British Customs

In General

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Coming over to the UK to study can be a daunting task. You’ll be a long way from home, in a strange place and not too sure about a lot of the ways of life in Britain. Whilst we cannot tell you about every little thing you’ll experience in British life, this guide should provide a handy rundown of some of the things you can expect.

  1. Manners! One thing you’ll soon learn about the UK is that people love it when you use manners and are polite, and really, you can never say please or thank you enough. As with any society, you’ll get some rude people, but the majority of people in shops, on buses or around the university will appreciate good manners, so don’t forget them!
  2. Food – In the UK, it is polite to try to finish your meal if someone has cooked for you and say thank you for it (even if you didn’t enjoy it). Everyone like a compliment! But of course, if you are really not enjoying your food, politely decline.
  3. Queuing is very important to Brits, and nobody likes a queue jumper! In most places this is relatively hard to do, but letting someone on the bus before you will often make them smile and make you feel happier too. Although queuing is important, to be wary if you’re out in a nightclub or pub in town, because queuing because less important here, it just takes a while to see when there is the right queue.
  4. Afternoon tea may seem like a bit of an old tradition, but a lot of people do like to have a sit down in the afternoon with a good old cuppa and slice of cake! There’s no need to have a fancy tea and cake, and this would soon get expensive, but this is a quaint tradition that you might like to partake in, perhaps you could even do so at The Bridge on campus! Don’t miss out on our Afternoon Tea and Chat over Freshers’.
  5. Language can be quite a tricky thing too, and undoubtedly you will experience a wide range of language in your time in the UK, including a vocabulary that will not be taught in school or a dictionary! It can be scary not knowing what a tattie (potato) is or knowing where you’re heading if you’re using the apples and pears (stairs), but fear not as you’ll soon pick it up. Similarly, slang words will soon make more sense. You can find a lot of of our favourite British sayings here.
  6. Weather – It will always be too hot or cold – and always raining. Whatever the weather, we British will always let you know. Embrace it!

Now you have these handy little tips, they will definitely make a positive impact into how you spend your time here. As mentioned, there are so many traditions and customs that are not listed here so be brave and find out some more, anything from Sunday roast dinners to fish and chips, and wearing shorts as soon as the sun is out!

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