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How I Survived Culture Shock in England

I still remember how I struggled with Culture Shock in England when I relocated several years ago. It was tough for the first few months, but then I got over it. I had to anyway. Prior to my moving to England finally, I had been visiting on a yearly basis so I was familiar with the country and its culture to a certain extent. But visiting a country regularly and relocating fully are 2 very different things, as I came to understand. Culture shock affects everyone in different ways. It does not matter whether they don’t travel often or they are regular travellers.

 

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I relocated finally to England in 2008. There was a master degree I had interest in at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, and so I enrolled. Which is how I got here. Bristol is an amazing city. I had a lovely time studying there, and I really do miss the city. This year marks my tenth anniversary as a UK resident, which is why I felt the need to write this post.

Culture shock was a module I studied in Bristol Business School. Many people are unaware of how different cultures are, and how tricky it can be to embrace a different culture. If you have ever had to relocate, then you would know all about how hard it can be to try to make a life in a different country, as you most likely would have experienced it first-hand.

 

How to Survive Culture Shock in England

Here are a few ways I survived the culture shock in England.

 

Have a good sense of humour

Luckily, I was born with a sense of humour so I didn’t struggle too much with this. I know how to have a good laugh at myself and situations. This trait helped me get over issues quickly and helped me pursue my interests. Taking yourself too seriously in a country like England may not be a wise thing.

 

Embrace the web

One regret I would always have is not starting my blog earlier. I could have started this blog easily in 2008 when I relocated. There was a reliable internet connection. I had no social life and very few friends. And I was bored to death half the time in my student house. I spent most of my free time online doing nothing meaningful. My evenings were usually spent with me on my laptop, checking out cheapest online shopping sitesStarting Fashion and Style Police then would have been a smart way to utilise my time.

 

 

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Fall in love with Tea

I was not a big tea drinker prior to my move to the UK. Coming from a much warmer climate meant it was more chilled drinks for me. But first thing  I noticed about the Brits is how much they love their tea. I am still not a big tea drinker. I prefer a good cup of coffee/cappuccino. But I have fallen in love with tea a bit more since my relocation.

 

Embrace the unpredictable weather

Embracing the unpredictable British weather is one of the first things I struggled with. In the early days, I never knew what to wear. One minute it is warm and sunny, and the next minute it is wet and cold. It is pretty still the same, but I now know not to expect anything from the weather in England.

 

Be wise with your cash

I have always be relatively good with money. But relocation to England made me even better with money. I quickly learnt how to save every extra penny I made, and how not to spend crazily, in order to pay my bills and survive. It taught me to be more responsible and manage my money properly. In my early days in Bristol, I made use of many money transfer companies, as that was the fastest way of receiving and sending money. As an international student, I was only allowed to work 20 hours a week, so money was usually tight. But I remember making the most of those 20 hours allowance.

It is good to know there are now more money transfer companies around. This makes it a lot easier to send more home to loved ones if and when needed. I have friends who send money to Romania regularly thanks to companies like Transfer Rapid. So it is great to know services like this are available for people who are living abroad, away from their family and friends.

 

Have you ever relocated to a different country? How did you handle the culture shock?

 

*Collaborative post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sharing A Student House

For those who do not know, I studied my Masters Degree at the University of the West of England (UWE), in Bristol. My first year in 2008 was HORRIBLE, and that is me putting it lightly. I shared a flat, off campus, with 4 other students I have never met before, and it was just a major disaster. We had issues about everything, from cleaning and maintaining the flat, to issues of having constant parties and noise making. I will never forget that year for all the wrong reasons.

University Days

(In my room in Bristol 2008. Gosh I looked so young).

 

I learnt a lot from my experience, and  I thought I should share some survival tips to anyone who might be thinking of sharing a student house or anyone going through the exact same issues I went through.

Here are my top 4 tips:

Share A Flat With Friends

Now this was not possible for me because I was an international student, so I didn’t really know anyone studying at Bristol, but if you have the opportunity to go to university with friends, just share a flat with them. It is a lot easier dealing with people you know than strangers. However, if you find yourself sharing a flat with people you don’t get on with, try to create a conducive atmpsohere for all by staying out of their way. Life is hard as it is already, don’t make it harder by having a row. The year does go by pretty quick, and you will be free to find some other place to rent.

Do Your Research

Do a through reasearch before you resume. My flat was in a block called The Hollies, and it was quite a distance from the main campus, which I didn’t know until I got to Bristol. It was a nightmare getting to classes on time in mornings, the buses were always late and it would have taken me hours to walk down. If I could go back in time, I would have gone for a flat closer to the main campus. Have a good look at the surrounding areas closest to your campus before you decide on where to stay.

University Bristol

 

Sort Out Cleaning Schedule

This should be one of the first things you sort out with your flat mates. Have a meeting and decide who does what and when, and have it pinned to the fridge or anywhere visible so everyone knows when it is their turn. You may have the extremely difficult and untidy people (like I had) who can’t be bothered to clean up after themselves, you could try having a word with them one on one or call a meeting and trash it as a group, or for your sanity, ignore them and clean up when you can if it bothers you that much. That was what I did, I moved out as soon as my lease was up, and moved into a flat with people of like minds, which takes us back to the first tip – Share A Flat With Friends.

Communicate

There should be a free flow of communication to make any house sharing work. There should be regular meetings for general issues to be trashed out, problems can also be discussed before meetings if need be, it all depends on the rapport you have with your housemates, but it is best to discuss any concerns before it gets out of hand. Communication is vital for a peaceful student house sharing.

So there you have them, my top 4 tips for sharing a student house. Most of the issues I had with my housemates, I won’t have had them if I lived with my friends or people with like minds so I think that tip is the most important of all.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips to add?

 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

 

 

 

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