Archive for the ‘culture shock’ Category

‘Ello England!

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

The Hurricane was a whole bunch of hype back home but a good bit of turbulence on the way to Heathrow. And that’s right kids, I’m in merry ol England! (Hum “Rule Brittania” with me). After I landed in England I was greeted with seeing my breath in the air and oh those adorable accents. Hopped a bus to Bath and here I am! I feel like I’ve stepped into a different century here. Buildings are still here from the Roman era, Bath Abbey was built in 1499 and everywhere else is Georgian architecture. Stores are tiny and utilize basements and attics rather than a wide space, which I think makes the experience a bit more quaint. Tourists are rampant, but that’s expected with a gem like Bath.

I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced any culture shocks just yet, although here it does seem socially acceptable to be a bit ruder to strangers. I saw a bus driver yell at a woman for cutting in line, telling her “The world does not revolve around you, Madam!” I’ve also seen pedestrians yell at motorists to move over and let them by. It’s somewhat refreshing, actually. I guess I’m allowed to do it too, granted I’ll adopt a faux British accent. As with most cities, the roads are treacherous, but moreso here. A car will not stop for you, even if you make eye contact with the driver and give them the polite “Thanks” wave. Our program director told us they’ve only had three or four incidents where students are hit by cars (only, eh?) so we need to be careful. Although people at pubs are more than welcoming, and I don’t mind being teased for the Yankee accent! And I also witnessed a girl getting arrested and trying to fight the cops, and they were very polite to her during the whole ordeal. So perhaps rudeness only applies to annoying pedestrians or drivers who are ego-centric, who knows.

 

     The first week has been orientation with other students, a private tour of Bath Abbey, and diagnostic essays to give our professors (they call them tutors) an idea of our ability to crank out a good essay jetlagged. We’ve done a lot of exploring as well! Here I am at the Royal Crescent, so named for its status as a royal residence for some past important people. Now there’s a mini hotel there and the rest is residences. I definitely attempted to see Bath from an upperclass 18th century perspective and napped on the Crescent lawn. What can I say, I’m truly dedicated to reaching these historical instances, including sitting in a cafe all day with tea. Oh, and subs are served on baguettes, not sub rolls. :) The bacon is much better here too.

 

 

 

      I definitely took advantage of little things back home–like water pressure in the shower, a convenient drive to get groceries, lots of sunshine. You walk everywhere here. And while it’s not a particularly long walk, I’m sure it will have its cons when the weather drops to below freezing. I’m convinced that’s why the English are so fond of tea. It’s the perfect accessory when it’s bleak outside!

Here I am with one of my roomies in front of Bath Abbey. You can see the woman in the background singing and dancing, she was doing an opera version of “Scarborough Fair” if memory serves me correctly. As for my bucket list, nothing is accomplished yet. However, I signed up to play touch rugby (I only want to get push tackled, not actual tackled) near the end of September. So we’ll see how many injuries I’ll be able to avoid when everybody’s gunnin for the American :) It looks like Oktoberfest isn’t in the cards, because study trips and our Oxford trip coincide with the dates. I may have found a suitable alternative however–Prague! I’ve been working on the anti-Austen conversion, but so far the girls here are diehard Jane-iacs. Just give me time, I’m sure I can wrangle something out of them. We go to Stonehenge, Salisbury and Lacock tomorrow. Expect amazing stories!