After eight and a half long hours on a chilly plane, two hours in the international students line at the airport and a 2 hour Uber ride, after missing the free shuttle sent by Queen Mary University of London I was finally ready to call Queen Mary University of London home for the next three months of my life. After preparing myself emotionally, financially and physiologically for months the long wait was finally over. I had ARRIVED. After an exhausting first day of traveling and settling in I was finally able to explore the campus, the city and meet a few natives. I can honestly say majority of the people on campus are extremely friendly, welcoming and very excited about
our “American” accents. Clearly from the moment we open our mouths it is easy to detect that we are foreigners here, our excuse for many things quickly became “Sorry! We don’t know how to do this we are American!” This phrase is typically followed by laughs and understanding smiles from our British peers.
When preparing for any study abroad experience culture shock is often mentioned. However, I have experienced more culture shock here than I originally imagined I would. Although the primary language is English there is still some degree of a language barrier. There are so many different dialects and accents here as a result of the diverse cultures and backgrounds people come from. The accents and different jargon can make it difficult at times to keep up in conversation. However I’m sure I will be able to train my ear soon enough to pick up on the accents and different vernacular that is commonly used here. I am so excited to immerse myself in the culture and live as the British do, I fully intend to participate in tea time which to my surprise is actually a thing here! For a tea lover like myself I have no complaints.
Aside from cultural differences the outline of their classes or “modules” here is entirely different than the American University system. Rather than the student’s final grade be a compilation of homework, tests, projects, participation and quizzes throughout the term, there is only two grades; a midterm and final that account for 20% and 80% of you final grade/mark respectively. This is something I will definitely have to get used to in addition to the fact that Professors prefer to be called by their first names.
Here is a list of things that will take some time getting used to:
1. Referring to a metro card as an Oyster Card
2. Calling the underground subway the “Tube”
3. Referring to my classes as modules
4. One pound does not equal one dollar!
Until next time Pip Pip Cheerio!
P.S. Nobody actually says that here, just a little American humor.
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