Moving to the UK is a big step in your life. You might already be familiar with some of the British culture and etiquette through television shows. However, many international students still worry about how they will adjust to life here.
While there are probably many differences to your own culture, here are a few British manners and customs you will notice quite quickly.
- The British humour
The British sense of humour can be difficult to understand and often involves the use of irony and sarcasm. As an international student, you might not always know whether someone is being serious or making a joke. However, the more you speak to your fellow British students, the easier it will become to recognise and understand the British humour. That does not mean that you will find it funny though!
- Being polite is important
It is considered polite and respectful to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ in many daily situations, for example when someone holds a door open for you or you accidentally bump into another person. As a general rule, you can never say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ too much.
- Join the queue
You will soon notice that the British love queuing and people take this very seriously. It is regarded as rude to push into a queue or not wait your turn. You will find queues at bus stops, in shops, banks etc. Even if you are in a rush, you should join the queue at the end of the line and wait. If it is not clear where a queue begins and ends, it is fine to ask other people if they are waiting.
- Respect people’s personal space
While people in the UK are usually open and friendly, you might notice that at times a person you are speaking to is more reserved. This is not because they are being deliberately unfriendly. Usually they are trying not to invade your privacy. Let them know if you are happy to talk about personal things and they’ll soon open up to you.
- Be on time
Punctuality is very important. You must make sure you are on time for lectures, tutorials, seminars, interviews and when meeting people. If you are late, it often leaves a bad impression on the people you are meeting, even if you are ‘just’ meeting friends. Make sure you call the person you are meeting if you know you are going to be late.
You may find British food strange to start with. It may taste different and be cooked differently to what you are used to. However, there are some firm British favourites which you should try while in the UK, such as ‘roast dinner’, fish & chips and a pie. You will also find thousands of restaurants in London offering food from around the world and if you are in self-catering accommodation, you can cook your favourite foods from home. London has many international food stores which import groceries from other countries.
If you haven’t applied to study in London yet, start your research today. You can use the course search to find thousands of courses available across nearly 50 universities in London. And take a look at the Application Advice section for information on how to apply, visas, tuition fees, scholarships and more.
For Chinese student Chen Shiyun, the unusual starting point for her contemporary jewellery collection, Skin, is skin disease. Shortlisted for the Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Award, Study London spoke to Shiyun about her time in London. “London is one of the top cities to live and study. As well as the benefits of […]
London welcomed nearly 4,000 French students last year, who are studying in higher education institutions across the city. Study London spoke to three of the French finalists in the Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Award about why they chose to study in London. Félicie Eymard always dreamed of studying in London. The creator of […]
For Nigerian student Dr Eyenimi Ndiomu, London’s position as an international business hub is one of the key benefits of studying in London. Founder of Ubenwa – a mobile app that detects whether a newborn baby is struggling to breathe – Eyenimi was recently shortlisted for the International Student Innovation Award. Before coming to London, […]
Indian student Surabhi Mittal comments on her experience of studying in the capital For Indian student Surabhi Mittal, her passion for design lead her to London to study at University of the Art’s Central Saint Martins. Shortlisted for the inaugural International Student Innovation Award for her Paper Mache Tea Set, Surabhi spoke to Study London […]
Performance artist Marta Benaglia gave an electrifying aerial performance at the International Student Innovation Showcase and Award ceremony held at UAL’s Central Saint Martins on 2 November. Marta, an Italian student studying Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London, performed her ‘Hibyan Sky’ routine in front of more than 200 guests at the […]
To celebrate the arrival of new international students in London, an official reception has been organised to welcome you. The event will be held at the prestigious 229 Venue, Great Portland Street on Thursday 13th October 2016. Arriving students from universities across London will attend the reception, making this a great opportunity to make new […]
We are delighted to have worked with Student.Com in creating this video with a simple message. To students from all over the globe, there is one thing you need to know, #LondonIsOpen