Same language, different culture

This week was a pretty standard week as far as it goes. In order to get ahead on some school work and get some stuff done early before my family comes in a couple weeks, I decided to stay in Swansea this weekend and get some work done.

So in lack of any crazy and exciting stories for the week, I decided I’d share some of the culture differences I have realized in every day life here. This past Saturday marked one month since my arrival at Swansea. Although we speak same language back home as they do here, the culture is different in many ways, and the same in some respects.

Differences:

  1. Cars drive on the left side of the road. Obvious difference, but I’m still not quite used to it.
  2. People walk on the left side of the sidewalk, stairs, etc.. This takes longer than the cars to get used to.
  3. Everyones cars are very small because the roads are ridiculously tight.
  4. Thank You = Cheers
  5. You’re Welcome = No worries
  6. Jeans tend to be a lot lighter
  7. Different words for multiple things: French fries = chips, cookies = biscuits, chips = crisps, elevator = lift, trash can = bin, trunk =boot, sweater = jumper, pants = trousers, underwear = pants, tennis shoes = trainers.
  8. When you order water, you get two choices. Still or sparkling.
  9. They have tea and coffee, but more locals get tea.
  10. Groceries like milk, eggs, and bread expire quicker.
  11. All food delivery restaurants have minimum money order for delivery.
  12. No swiping credit or debit cards. Everyone uses the chip.
  13. ATM’s are EVERYWHERE.
  14. Everything closes early. Only one 24 hr store in the area.
  15. Lots of people, not just students, rely on buses for transportation.
  16. You have to pay for grocery bags.
  17. Public recycling is much larger.
  18. Lots of restaurants, stores, and bus/train stations make you buy something or pay for the restroom.
  19. All movie theaters have reserved (or assigned) seating, much like musicals or plays back home.
  20. Hey! What’s Up? = Are you alright? (This one is hard to get used to. If someone says it to you, it doesn’t mean you look like you are upset.)

Similarities:

  1. Lots of American food places are popular. McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Five Guys!!!!!, Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Papa Johns.
  2. Much of the popular entertainment programs including music, movies, and tv are American.
  3. You do see some American made vehicles. Ford and Chevrolet mostly.
  4. Stores, malls, and food markets are very similar to back home.
  5. The way classes are taught are very similar to back home.
  6. Social media platforms are the same as back home.
  7. Lots and lots of political debate.
  8. Professional sports are HUGE. Lots of people follow the NBA and NFL closely, along with their local sports.
  9. If you want traditional American food, it’s not hard to find.
  10. People are generally nice and willing to help. (May be more of a Swansea to Iowa similarity, rather than USA to UK comparison.)

 

I’m thoroughly enjoying my adventure here, but as anyone who has every gone over seas for a substantial amount of time will tell you, there are some things you miss.

What I Miss Most:

  1. Friends and Family.
  2. The freedom you have with a car.
  3. Good American food.
  4. Hilton Magic (s/o to Iowa State on senior night).
  5. Clone Cones.
  6. Free refills at fast food restaurants.
  7. The American dollar.

 

Even though I do miss those things, I’m still having the adventure of a lifetime while studying here and Swansea and I’m looking forward to the stories to come while I’m here!

Until next week, cheers to you all!

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