you’ll be surprised by the multitude of ways that people in the U.K. Have their own distinctive approach to life.

You might even find that you love these differences, and learn to differentiate between the regional nuances (like the differences between life in Scotland versus down in England).

If you’re thinking of studying abroad in the U.K., don’t worry too much – part of the fun of studying abroad is experiencing things for the first time and being surprised by all you discover.

You’ll soon discover that being a student in the U.K. Might vary quite a bit from what you’re used to back home but that’s no reason to stop you from studying abroad. You’ll enjoy your studies, make new friends, travel a lot (you’re a short flight away from many European cities!), and who knows, you might even come back knowing how to play the bagpipes if you study in Scotland like I am!

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