In some cultures, it may be normal to arrive at a meeting or appointment five, ten or even fifteen minutes or more late. In the British culture however, it is considered improper or a little bit rude to do this, whether you are meeting friends, going to an appointment or a University tutorial! If you think you’re going to be late, it is generally good manners to contact the person you will be meeting to let them know.
We really like to queue over here! You will have to queue for many things including in banks, post offices, shops, supermarkets and offices. If you ‘jump a queue’, meaning you do not wait in line or join at the end of the queue, but push in wherever, you might receive a few complaints so make sure you don’t do this!
Smoking is becoming increasingly unpopular. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings, on public transport (taxis, buses, coaches, trains, planes), in pubs and restaurants and in shops. You should always ask before smoking in someone else’s house or car. The University has a no smoking policy in all of its buildings.
Britain is a proud multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Students and the public in general are free and able to practise their faith as they wish (whether in private or in public). There are laws in place to ensure your rights to freely do this are protected. Most, if not all Universities will have multi-faith prayer rooms and chaplaincies. Many UK cities will also offer their citizens mosques, churches, temples, gurdwaras and synagogues to visit and pray in.
Please, thank you and sorry!
You will notice that British people say three phrases quite often; please, sorry and thank you! It’s considered good manners to say ‘please’ at the end of a request, ‘thank you’ each time someone does something for you (for example, opening a door, offering you something etc.) and sorry if you think you are causing someone an inconvenience or interrupting them.
Getting to know the British
We have a reputation for being reserved and this can be true to a certain extent. But don't be put off! We’re also very friendly. Start a conversation with your new neighbour, or classmate, talk to someone at the bus stop about the weather and see where it takes you! You never know, you may make a new friend!
Leaving home and travelling to study in a new country can be a stressful experience. Even though it may be something you have planned and prepared for, the extent of the change and the effects may take you by surprise. Click here to read the UKCISA briefing on culture shock. When you arrive, you will be given contact details for the Student Welfare team. Keep them in your phone and email, in the event that you feel homesick, stressed or just need someone to speak to.
We also suggest you take at the Education UK website for practical advice and how to settle in.
Join them! Many Universities have Societies for students from different countries i.e. Pakistani, Middle East, Malaysian Societies. This is a chance for you to meet, speak with and become friends with people in similar situations to yourself. It will definitely help you settle in better.
Research and manage your budget! Understand the different living expenses you will likely incur, including travelling to and from your University, food expenses, bills including mobile and electricity, entertainment etc. You can calculate your expenditure and income using this convenient student calculator: http://international.studentcalculator.org
Ask your International team at the University about your local cuisine and where to find appropriate restaurants and food outlets. Many UK cities are diverse and have a wide range of international supermarkets available. Did you know the UK’s national dish is actually chicken tikka curry!