Home England 14 Discoveries I’ve Made My First Week in London

14 Discoveries I’ve Made My First Week in London

by Madison Croxson

I’m finally here! I have been looking forward to seeing London for as long as I can remember, and this past week I began my 6-week program with AIFS. While I have been to Europe a few times before, I have never been to England, and much like everywhere else in the world, it has its own quirks and nuances that make it something all its own. I have composed a list of some of the cultural differences and unique traits of this magical city that I’ve picked up on thus far.

  1. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and cars will smash you if you aren’t careful.
  2. Tipping is not a thing, but don’t get too excited because…
  3. London is extremely expensive. And while everyone seemed to warn me of this before I got here, I didn’t have a true understanding until I was actually here, and my weekly spending allotment started running quite thin…on a Monday.
  4. The candy, or “sweets” as they are referred to here, are quite different from those in America, although some have similarities to the classics. My roommate and I recently tried some of these when Jet Lag struck on our first night in London.
  5. Unfortunately, smoking is quite prevalent.
  6. Jet Lag is real and it will kick your butt. Do you feel tired? Sure. Will your body keep you up at 2am once you finally get into bed? Most definitely.
  7. London is very fast-paced, and everyone seems to be in a rush to get somewhere very important (people on the street get grumpy when you dawdle).
  8. Locals can tell you’re from America. Fake accents can only get you so far.
  9. Shopkeepers will not find it cute or charming if you inadvertently give them a Euro coin rather than a pound coin. In fact, they will hold your crisps hostage.
  10. Portions seem to be much smaller, and there is little to no snacking in between meals. Hence, the crisps runs and hunger-fueled currency delusion.
  11. London is very well connected to Europe, and many UK destinations are within reasonable distance for weekend trips. I’m headed to Brussels this weekend!
  12. Unlike in many American bars where it’s common to stand, in London’s equivalent, “pubs,” you order a drink at the bar and then go sit around a table.
  13. Everything is on a smaller scale. Specifically, this is obvious in the dorms and the bathrooms, which are considerably smaller than the dorm I lived in my freshman year of college. Being 5’9″, the shower situation can get a bit interesting.
  14. Some pizza delivery companies use mopeds, complete with a little compartment to keep the pizzas warm on the back.
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