Brits: Need some advice on living in the UK

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Josh Dial, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    I will probably be moving to England in October to attend law school at Oxford, and I was wondering if any of the fine British subjects would give me a simple gist of what it's like to live in Enland (in general).
    I have relatives that live in London, but I figured I would go for the majority opinion and ask around [​IMG]
    I would be living there, probably on campus, for 3 years (or longer if I can go for post-grad work) and hopefully I would be able to transfer jobs to work at the UK Staples (I currently work for Staples Canada).
    Thanks for any advice in advance!
    cheers!
    Josh
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Bring lots of ca$h.
     
  3. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    We have the "Staples" chain in the UK? First I've heard of it!

    That's kind of a difficult question to ask - what's it like to live in the USA? How'd you answer that?

    It's a different 'style' of living. The pace is different, the people are different. The cost of living is different.
     
  4. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  5. paul o'donnell

    paul o'donnell Second Unit

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    Turn back while you still can [​IMG]
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    Josh - the first thing is to stop using the word 'campus' re: Oxford University (there isn't a campus, rather a collection of colleges and departments). Which college are you going to (I was at St John's 78-81)?

    There are basically two cultures to get used to: Oxford University and the 'real world' outside it. The former isn't quite the social minefield it's often portrayed to be. For a start, there are lots of American students there (though do try to mix with the Brits as well, they can be quite amusing) so there'll always be some folks you can relate to. Try not to point out how much more people earn in the States and how awful most Brit catering is (depending upon the college you attend, food will either be superb or awful) - we are well aware of both pieces of information, but hate being reminded. Always be sure to be polite to the College staff, particularly the porters (the guys who basically operate the reception and make sure things move smoothly) and your scout (the person who cleans your room) - they have numerous ways of making your life miserable if you cross them. The majority of them will call you 'sir' - just get used to it. Don't forget to leave your scout a decent tip at the end of each term.

    The workload at Oxford tends to be tough, particularly in law and medicine. I don't know what the precise workload for law is, but for psychology (which I did, and was considered a fairly light workload subject), we had two 1500 word essays plus a practical report each week. You are expected not only to read what you are told but also read round the subject. You are also expected to do your work without making a great show of working. E.g. alongside your studies, you are encouraged to join student societies, etc (and there are *lots* of these). Most people join the Oxford Union in the belief it's a brilliant debating society - the illusion usually lasts until they've attended one debate. The Union library is pretty good, though.

    University social life (particularly anything organised by the university) generally involves drinking sherry (almost always medium dry). Get used to it. You graduate from the place either addicted to the stuff or vowing that you'll never drink it again.

    The world outside the university is pretty much like anywhere else in the south of England. The shops will not be exactly the same as the ones you are used to (though Blackwells bookshop is justifiably world-famous), and eating out can be very expensive. The one thing which is definitely better in England is the architecture and the depth of history. Get a decent guidebook and begin by exploring Oxford. After that, move further afield.

    One final thing - Brits can often appear reserved, and this may be interpreted as hostility or snobbishness. In contrast, Americans are often perceived by Brits as being a bit too 'in your face'. Neither of course is correct. However, generally, Brit friendships take longer to develop.
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    The first things you will have to learn is the vocabulary. As I was born in England and grew up there, I (and others) can help you with that. [​IMG] How about a (long) translation list of words.
     
  8. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    Andrew,
    Thanks for the reply. Coincidently, St. John's was my first choice, though Merton was my second.
    Believe me, I would be the last person to point out how much more money the Americans make, since I'm Canadian, and I know all too well being that our dollar is worth about 60 cents US [​IMG]
    When I visited England on a band exchange (though only for a short while-not enough to learn much) it seemed that the British folk were quite nice and personable to Canadians.
    I am actually looking forward to working hard, so a heavy workload would be welcomed.
    If you wouldn't mind answering one question though (Andrew), the prospectus mentions that student's already possessing a degree (mine is in Philosophy) may be granted senior status. I for the life of couldn't get a hard and fast answer to what this meant [​IMG] Do you have any clue as to what this could mean?
    cheers!
    Josh
     
  9. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Get used to drinking soda warm.
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    Josh, get used to nobody being able to tell a Canadian and American accent apart. This is our revenge on you guys for not being able to distinguish Australian and Cockney accents.

    Merton is a very good college, and certainly when I was at Oxford it was famed for its cooking (for the best of reasons!).

    'Senior status' means different things in different places. The most likely thing is that you'll be allowed to use the middle common room rather than junior common room (i.e. use the facilities granted to the postgraduates rather than the undergraduates). How big an advantage this will be varies from college to college, but I guess it'd be worth pressing for it.

    Warm soda? Perish the thought - since electricity became widely available in the UK in the 1990s we have all bought fridges (we're not backward, you know). And before anyone raises the topic, the beer is meant to be at room temperature, okay? Nobody would chill red wine, and British beer should be treated in the same way (though consumed in larger quantities). It's the considered opinion of most Brits that American beer is chilled so there's less chance of tasting it ...
     
  11. Maurice McCone

    Maurice McCone Stunt Coordinator

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    The other good thing about our British Beer...is that you can drink it legally in pubs from the age of 18.

    A couple of years ago visiting Harvard, I was asked for identification before I could get into a bar in Harvard Square - I was 35 !! what was that all about ? Hey, I go to the gym, but I still looked 35.....
     
  12. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Keep your Canadian passport handy.

    "Sod off, Yank!"

    "No, I'm Canadian, eh? Here's my passport."

    "Oh. Right then. Shall we nip off to the pub for a few pints?"

    --Actual conversation.
     
  13. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Well my advice? A Canadian student we know used two expresions without realising how dubious they sound over here:
    Double Fisting (apparently in Canada this refers to an amount of drink one is buying. Over here it would basically be a sexual reference).
    Cottaging, which she thought meant to be off around the country staying in cottages. In the UK it refers to...well, doing a George Michael I guess. [​IMG]
    Well that should keep you out of trouble.[​IMG]
     
  14. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    Haha...luckily I enjoy warm pop (no really) and I certainly enjoy beer brewed in England.
    What if I dropped "eh" every sentence or two, would that distinguish me? [​IMG]
    Also, here in Alberta, the drinking age is 18 too.
    Andrew, thanks again, I'll definately try for that senior status.
    cheers!
    Josh
     
  15. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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  16. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] 17 years ago??? [​IMG]
    Perhaps you'd like to advise him to wear jackets with the sleeves rolled up and 'big' hair too![​IMG]
     
  17. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    One thing that I have to know is whether there is a "hawaiian pizza" in England? My cousin said that there they call it the "Canadian" but I found that weird since there isn't much pinapple here [​IMG]
    cheers!
    Josh
     
  18. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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  19. andrew markworthy

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    In answer to two separate questions:

    1. Hawaiian pizza is available here. It isn't always labelled as such (some pizza places just label the ingredients of the topping). I've never heard it called 'Canadian' before, but there again, some Brits have very strange ideas about geography.

    2. Most convenience stores have refrigerated drinks units in them. Don't take one store as being typical!
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    When I was in Japan, I ran into a guy coming out of a hotel, and he was headed out for breakfast, I asked him if it's cheap to come from Australia to Japan for Winter Holiday, and he actually thanked me for not calling him British [​IMG] I can tell the 2 accents apart pretty easily myself.
     

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