These articles were created by the students participating in the UMD Study in England Programme for the 2013-2014 school year. The program is over, but the experience will never fade. If you have any questions or want to get in touch, send an email to the UMD International Education Office!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Things We Wish We'd Known

Things we wish we'd known before coming to England:
  • Laundry costs money. £1.80-£2.00 to wash, and £1 to dry.
  • If you go left out of the front gate at St. John's campus, or right out of the side gate, after a short walk you'll reach a convenience store.
  • You will be living with freshmen.
  • The Gym closes at 7 M-F (and is virtually not open on the weekends 11-4) so if you want a workout get it done early
  • Automatic doors are often not automatic in the American sense. You need to press a button to open them. (Not always, but most of them)
  • You will be docked on an assignment if a word was not spelt the British way (colour, honour, fulfil, etc.) Be careful!
  • There is a Staples located behind Asda - if you need specific school/office supplies this is a good place to go!
Just Remember That...
  • Classes are once a week in England, so they're 2-4 hours straight.  
  • They drive on the opposite side of the road. Just be careful. 
  • You may speak English, but you don't speak English; be prepared for some confusion and some possibly awkward situations.
Monthly Bills? Not so many...
  • My cell phone bill (that would be a "mobile" in the UK) is a fraction of what it was in the U.S. 
  • No car = no car insurance, no parking fee, and no gas (that would be "petrol" here, but I may have to reheel a few of my boots with all the walking ;)
  • No rent or utilities...they're rolled into the program fee :)
Tips and such
  • If you're nervous about purchasing products that aren't brand names you recognize, before you knock it, take a look at the logo and how it's presented, even if it has a different name, it might be the same product. (Lay's potato chips are called Walkers here. Cottenelle toilet paper is called Andrex. Axe is called Lynx.) Also, there's plenty of brands you'll recognize, so don't freak out. But, be adventurous and try new things, of course!
  • If you're looking for ginger ale, Schweppes Canada Dry Ginger Ale is what you want. The Co-op brand for sure is VERY gingery, and burned my throat when I drank it too fast. (Almost more like ginger beer, but not as rich.)
  • For cell phones, if you can, unlock yours. It makes life so much easier. This can be done by calling your cell phone carrier, but if they are unwilling to do it for you and you're willing to mess with your phone yourself, you can find guides online.
  • If you choose to go with Orange as your provider here, the Dolphin plan is AMAZING, especially if you have a smartphone you can use. If you top up for £20 a month, you get unlimited texting inside the UK and 3gb of data, as well as the £20 credit, which can be used for calling any time or texting when outside the UK.

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