When I arrived in the UK for the first time, there were some adjustments to make. Many Americans and Canadians notice the differences in weather, local customs, sports, and food soon after they arrive in a new country. However, I didn’t really expect to have to adjust to returning to the US!
Here are five things that I would tell any prospective uni student to keep in mind when they come back to Canada or the States for the first time…
1. Everything is much more spread out!
If you have been in the United Kingdom for some time, you will have become familiar with walking or taking the bus to travel. When you come back to the US or Canada, you will notice that it will take you longer to get to most places and that you can’t just walk down to any store whenever you want. North America is MUCH vaster, and you will definitely pick up on it.
2. People seem way ‘too friendly’
A common consensus is that British people are more reserved than most Americans and Canadians. This may come off as unfriendliness or arrogance at first, but it is not, and as a North American you will quickly adapt to it. Strangely enough, though, when you return home, you may not be used to strangers being outwardly friendly or asking you how you’re doing. This is a sign that you have become a little more ‘British’.
3. You may miss British accents
There are many accents in the UK – I’d venture to say that there are even more than in Canada and the US. Even if you find it hard to adjust to a Brummie, Scottish or Scouse accent at first, let me assure you that these accents will grow on you. When you move back home, you may find that you miss the variety! This can be especially apparent if you come from a rather ‘accent-less’ region, like Colorado (which is my home state), any midwestern state, or certain areas in Canada.
4. Your family and friends might not understand you
When you return home, you may find yourself using phrases such as ‘You what, mate?’ or ‘I was chatting about footy with him down at the chipper’ – in such cases, you may have to clarify to your American or Canadian counterparts by saying ‘What did you say, my good fellow?’ or ‘I was talking about soccer with him at the local food establishment’, respectively. British slang may be difficult to adjust to at first (especially if you’re studying in some parts of London), but after a while you’ll notice that you will be using it yourself.
5. Your sports life may change
After living in Britain you may notice that you have started following new sports while forgetting about some of popular American sports. When I came back for Spring break I was very surprised to see baseball on television and to have a lack of friends to talk about football (or ‘soccer’) with. However, it’s so great expanding your sporting knowledge!
If you want to widen your cultural experiences, why not contact one of the ATP advisors, and start your application to study in Britain!