Congratulations! You made it through the British embassy and the immigration officers at the airport! Now, you are here in the United Kingdom, what to expect?
I wouldn’t say that I had a culture shock when I first arrived here (well, maybe a bit… I’ve been seeing a lot of blonde and blue-eyed people walking all over!). Kidding aside, there was still a lot of stuff that I was not used to seeing when I was in Asia. Here are some of the things that I found out during my stay here in the UK.
1. Geography and History
If you are going to a different country, it will help to be familiar where you’re going. At least know where in the world it is located. In my case, when I heard about the UK, I automatically think about London. However, that is not the only place there (and I am not even staying in that place). When my boyfriend told me he is living in Norwich, I was like “where the heck is that?” So that’s when my friendly Google map came in to help.
Learning about a bit of history will also help you to know where to go. When I had my trip to Norwich, I noticed that there were loads of churches in every corner of the town which has amazing structures. Museums and castles are good places to visit in the UK so better make sure your camera is charged up!
2. The Inconsistent Weather
My flight going to the UK was 8th of March, and I know it will be freezing cold so I packed sweaters, jackets and boots, and everything that will keep me warm. I left the Philippines at the start of summer and entered the UK by the end of their winter. The transition of temperature from very hot to cold made me a bit ill, and it took a month for me to get used to it.
Another thing you have to get used to is their inconsistent weather. One minute it’s sunny, the next minute it’s cloudy or raining. I’ve learned how to check my weather app on my phone every hour, but still, it is unpredictable. As what my friend said, “weather apps are just like fairy tales.” So always bring a jacket with you.
3. Food and Servings
As what I always tell my partner, “I am from the land of rice.” Asians love rice, and it is part of our daily lives. We eat rice in almost three times a day! That is why going to a western country might change your appetite if you’re used to eating it all the time. Even so, don’t worry, you won’t die from starvation here. In fact, you might gain more weight! Because the food servings they have here are massive compared to what we have in Asia.
I remember the first “British meal” that my partner cooked for me; it was a huge plate with everything on it. Now my problem is that I might get used to big portions of food even when I get back to my home country!
4. Vocabulary and Accent
If you are used to speaking American accents (most Filipinos do), you might struggle understanding most of the people here in the UK (I did!). They can also identify where in the UK a person is from just hearing their accent and intonations, so not all British sound the same, some of them were even harder to understand.
Aside from their sexy accent, their vocabulary is quite a bit different from Americans. Believe me, when I say my boyfriend and I had lots of misunderstanding with words. But I got the hang of it now. Eventually, you’ll figure what they’re talking about, but it is also polite to ask if you don’t understand what they mean.
So far, these are the things that you might need to know once you stepped the UK land. There are more on the list but these are the ones that I think are more important. I hope you make the most out of your trip in the UK. Just remember to enjoy every moment, rain or shine!
Related post: UK Standard Visitor Visa for Pinoys