5 reasons why I will most likely not survive England

Hey there world,

So as you may or may not know, UVic has a glorious thing called the “international exchange” program that essentially allows UVic students to spend up to a year studying at one of over 50 partner universities from around the globe. Students get the chance to be immersed in a different culture, continue their degree, and experience a new way of life.

Or, in my case, embark on a semi-ludicrous journey across the Atlantic that, as I will demonstrate in this post, will most likely result in a fiery blaze of self-destruction.

Yes, I am currently winding my way through the third year of a marine biology undergrad degree… in the middle of Northern England. If you would like to see my initial reaction upon arrival in this land of beautiful accents, go ahead and visit my last post.

But back to the issue at hand:

The problem, you see, is that I may not last until the end of my 39 week contract here.

Not because it’s going badly, of course. It’s going well. Too well. And I feel an insatiable desire to share the ways in which I will most likely not survive this country, through one way or another. So here goes:

1. My English friends are too damn cultured.

image1 (13)Meet Nicholas, my flatmate and closest new friend here in Leeds. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great.. but there’s only one problem with him: he’s just too cultured for me, in a way only a true English gent could be.

You’re probably sitting there now thinking “oh, ha, how nice, that would be fun.”

Nope. Not one bit.

Let me elaborate. These people wield a devastating combination of posh accents and consistent usage of words longer than three syllables. That alone is enough to have me request a thesaurus on hand for any lengthy conversations – a request which was denied with a rich throaty chuckle.

Aside from that, I’ve also attempted to unsuccessfully take part in conversations about British politics, before quickly realizing that I know nothing of the sort and, even if I did, could not say many of the candidate names in a legible tone anyways.

2. I have unsuccessfully tried to supplement a lack of ocean with pictures and it’s not even close.

image5 (1)

I love England. I love the food. I love the people. I love how they have like 4 different words just for the term “fries” (seriously, so far I’ve heard 1. fries 2. chips 3. wedges and 4. curls).

But the one thing I have not been able to surpass is my longing for the big blue. Granted, I’m a marine biology student, so I’ve been told this effect is somewhat greater than what a regular, sane person would experience. So naturally, I decided to cover my wall in random pictures I found of the ocean off the internet. No order or anything, I literally just Googled “ocean” and printed off the first 30 pictures that came up. Needless to say, they do not suffice. So it’s only natural to conclude that I will slowly wither away from vitamin sea deficiency (couldn’t help it, sorry).

3. I keep stopping to stare at all the shiny buildings and it’s starting to become hazardous to my health.

image1 (14)

My only defense is this picture above. Can you really blame me when I have to walk past things like this so often?! The 10-or-so people I’ve stumbled into so far all have, but I’m hoping I can get some solid, unbiased empathy out of this, guys.

This is York Minster, one of the oldest and dare I say “snazziest” buildings I’ve come across so far. So, from what I predict, the combination of England’s incredible architecture and the fact that my attention span is equivalent to that of a hyperactive squirrel will severely limit my life span… or at the very least anger more innocent bystanders.

4. I keep incorrectly guessing people are from Scotland, which is apparently not something one does.

image3 (5)I feel like I need a bit of context for this one – I have just recently learned that there are actually different accents within England itself.

It appears as though every 15 feet or so, there is a new “area” of England, so to speak, complete with a new dialect and variation of culture.

As the oblivious traveller I am, I did not know this when I first arrived in the country, and thus took every deviation from what I thought was a “standard” accent as someone who is international… so I would always ask if they’re from a different country (Scotland, Ireland, etc), and would in exchange be corrected, usually with a scowl.

The first time I did this was at the local market here at Leeds, hence the fruity picture above. That day I learned that English people only like being asked if they’re from the UK. Go figure.

5. I still haven’t learned how to cook.

image2 (13)Well, not any decent meals which extend beyond pasta and salad.

However, I have given myself many pats on the back for choosing a catered accommodation, so that’s something. I promise I will learn soon, but for now, there are just too many things to be done.

Speaking of which, in two days time I will be participating in an intramural “netball” tournament. I still don’t know what netball is exactly, but apparently it’s a sport that involves shooting a ball and wearing a lengthy skirt, so I will be sure to update you on those events.

So there you have it, those are the top reasons why I might not make it out of this country. If those don’t fail, the urge to simply stay here and become a worldly, intellectual-sounding Brit is becoming increasingly strong.

All I can say is, I can’t thank the exchange program here at UVic enough. Because I may be a walking hazard here in this new, strange world, but right now I could not dream of a better way to go.

image2 (1)P.S. Check out the three cacti I bought in absence of my 3 best friends from back at UVic! They may not talk quite as much, but they have a cute demeanour that I have fallen in love with. We are now close companions.


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2 Responses

  1. Lee says:

    As a former UVic student who now lives in England, I can only agree with your post about the lovely archicture ….Oh, and the bit about different accents in such a seemingly small region. But, I am glad you are enjoying your time abroad! England is all kinds of wonderful but I think your flat mate might be exceptional 😉

    • Talen says:

      Ah I agree fair enough, I have been told that my predicaments are not considered “normal” for many other students here haha 😉 and yes my flat mate is definitely outstanding!

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