Oh, the British. With their wonderful English Breakfast tea and cute portion sizes.
You may be thinking, "There's a difference?" Oh, honey, there truly is. My best friend from the United Kingdom has flown 4,000 miles to see my life in another part of the world this week. The number of differences our freshman year had was RIDICULOUS. I lived in this country for 12 years and everything I hear about this country feels foreign to me #notatruebrit.
Here are 10 differences you need to know in order to understand higher education in England:
1. Alcohol: Smuggling Drinks at 18 VS Legal Drinking at 18.
Peep at this photo of me and my best friend in England enjoying legal drinks at the ripe old age of 18. She explained that you can walk into the local grocery store (or as they say "supermarket") and buy a liter of vodka for £6 ($7.96). Yet we have to go through several people in order to get an overpriced bottle of crappy alcohol (similar to how you would deal drugs).
2. The Degree: Majoring in Undecided VS Committing to One Before You Even Attend.
I'm guessing most of us Americans had little clue on what we wanted to do as soon as we moved into our tiny dorm rooms. My best friend explained that she had to choose her major before even applying to the school. She said when you're in the last two years of free schooling, you only have three subjects (four if you're smart, shout-out to her boyfriend for doing this). Her first year of University only consisted of her major, Geology (hence the hard hats in the photo. No, she is not a construction worker). This will continue for the full degree.
3. Tuition: Collecting Debt Every Second VS Actually Having Affordable Loans.
Shout-out to all of us taking out a house worth of student loans and trying not to think about it until we have to pay it back. In England, all University fees are £9,250 per year ($12272,87). You automatically get full loans from the government when you apply and get maintenance loans, which are dependent on what household income you live on (somewhat like FAFSA). You pay it back only if you earn over £25,000 and is written off after 20 years (freedom for her, debt for me).
4. Partying: Frat Parties VS Clubbing 24/7.
In England, it IS legal to go and black-out every day in public... because it's LEGAL at 18. In the United States, we have to hide in giant houses or small dorm rooms in order to not get caught... because it's ILLEGAL to get blackout in the middle of town.
5. Sleeping Arrangements: Crowded Roommates VS a Kitchen and Flat Mates.
I'm guessing (almost) everyone who attends a school in the United States had to go through the dreadful process of finding a roommate, or worse, being placed with a stranger. In England, you only tend to share a room with someone if you go to a University in London (because it's cramped). She lived in a flat with four other people. All having their own rooms and bathrooms while only sharing a kitchen. Keep in mind they either pay less than us or almost the same... yet we get insanely small rooms with people's hair clogging up our only shower drain.
6. Pulling an All Nighter: Coffee Addicts VS Tea Drinkers.
If you didn't already know, the Brits live on tea. It's literally their main food group. Their days are structured around tea and it's a necessity to invite someone over to drink and eat biscuits as an ice-breaker. Like we would pull an all-nighter with a Redbull or coffee, they reach for a cute cup or tea with milk and sugar.
7. First Week of School: Orientation VS Freshers Week.
So in the US, we get up and dress in cute summer clothes while attending events with aesthetically pleasing food and playing games at club booths. While our neighbors over the pond spend a week or two going to maybe three intro lectures while dressing up in costumes and attending club nights. Getting smashed until you physically cannot continue anymore. My best friend went four nights out in a row, took two days off, went out again for two nights, then another two nights off, and two nights on for her birthday. I literally can barely take two shots of tequila and function for the next week. #Yikes.
8. Getting That Damn Bachelor's Degree: Four VS Three Years.
You read that right, we will be most likely be stuck in a lecture hall while our friends 4,000 miles away are living it up in their new jobs. Laughing at us paying for another year of books and accommodation (and hundreds of cups of coffee).
9. University Clothing: Repping the School VS Not Really Being Bothered.
I own about three items of Western Washington University gear and she only owns a sweatshirt (or jumper, as she said). Apparently, most students over there aren't as obsessed with people knowing where they go, I guess it's a cultural thing.
10. Hangovers: Tacos VS a Fry Up.
A fry up consists of baked beans, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, toast, bacon, black pudding, and of course... TEA (and don't forget the brown sauce). I personally loved eating this when I lived there, but to be honest, I would much rather go through a drive-through and grab a box of tacos for under $10 (with a cup of tea).
11. Drunk Food: Whatever is at Your Dorm VS Kebab Vans.
So, you're stumbling home to your dorm and you literally reach for any food that surrounds you (or you Uber Eats if you're lucky enough to have the extra $20). Since a British college student is already out on the town, they fork out about £8 at a kebab van or a fast food restaurant since they don't have to hide their "drunk look."
12. Beer Pong VS Card Games.
I have played (fake) beer pong once and I can safely say it was a DISASTER. The guy I was playing it with actually had a clue what he was doing, while I kept As soon as I asked her if she had ever played beer pong, the look on her face was priceless. Apparently, in the UK, they play card games and she explained there's one called the Kings Ring of Fire.
Shoutout to Alice Fowle for the strange differences we have with the Brits!