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

10 British Foods

Time April 26th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

For the most part, British food is the same as American food, but there are some foods that seem unique to the British palate or are food obsessions.

1) Curry
In Leeds, there are curry shops everywhere! Some of them are chain restaurants, like Jaldi-Jaldi, but the smaller takeaway (carryout) shops dot every corner. Chicken Tikki Masala is the #1 British food right now, not fish & chips (I’ll get to that later). For those of you who don’t know what curry is, it’s an oriental dish that is made of bite-size portions of meat simmered in a sauce & served with rice or noodles. The sauce is what makes it curry, and it’s full of spices and usually thick. I absolutely love it! My perception of its popularity may be a little skewed though, since my second family has a Jamaican heritage and likes things spicy (in general, the British are known to have a bland palate). I don’t think curry is very popular in the US, but if you want to try something new & amazing, find a good Indian restaurant.

2) Potatoes
I live in catered student housing, meaning I eat most of my meals in a cafeteria. So I’m not positive whether potatoes are a British food obsession or of they are just trying to fill is with carbs. Either way, they serve them every night & occasionally at breakfast. Most popular are chips (our equivalent to steak fries), but we also have them boiled, mashed, mashed then deep fried as fat stick, served as hash browns, or oven baked to crispy goodness. They haven’t served scalloped potatoes yet, so maybe that is an American thing.

3) Fish & Chips
Fish & chips is to the UK what pizza is to the US. If you don’t feel like cooking, get fish & chips takeaway. Skip the ketchup (ok, only sometimes…I still love the sweet, tangy dip), and go for salt & vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, or a sweet chili sauce. All the above are delicious!

4) Pastries
When I hear the word pastry, my thoughts go towards a sweet dessert. Here, pastries are often meat filled and served for lunch. Instead of stopping at McDonalds for a quick bite, find a local pastry shop. Prices are really cheap, although its not the healthiest option, and you can eat on the go. While you’re there, see of they also sell flapjacks. Flapjacks are not pancakes, but rather oat bars, and extremely good!

5) Mint
Mint is something I would consider unique to the English palate…or at least it doesn’t really fancy mine. It’s most often served with lamb, as a dipping sauce or baked into the gravy of a mint pie. I’ve tried both ways, and neither was really a favorite, but perhaps it’s just me.

6) Tuna
Growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of tuna, so maybe that’s why I don’t fancy it. But tuna seems to be on every lunch menu here. They serve it traditionally on a sandwich…but the huge shocker for me was a tuna jacket potato. Jacket Potato = Baked Potato Why would anyone in their right mind want tuna on a baked potato? Curry jacket potato, yes please! Chili jacket potato, yum! Cheese jacket potato, yes! Tuna jacket potato……..what?!?

7) Scones
Loveliness! That’s all I need to say. In the US, I was used to the dry, hard, triangle shaped scones served at Starbucks that definitely must accompany a drink, but are good none the less. Here, scones are much lighter, softer, and just plane delicious. They remind me more of a sweet biscuit, which Britain doesn’t really an equivalent of. Biscuits & gravy is a crazy concept to them, because what they call biscuits we call cookies (or tea biscuits), and they don’t often use a white gravy. I was so happy to introduce that recipe to the Miller family! Nana & Pops, you would be well received in their house!

8) Spreads
The British love sauces and spreads! At the grocery store, a full isle will be dedicated to fruit preserves, chutneys, and other sauces. At a really nice restaurant we went to for Rachel’s birthday, once they delivered our meals the server came back with a plate full of spread & sauces for us to put on our plate. Oh, and they have marmite, which is a dark brown, sticky, salty, & savory spread made from yeast extract. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s common knowledge that you either love it or hate it.

9) Custards
Pudding (which refers to dessert in general & not just the milk-based food) is often served with a custard, yoghurt, or other sauce to pour on top. It doesn’t matter if it is cake, pie, brownies, or sometimes fruit…drench it! I personally love this, since brownies in a bowl of milk and tres leches cake are some of my personal favorites. Ambrosia is a popular brand of rice puddings & custards that I love.

10) Italian-Style Pizzas
Although there are some US chain pizza restaurants (Pizza Hut & Dominos), I think Italian-style is more popular. By Italian-style, I mean thin crust and amazing toppings. I think I prefer it this way, because the toppings are usually fresh & the main attractions, as opposed to focussing on lots of crust, sauce, and cheese. But I also miss stuffed crust…which in my book reigns supreme.


Start of Class

Time January 25th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

This week was the start of classes at Leeds and I’ve been to all mine at least once. Most of my classes just meet several times a week in normal lectures like I’m used to. Well, normal in the fact that the professors stand at the front of the room and….lecture. Not normal in the fact that all of them are in lecture halls with 60-100 people. I’ve never been in a math class larger than 30, and that was just one. Almost all the rest of mine have been somewhere between 8 and 15. I only know of two actual “lecture halls” at Butler. All of the classes I’m in here in Leeds are in lecture halls like you see in the movies. We sit in theater seating and the professors use large projectors and movable white boards to teach. The funny thing is that in the building I’m in, the lecture halls are situated on the front and back of the building along 4 different staircases. You enter the room through skinny doors along the stairs that go strait into the different rows. It is possible to go in the bottom door and walk across the front, then go up the stairs on the other side of the room and pick a row then, but I usually just sit in row B or C and enter from the stairs. Next week we start having workshops, which are smaller group meetings where we can talk about homework problems and ask questions. Today is my free day, which I’m taking full advantage of. I cannot wait for a day to relax and catch up on some reading :0)


Pictures of Leeds & London

Time January 18th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I didn’t realize until after I had published my last post that I’m not able to go back and add pictures…so instead, I’m adding them separately to this post.

Friday & Saturday
Pictures from when we arrived in Leeds and then traveled by train to London

Pictures from the one day I spent exploring London with my mom before she went back to the states


Getting to Know Me

Time January 11th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It’s five days before I leave for England, and obviously a lot is on my mind. Before I share some of my preparations and excitement, I thought I would give a brief introduction to who I am.

I am the third child of six. Being a part of a large family has been so much fun. My two older brothers are married and I found out this Christmas that I’m going to be an aunt for the first time. Thankfully, the baby isn’t due until I get back from being abroad, but I am a little sad that I will miss the months of preparation. We are all very close and being the first grandchild, I’m sure the whole family will want to be a part. I am a Junior at Butler University and I’m studying mathematics to become a college professor. That means I’ll be in college for the rest of my life. At least it feels that way some times…yet I love it! I’ve been looking at graduate schools recently, but mainly I’m enjoying my time at Butler.

Besides school, I’m really involved in both the churches I attend (one at home and one at school). I teach 4-6 year old’s during Children’s Church, help out with the youth occasionally, sing on the praise team and in the choir, and help out in any other ways needed. I’m also part of several clubs on campus that are focused on volunteering or mathematics. I work on campus during the school year in a department that helps staff and students learn how to use technology. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of a nerd and geek…and my mom can receive all the credit for that.

While I’m abroad, I will still be studying mathematics at Leeds University and working on my thesis. As part of the honor program at Butler, I am writing a thesis on cubic graphs and their important applications. I’ve been in contact with a professor in London who wrote several papers on cubic graphs, so hopefully I will be visiting him later this semester for an interview. I will definitely share that experience on here!

My mom and I are arriving in England a few days before the official start of the IFSA-Butler program. We are arriving in Leeds Friday morning, then she will be flying out of Heathrow Monday morning. We are hoping to get to know Leeds a little the day and a half we are there, then exploring London for a day before she goes back home. I’m really excited that she gets to share part of this experience with me.

Am I ready to leave? Ummm…that is a resounding no. I haven’t packed anything yet, although there is a pile that’s been growing in my room of things I might want to take. Now whether or not it will all fit in my suitcase, that’s a problem I don’t want to think about yet. I’ve been going through all my emails and newsletters to make sure I have all the paperwork and information I need. I’m still putting together a packet of all the important documents and papers that I will need with me abroad. I’m a bit of an organization freak, if you can’t tell.

Sometimes I get nervous when I think about being away from my family for so long. Being so close to them, I know it’s going to be hard at times. I also know that we will keep in contact as much as we can, so that will really help. I go to school three hours away from home, which is far enough to limit my trips home to at most every other weekend. But I’ve never been away from home for longer than a month at a time. Right now, I’m not really worried about all that. The excitement of actually being in England is a little overwhelming! I’ve dreamed of going to England since I was in middle school. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 movie. I mapped out the houses used to film the movie and I cannot wait to visit. Not to mention Jane Austen’s house just outside of greater London. Aaaahhhhh! It’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening! Sounds so cliche…but it’s true. When you think about and dream of doing something for such a long time, your brain doesn’t always catch up when it all starts to come true.

I’m going to start packing Monday, so once I have everything put together and ready to go, I’ll try to remember to write up another post before I leave.

Until then…


“You is kind. You is smart. You is important”
Aibileen Clark, The Help