For those ready to live the authentic British life, here are my five tips to get you started…
1. British Afternoon Tea – Not to be missed, afternoon tea is one of the highlights of UK cultural life. Afternoon tea is taken between 3 and 5pm, often on a weekend and consists of limitless cups of tea, accompanied by both cucumber and egg and cress sandwiches, scones (with cream and jam) and cakes (Victoria sponge, fruit cake amongst others) and pastries. DU students studying abroad in York should be sure to check out Betty’s Tea Rooms in York City Center, where it is not unusual to see people lining (“queuing”) down the street as they wait for their tea. The only question is, should you drink English breakfast tea, Scottish afternoon, Twinnings, Earl Grey or Chai?
2. Visit a Great British Pub – bask in a leisurely drink along with some great traditional British cuisine – fish and chips (served in newspaper), bangers (sausages) and mash or Shepherds Pie (google it). For students studying in Glasgow, check out the Monster Mash Café in Edinburgh, which has a whole menu devoted to different variations of sausage and mashed potato. Anyone for blackpudding sausage and apple mash?
3. Museums, museums, museums… embrace the fact that nearly all museums in London are free. Britain’s best and most prestigious museums such as the famous British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, or check out modern art at the Tate Modern amongst many other museums with free admission.
4. Relish in the opportunity to move beyond American football, baseball and the like and instead venture to a soccer, cricket or rugby game. Watch Glasgow Celtic play in front of 60,000 people, or those studying in England check out the English Premier League, and watch a match at Old Trafford? For rugby games which are played regularly throughout winter and fall check out http://www.premiershiprugby.com/
5. Check out Britain’s Roman history, in particular Hadrian’s Wall. As the Roman Empire began to collapse, Hadrian ordered the building of a wall across the entire north of England to keep out Picts from Scotland. The wall, a World Heritage site, still exists today and stretches across the breadth of Northern England (73 miles). Walk it end to end perhaps and see some of Britain’s rugged countryside.
Achieve these five things and you’ll have plenty to write home about…
– Callum Forster, DUSA Graduate Peer Advisor (and Brit)