Things To Know When Studying In The UK by Sophie Polak

It is understandable to be a little (if not extremely) nervous when going to study anywhere abroad. You’ll be far from home, often going it alone and experiencing all the new things a different place has to offer. If you are studying in the UK then here are some useful things you need to know regarding culture, preconceptions and how to deal with the weather!

Fresher’s Week

Fresher’s week at university is usually your very first week there, you may also know it as orientation week, where universities welcome new students and put on different activities for you to get involved in. Head down to the fresher’s fair, it is a great place to pick up freebies and vouchers for local businesses. This is also the week where your drinking and fancy dress ability will be tested, as bar crawls and nights out with a theme are the norm. Students do tend to take fancy dress quite seriously here, so pack some novelty items, get involved and get creative!

The Weather

You’ve heard all about it before, the notorious and unpredictable, grey British weather and the damp summers. Although it is something the British quite like to talk/moan about a lot it doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying themselves. The UK has some of the best summer festivals around, so get yourself a pair of wellies and join your new friends for a good old dance in the rain. The weather is also a key thing to small talk about! If you are ever stuck for conversation just say “terrible/great weather today isn’t it” it’s failsafe!

British Humour

Banter is going to be part and parcel of university life, with British humour made up of a bit of sarcasm and teasing. If you’re not used to this way of joking about, then you might think people are being horrible to you, but they’re not! It’s showing affection! If you really don’t the joke, then just smile and change the subject and you’ll be fine.

Cups of Tea

Yes, tea is a pretty big deal, but it’s a misconception that tea is drunk excessively and is the only hot beverage about! Don’t worry if you are a coffee drinker, the UK isn’t stuck in the Victorian times where high tea is served promptly at 2pm. There are many chain coffee shops that will offer you your favourite coffee drink from back home and all the supermarkets sell top coffee brands, so you won’t go without.

Currency

Just like driving on the left and having three pinned plugs, the UK likes to be different when it comes to currency too. The UK have opted out of the Euro which means the currency is Pound Sterling and if you are ever in doubt, the notes have the Queen’s face printed on them. If you are thinking of travelling elsewhere in Europe during your stay, the British Pound cannot be used to pay for anything in any other country outside the UK.

The best place to change up your currency whilst you are in the UK would be the Post Office, as they have student rates in a number of participating branches which will save you money. If you want to sell back your foreign currency, check the handy gadget below to see how much you will receive!

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