All of my study abroad friends have made their way back to the States while I am here chilling with my British friends and famiIt’s Its a bit lonely, but I am using this opportunity to reflect. When I started the semester, there were a lot of things that did not surprise me due to the fact I had been to England before (I spent a summer here when I was younger and I visit my family here every few years). Regardless, studying at university here has taught me a few things – here are my top 5 picks.

#1

For some strange reason, quite a few Brits seem to be very interested in American politics.

what can international students learn while they are in the UK

One thing I noticed right away is that if you tell people you’re American, they next thing they will ask you is for your opinion on Donald Trump. And after you explain there is no way you’ll ever vote for Donald Trump they’ll proceed to tell you their opinions of him. Usually, the negative feelings towards Trump are consistent, but my roommate told me she has run into a British Trump supporter before… thank God that guy can’t vote in the US elections.

#2

There are even more differences between American and British English than I thought.

what can international students learn while they are in the UK

I jokingly told some British guys that they “don’t even speak proper English” and they lost it. It’s really interesting to go over the differences between American English and British English. I had this discussion with my housemates and it was funny to argue over words like aluminum, ladybug, herbs etc. I already knew some British slang because of my family, but I got to know a whole lot more over the last four months.

#3

Time management is your friend and procrastination is your frenemy.

what international students learn while they are in the UK

Friends, being a chronic procrastinator isn’t going to cut it. I would know. Time management is very important if you want to get through the semester without any headaches. Most courses here in England seem to require about 1-3 big assignments that make up your final grade. Sounds like the dream, right? Wrong! What this actually means is when you have an assignment, you better do a damn good job on it or else you’re screwed. It’s nearly impossible to save your grade if you only have two assignments each worth 50% of your final grade – and you don’t get organised to do well in both of them.

#4

Teachers here can be way more forgiving.

what do international students learn while they are in the UK

Lecturers here seem to be far more generous than my professors back home. Over this one semester, I have gotten extensions on at least three different assignments. This would never happen at my home university. Lecturers here just need a real reason and they will more than likely give you an extension or pardon a late submission.  However, this may not be true for all courses.

#5

It’s important to get to know your host city.

what do international students learn while they are in the UK

Continental Europe is just a short flight away, so it’s tempting to start planning your travels.  But it’s as important to explore where you are, too. Before I left for the UK, my friend told me to take some time to explore London. This was the best advice as there really is so much to see.  I did decide to stay in the UK after my study abroad semester was over so I could explore London even more. I can now navigate public transportation here without even blinking an eye – a skill I desperately needed. Wherever you are, I urge you to take time to explore your host city.

Meet me, Debbie!

I may have been born and raised in the midwest (USA), but I know a thing or two about the UK. I am fortunate enough to have family here and to have been able to visit them every few years since I was a kid. Although, this is my first time studying in the UK.

I am a very multi-interested person and cannot seem to pin point which one of my interests I enjoy the most.  Some of my many interests include: anime, TV shows, movies, fashion, drawing, graphic design, music, video games, traveling, reading, experiencing new things, learning about different cultures and languages… the list could go on.  I just hope my multitude of interests and  “not a tourist, not a local” views can be of some use to anyone reading this.

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