Five things every Northerner at Exeter Uni will understand

And no, Birmingham is not in the North

As soon as I open my mouth, you’ll realise that I am not from around here. I’m from Liverpool so clearly, I am as exotic as they come. Because I am not from these parts, I had a real culture shock coming to Exeter and so I have gathered some moments that all northerners at Exeter are going to go through. I swear that all of these things were actually in the tiny text of our conditional offers.

1. When you’re mocked for your accent

“You don’t sound like you’re from Liverpool.” Well, I did gradually lose my accent because of the constant teasing at my Surrey boarding school. But what I didn’t lose is the undeniably Northern-ness in my accent so that people immediately understand I’m not from around these parts. Whenever people find out I am from Liverpool, the following question always comes up…

“Can you say chicken and a can of Coke in Scouse?” is the bane of my existence. I physically get icked when this happens. Please stop.

2. The inferior curry sauce (and food in general)

My housemates and I love a good chippy and if you want a great recommendation in Exeter, Hook Fish and Chips is superior. It’s also really far from Pinhoe Road so the fact that I walk down just for their food says a lot. It’s maybe the only chippy that does it like the chippies at home.

Actually, my first experience getting chips with curry sauce was so bad that I’ve blocked it from my memories. Chippies in the South are just lacking something… On another note, I cannot find any good Scouse down here (if you didn’t know, its like a casserole).

Can’t find good pork pies, sausage rolls (that don’t come from Greggs), and Kendal mint cake is non-existent down here. What do you guys eat? Piccalilli?

3. Not knowing any other Northerners

I have been at Exeter for three years and I know one other Northerner. When writing this article, I literally had to use Overheard to find some other Northerners because we apparently just don’t even go here. This isn’t even just an experience that’s unique to Exeter but in a lot of places in the South. Even when I went to boarding school in Surrey, there were only two Northerners in my school: one of them was me, and the other was my brother.

It continues to Exeter. It’s an incredibly jarring experience to join a group conversation where everyone is speaking with the same Southern accent until I break it up and join in with my beautiful Liverpool accent. Which, of course, no one understands. Then it’s a like… oh… maybe that was a bad idea.

4. Public transport struggles to get back home

Every single time. I have to get a train from Exeter to Birmingham, change at Birmingham and then get my train to Liverpool. Moving my case from train to train, looking red in the face and out of breath because I am sweating under my thick coat that I couldn’t fit in my case. I always look ten times worse than when I get to the top of Forum Hill for my 8:30 every day and that is saying something.

Public transport down here is not even as good. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been walking back from the high street with all my shopping and look to see on Google Maps when the next bus to Pinhoe is coming. It never turns up. What a scam.

5. The stereotypes that we are all “poor” and “dirty”

I know the cost of living crisis is hitting us all hard, but its not completely cutting us off from the rest of the UK. We do still enjoy hot water and heating north of Birmingham although we tend to have much colder weather than in the south.

There’s always that one person who’s just got to ask whether we live in council houses, or what state school is like. One person I spoke to said that they were called a “peasant” when someone at Exeter found out where they were from. These stereotypes are just classist at this point.


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Five fab places to eat as a vegan in Exeter which aren’t explicitly vegan

37 things I wish I could have told my Exeter fresher self