My study abroad in London didn’t start out as I had planned. I was first delayed on the tarmac in Tucson for three hours because of a series of storms in Dallas, where I was supposed to catch a connecting flight. I finally left Tucson and arrived in Dallas, but missed my connecting flight. Things got better though, because, I was able to get on one of the last flights leaving for England. However, once I arrived in London my luggage was lost and I had to wear the same sweat pants and shirt for 2 days, until Garret loaned me a pair of jeans. Finally, I got settled down when my luggage was delivered to and I had little cultural shock through my first week abroad in London.
From my point of view culture is very similar to culture in the states. They are very proud of their country, which could be seen on the Queen’s birthday, they have a variety of different foods which are mostly similar to food that we can find in the states, and it is a melting pot of people with different nationalities, like in the United States. I have also noticed that like Americans, the English get annoyed with tourists, Americans especially. After a night of hanging out with my new friends I was called a stupid American after asking for directions. I have also noticed that when we travel as a group with a majority of the people in the flats, people glare at us, and some have even started to make fun of us.
Some major differences that have had an immediate effect on me is the exchange rate and that you have to pay for almost everything. Most public toilets require 30 pents to use, and if you ask for a glass of water then you’ll receive a 5 lbs bottle of water. Another example of these was very clear at the Indian restaurant when I ordered curry, then had to pay extra to eat it with rice or bread. In the states the entire meal would be included in one price. Another problem that I am having with my first week in London is transportation, especially after the tube station closes. The city is much larger then Tucson so trying to figure out what bus to take a lot longer and is pretty difficult.
Unlike everyone else in the program I don’t get interview for my job until this Tuesday so I don’t know how working in a foreign country is yet. But from what I’ve heard working in England is a lot more relaxed than working in the US. Like one of our teachers from FIE said “people in England work to live…”. This difference in styles makes me extremely excited to get started at work and eager to learn as much as possible.