Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

(not all that shocking) culture shock

It’s crazy to believe how fast this first week has gone by. I still don’t really feel like I’m living in a foreign country, and again, I’m not sure if it will ever sink in. We had our first day of class yesterday, and I survived! It is going to be hard to get used to sitting in one class for three hours at a time, because I only attend each class once a week. Thankfully we were given a twenty minute break in the middle of each class to go get coffee or a snack other wise I’m not sure if I would have been able to keep myself awake. My first class of the year was British and European Cinema (I love being an English major!) which isn’t much different than the film class I took last year at UND. The biggest difference between classes here and at UND is the size. There were only 12 people in my class yesterday, and wait for it… 5 in today’s! And about 85% of the people in my classes, I live with. So that will be something that’ll be hard to get used to, and is kind of disappointing because they’re making it really hard for me to be able to make friends with anyone other than US students… Not to mention again that I already know most of them. I’ve been thinking about stopping by the University of London union, because I hear there are all kinds of clubs that I could sign up for which would help meet actual British people.


A few other things that I’m going to have to get used to:

1. Crossing the street.

I literally never know which way to look. Thankfully, a lot of the streets have “look right” or “look both ways” painted in front of the crosswalk, or I’d probably be dead by now.

2. The food.

Apparently Brits love their prepackaged food. It isn’t what it sounds like though. Literally every other “restaurant” you walk into is the same layout; you walk in, go up to a cooler, choose a sandwich/wrap and maybe some fruit or a yogurt, then go up and pay for it. The food is all made daily, but it’s soooo weird. It’s probably all much better for you than anything like that that we would pick up in the US but it’s like eating the same thing every day. Even the grocery stores have them. They all come in the same shaped box and all basically are combinations of the same foods. I felt like I hadn’t had a real meal since I got here, so one of the girls that I live with and I decided to take the two minute walk to the tex-mex place right down the street and had the best meal. (it was probably so good because we were so hungry… but still) I think I just found my new favorite place in London.

3. When they say a sandwich is ham and “pickle” they don’t mean real pickles.

I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t pickles. And it wasn’t good.

4. The diet coke is different.

…and it’s literally breaking my heart. Anyone that knows me,  knows how much I love my diet coke. Also, they don’t use ice in their drinks. When you go somewhere, you literally have to ask for water WITH ICE other wise they’ll give you lukewarm water, and the same goes with soda. …why?

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with this city. Coming to London, I didn’t really expect any serious culture shock. I’ve always heard that London is comparable to New York City (I’ve never been, but you get the point…) so I didn’t think much of it. I wouldn’t even really call this “culture shock” really. Just a very mild, less shocking, version of it. Whatever you’d call that…


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