UMD Students Share Observations of Cultural Differences
The Study in England Program, sponsored by UMD, offers students a wonderful opportunity to enrich their college experience by spending the academic year abroad. Students spend the academic year taking courses and living on the University of Birmingham campus. Birmingham is England's second largest city and is located 110 miles northwest of London. The program accepts 50 students a year and financial aide is applicable towards the program. Currently, 28 UMD students are studying and experiencing British culture through American eyes. The following UMD students were willing to share their stories and enthusiasm for this unique opportunity provided by UMD and the University of Birmingham, England.
Ashley Huhe, Graphic Design
Well, my favorite pair of pants is quite a dark shade of indigo, but in England I’ve found this is on “a need to know basis”… When talking to a Brit, "pants" actually refer to your underwear and the word "trouser" is the most appropriate term for your jeans. This has been a miscommunication between many of us Americans here in Birmingham and has led to a lot of laughs.
People love their dogs here; they are a big part of the family and the culture. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere… some stores, cafés, and even on the buses. I have yet to see a misbehaving dog. At home, I’m used to dogs running up to you and jumping on you or trying to lick and sniff you. In England, I swear, that the dogs don’t care about you walking past them. I have even seen one dog (with a collar) in the park sitting there with no apparent owner… like the dog himself went on a walk to the park to chill out. It’s kind of funny to see.
One thing that makes me a little depressed is the lack of “real” coffee. I miss my Caribou or UMD coffee shop coffee on many mornings! While there is a whole aisle at the grocery store devoted to tea and coffee, about 50 percent is for tea, 35 percent is instant coffee and 15 percent is bean coffee. Ahhh and no flavored coffee! All I can do now is wait for mom to send me a care package. In the mean time, I’ve grown to love tea!
After living in Birmingham for over a month, I have noticed
differences in clothing style. I did know that leggings were popular over
here, but they are even more so than I thought. Most girls really don’t
wear trousers, they wear leggings instead. They wear them with t-shirts,
sweatshirts, tunics, dresses, shorts and skirts. And they come in numerous
colors and patterns.
There is slang over here. "Making the pull" refers to going out and trying to pick someone up and "taking the mick" is similar to our ‘pulling your leg’. I also was trying to find pickles in the store and when I asked, they showed me a jar of brown, jam-like product. What we call pickles are called gherkins. An aubergine is an eggplant over here, but they pronounce so differently, I was confused when I first heard people talking about them. Also, one night over cards we were having a discussion about basil, oregano, and Parmesan cheese. The Brits that were in the room were making fun of how we say the long "a" in basil, the short "a" in oregano and pronounce Parmesan, parma”john” instead of parme”san”. It was great poking fun at each other.
Vienna Miller-Prieve, Communication Sciences and Disorders Major
I wonder if we are losing touch with one another by being so busy. We may be hurting relationships when we don’t spend time properly sitting and checking in on each other's lives.
For more information on the Study in England program, please contact Lyndsey Anderson at 218-726-6673 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 138 Kirby Plaza.
Article edited by Alicia Stockard, email@example.com