An international student gives us her perspective of British drinking culture

Let’s just say she thought it was less Pride and Prejudice and more Shameless…

alcohol binge drinking british culture drinking liverpool national students university of liverpool

Coming to these great British Isles, I never expected a refined cuisine and I never expected everyone to look like Hugh Grant or to be closely related to the Queen.

My expectations of British culture were far more subtle than that: I expected tea, black cabs and red phone boxes, and the Brits delivered.

That was however, not the only insight of British culture I have witnessed.

The drinking culture in this country is a chapter of its own. I’m not only talking about the lack of ever being able to stop drinking, I’m talking about everything that follows: the loudness, broken ankles, fried chicken and sex in nightclubs.

The list is endless. It’s what comes with the term “binge drinking”.

Good old British cuppa and a setter

Good old British cuppa and a setter

Coming to university after a gap year I was ready for some intellectual input, talking about the world’s big challenges. I was ready to dedicate myself to my future, accompanied by fellow students wanting the same thing.

Well that did not happen.

I realised this as soon as I entered halls. I’d like to compare it with what you expect to see during the apocalypse.

In the bathroom, there was puke all over the floor (that had been there for a while) and in the kitchen, tomato sauce all over the walls and the freezer had no door. I remember closing my eyes trying to figure out how long it would be until I could afford to live in a hotel.

Let's just say hygiene came way below getting smashed on the list of priorities...

Let’s just say hygiene came way below getting smashed on the list of priorities

Meeting my flatmates was nice but understanding the social rules over here was very tough. Going out as a Norwegian we dress weather appropriately: if you’re not wearing a jacket (when it’s less than 10 degrees outside) people will instantly assume someone has nicked it from you. If you’re not wearing tights I’d be confused and conclude someone must have nicked them too.

My flat mates tried to teach me the “social etiquette” of this country but a year on and I’m still in a state of culture shock, bigger than when I visited India.

She'll more likely be getting an ambulance rather than a taxi home..

She’ll more likely be getting an ambulance rather than a taxi home..

You guys go crazy on nights out

You guys go crazy on nights out

I have concluded that there are several explanations to my confusion.

The definition of “drunk” in my country means slightly tipsy – I’d actually go as far as saying almost sober – whereas drunk here is more like ending up in A&E and having to stay for a week because you fell off one of Liverpool’s many Lambananas.

In this country, public displays of affection when drunk are completely normal. Chicks crying their eyes out and guys being so happy they don’t have a choice but to sing (scream/shout) the worst songs in public places is a normal scene at 4am on the streets of Britain.

It would be embarrassing anywhere else in the world.


The Brits seem to have a very negative view of themselves, and believe they are unable to have fun on a night out without getting completely wasted, even though British people are known to be funnier than any other people from any other country in the world.

Maybe you don’t realise how funny you are because you’re always trashed?