Last year, I was lucky enough to study abroad at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England. I had the experience of a lifetime but it definitely took a bit of time to get used to the differences in their culture.
1. They ask everyone "are you alright?"
Whenever you have any sort of interaction with an English person, they will almost always start the conversation with "you alright?" For the first couple of weeks, I thought everyone was concerned for my wellbeing when in reality it is just their way of saying "how are you?" like we do in America.
2. Eating baked beans with literally every meal
3. They celebrate the 5th of November by having their children build a man and set him on fire
Every year, on the 5th of November, Brits celebrate the capture and death of Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes was working with a Catholic group of men to kill King James I. They had a plan to blow up Parliament with copious amounts of gunpowder when King James I would be visiting on opening day (November 5th, 1605). Their plan was foiled and Guy Fawkes was caught in the act. He was then tortured and executed. Now to celebrate the holiday British children will build an effigy of Guy Fawkes and have a bonfire to burn him. Fireworks are also optional!
4. Being obsessed with Donald Trump
Every single time someone heard my American accent the first thing they asked me was what I thought about Donald Trump. They seem to talk about him more than anyone in the United States does.
5. Not understanding the greatness of ranch dressing
6. Calling all desserts "pudding"
7. Only having pancakes a certain time of the year because they are "seasonal"
I was really craving pancakes one day so I went to a Tesco and they told me that they didn't have any pancake batter because it is only "seasonal." I have no idea when that season is but don't expect to eat pancakes any other time.
8. Saying "cheers!" can mean several different things
9. Having two faucets at one sink
10. Their love for fried chicken
If you ever go to England you will definitely run into multiple fried chicken restaurants. The Brits LOVE their fried chicken, especially KFC. Recently a bunch of KFC restaurants in the U.K. had to close early because they ran out of chicken!
11. Putting zig-zagged lines on roads
The first time I saw these zig-zagging lines on the road I was very confused. I had never seen anything like it. The zig-zag lines can be seen at crosswalks in the U.K. to warn drivers that there could be pedestrians on the road.
12. Their love for Robbie Williams
Ever heard of Robbie Williams before? Because if you're going to the U.K. you will be sure to. Robbie Williams is nearly as worshipped as the Queen over there. For some reason this guy is like God to them.
13. Give you a "Sprite" when you order lemonade
The typical lemonade we are used to drinking in the U.S. or selling at stands as kids is non-existent in England. If you order a lemonade they will give you something that tastes closer to sprite than lemonade. Lemonade is also usually clear in England which was shocking as well.
14. Having their washer and dryer in the kitchen
If you ever go into a British home and can't find the washer and dryer you will have to check the kitchen first.
15. Also somehow the washer and dryer are one machine?
16. Never refrigerating eggs
17. Their equivalent to Dollar Tree is called Pound World or Pound Land
18. Having an "on" and "off" switch on all electrical outlets
19. Paying extra for grocery or shopping bags
The bags only cost a couple cents, but I found myself balancing all of the groceries in my hands a couple times if I forgot to bring a reusable bag with me. This is a great idea to save plastic, but I was definitely confused at first.
Spending a semester in England was the best decision I have ever made. While it took some getting used to, I came to love the different experiences England had to offer and I cannot wait to go back and visit sometime!