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I'm going to the UK

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Oaz, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    And I'm from the USA.

    Here's the deal. I'm working on an application to study abroad next year in Oxford University. Since the opportunity to study somewhere as prestigious as Oxford is a huge one, I'm more than interested in taking the chance to go to England.

    On the other hand, I'm anxious that being American may cause some stickiness -- at the very least, with faux pas and the like. Thankfully, SP is full of Europeans.

    So -- I'm an American who's never set foot in Europe, and I'm planning to stay in UK for a semester. As a American, what should I be doing and not doing?
     
  2. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Don't say 'semester', don't say 'soccer', don't say 'fries', don't call places you visit 'quaint' (the most annoying thing about Americans in Britain...) - basically don't say anything bloody stupid. Treat the place, and it's people with respect and you'll get on fine and see that respect returned. You're in Britain, not the USA, so act like it. Get yourself in the local pubs, visit a few footy games, drop all your walls and inihibitions and you'll have a right laugh. That's it really.
     
  3. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    BA -- I don't know how helpful your advice is when you say, "don't say anything bloody stupid". I don't know what exactly qualifies as "bloody stupid" in England -- it's partly why I'm asking this question. I don't know what word to use in place of "semester" ("term"?), I don't know what gets perceived as respect and what gets perceived as phoniness, and I don't know what acting like being in Britain means.

    Maybe you could be more specific?
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    As a foreigner who went to live in England for a while, I would say just be a nice person. Have an open mind and get to know people. Same sort of advice for going to live anywhere new really.

    Be prepared for there to be lots and lots of little differences from what you are used to.

    Don't take any "American" jokes personally. People will poke fun at you a bit, but it'll all be in good fun, and no different to the way that Americans probably poke fun at stuffy English stereotypes. It's all in good humour so take it that way.

    Just have fun.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Oaz (oops) , first congrats. Second, of course the brits will rub it under your nose that you're from Bushistan. They do the same to Germans with WW-II, and that war is over for 50 years now. You'll get used to it :shake: Except for that Brits are fabulous hosts and very nice people to get along with. Not to mention that Oxford is used to guests.

    Try to mix with as many foreigners as possible, avoid staying with Americans only. It'll be a great experience.

    [ March 26, 2007, 19:25: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
     
  6. Carcaroth

    Carcaroth I call on the priests, saints and dancin' girls ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I doubt you'll have any problems, particularly with going to University.

    However, please remember that the majority of exposure the Brits get to the American public is the trailor trash that appears on Jerry Springer type shows. It does colour our views somewhat. Then again, going to Oxford Uni, the people will probably be exactly how they are portrayed on American TV.

    I have to admit I am somewhat biased against Oxford University. When I looked round (some 13 years ago), the engineering department was distinctly crap and I didn't like the feel of the place - Cambridge was far better. I understand, at least as far as engineering goes, there are a number of companies that won't look at Oxford graduates.
    I haven't heard anything since to change my mind - I had a female friend who went through hell doing a PhD there - the physics department appears to be full of male weirdo's who wouldn't accept her.
    There are also some very silly regulations in some colleges - Things like not living outside of a given radius from the centre and having to get permission if you're going anywhere else - even for a weekend. The graduation ceremony I've heard described is demeaning and degrading - you have to walk in on your knees whilst clutching the fingure of a senior college member. They're also not know for teaching "life" skills but employ people to do your washing and sewing for you.

    Sorry, rant over, it's probably not as bad as I think it is.
    Oh, and an example of "Bloody Stupid" is an American tourist overheard in Stratford, East London, proclaiming to her friends that this is where Shakespeare came from.
     
  7. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    Oh, and never say anything about 'europeans'. Nobody'd think that offensive as such, I think, but at least strange if nothing else. Might even make an impression that you're...ahem...not cultivated enough to make the distinction between separate countries...

    But I'm sure you would leave that out in any case once you've set your foot on the British soil. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    When you're here though, don't just travel to London. Go to Manchester, go to Newcastle (GREAT night out in Newcastle, superb), visit Liverpool. All these places have things to offer and are wicked places.

    Just don't go to a town and say 'Oh look, how quaint!' because there's nothing more irritating or demeaning to be honest. I came to the conclusion a while ago that American tourists/visitors just had no idea when they were really putting their foot in it. Don't say how American things are better than British things or constantly compare, which includes sports, foods, weather.. well, anything, just don't!

    Find a good local that sells proper ales, a nice meat and potato pie with some mega greasy chips. Buzzin'! There's also quite a few good nights out over here, so enjoy it.
     
  9. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    Cardiff is another great place to visit, theres nothing like watching a rugby match at the millenium stadium and then hitting the night life afterwards.
    travelling around the UK is simple, trains go everywhere and from oxford no train journey should take more then 3 hours.

    britain is very multi-cultural be aware that you will encounter people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis, likewise the variety of food in the UK is huge, in any large city you will be spoilt for choice.

    as for advice, the strong sports here are football and rugby- learn something about them, watch a few games and youll notice yourself fitting in. also, the UK is called Britain, i know that many americans think that the whole island is called england, but it is not, listen to accents and try to learn what a scottish, welsh and irish person sounds like - never refer to any of the above as english- they are either welsh, scottish, irish or they are british.
     
  10. Sarevok• Gems: 23/31
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    Just tell everybody you're Canadian, and you'll be fine ;) Nah... There is a little anti-American feeling these days, but most people don't give a ****, and it's just light hearted piss-takery really. In fact, don't even try to "fit in" for the sake of people here, be as American as you want to be. Just stay away from the scum hole areas within the city. Most student accomadation areas are very multicultural.

    [ March 23, 2007, 18:00: Message edited by: Sarevok• ]
     
  11. Dalveen

    Dalveen Rimmer gone Bald Veteran

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    There is nothing wrong with calling them Semester, its what my Uni does. Most uni's have "terms" because they have 3 of them. My uni has only 2 "Semesters".
     
  12. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    and don't forget to go to the dentist before you arrive. :lol:

    Long live Austin Powers
     
  13. Sarevok• Gems: 23/31
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    Not really. Large British cities are very multi-cultural, but no where near as multi-cultural as NY or LA, so if that's what you're used to, it won't be anything new, and smaller cities like Oxford are not very multi-cultural at all, certainly not to the extent of Birmingham and London.
     
  14. Carcaroth

    Carcaroth I call on the priests, saints and dancin' girls ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Though there is a lot of foreign students (particularly Far-eastern ones) at Oxford because the University likes their money. Also too many tourists.
     
  15. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    Don't just hang around Oxford all of the time, most of them will be toff's so be aware the type of people you will meet there will only be a very small minority of the general British public. Good places to visit would be Liverpool, Newcastle (those two especially for the accents), Manchester and you really should try and visit London in your time here. People may notice from your accent that your American but just be yourself and you'll have a great time.
     
  16. Sarevok• Gems: 23/31
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    I think that you should go to London, at least once. I'm not sure about everywhere else, Oxford is a nice enough city, it's a more afluent city, certainly I wouldn't want to leave it to go run around Manchester for a day... Sorry, but Manchester is a hole, and btw, taking into account unemployment, crime, and all that other stuff, it's rated as the worst city in the UK. It may be 2nd worse this year, but it's always up top. Anyway, what I meant to say, was why would you go to Newcastle, or Manchester, or any of those big nasty cities, when there are so many other nice areas in the country to visit? There are lovely little seaside towns all over Devon, places in the Lake District area, some of Wales is really nice in the summer too, but hey, this guy is a student, he can't just jump on a train and go wherever, that costs money!
     
  17. Rhythm Gems: 11/31
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    [​IMG] I've just been to England and here's a few advice I can give. Don't wear a Newcastle jersey if you're in Sunderland. Do not wear a shirt bearing the Arsenal insignia if you're in Chelsea. And under no circumstances should you EVER wear a Liverpool jersey in Manchester, especially if you're there for a stadium tour. I've seen people get stopped/threathened in the streets for the above.
     
  18. Sarevok• Gems: 23/31
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    You would have to be pretty stupid to do such a thing in the first place...
     
  19. Rhythm Gems: 11/31
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    Yeah I sort of meant it as a joke. I mean, who would ever go on a Manchester United stadium tour? ;) hehe. But seriously though, I saw this couple of teenagers wearing Man U jerseys just walking around in Sunderland and this guy in a car who saw them started honking like a madman. He was at a red traffic light and got out of the car with a mean look on his face. He started walking towards those kids but luckily for them the light turned green and he was forced to return to his car and drive off. Hmm, I wasn't aware of any hostility between Sunderland and Man U fans, especially with Roy Keane being the gaffer.
     
  20. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    There's pretty much hostility between anyone and Man U fans :p . It's pretty stupid to walk around another town/city with another's football shirt on, no matter who it is!
     
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