America vs.The UK: Uni Edition

Differences you always suspected but were never sure of…

Here at The Tab, one of us was lucky enough to actually have a reading week off.

While all my colleagues were sitting around, cursing the fact that they do real subjects that engage in rigorous testing and practical work during one of the scarce few weeks we have at this ludicrously overpriced playground, I decided to skip across the pond and take a gander at how the other more American half live.

After returning and conferring with my other Tab colleagues who have also travelled to other institutions in the U.S of A, we discovered some apparently universal truths about our friends across the pond in higher education. Find out if all those teen movies were telling the truth….

     1. Everyone’s on the whole more polite and friendly

How we should behave…

While Brits may champion ourselves as the defender of manners, in actuality we’re colder than any beer Jean-Claude Van Damme tries to sell us. Think of no eye contact on public transport and the complete lack of dialogue with anyone standing behind a checkout. Contrast this to when on the second day in America I had to buy a temporary phone, and went into a RadioShack to get one. Obviously the accent was a factor, but within about five minutes I’d been asked my name, where I was from, how was I finding the US, what I was planning on doing when I was there and so on. While a pleasant surprise, it did mean that actually buying the thing took five times as long as it should have done. It’s amazing anyone gets any work done. On the flipside…

2. But people tend to be more immature.

“Someone said boobs!”

I’m not talking about the classic internet comedy video of ‘Americans who don’t know where anything is’, I mean that the impression I got from talking to a bunch of them is that the amount of actual things and ‘life experiences’ they’ve had is surprisingly small compared to most people here. Maybe this is just my cocky London-born city slicker side coming out, but I’d have thought in the land of opportunity more of them would have actually tried things. Admittedly being treated like children up until the age of 21 might have something to do with it.

3. ‘Work hard Play hard’ is a way of life over there.

The red cups are a real thing!

The concept of a casual drink doesn’t seem to have reached the States. There’s no such thing as going to the pub with a couple of mates, slowly drowning the sorrows you presumably have, and then stumbling home again, at least not amongst students. Instead the norm seems to pulling four all nighters in a row without touching a drop and then deliberately drinking to black out on the weekend. You think I may be exaggerating, but having been invited to an all day frat party with (as far I could tell) close to unlimited alcohol, I was treated to the sight of one particular gentleman alternately swigging from a one litre bottle of vodka in one hand and an extra large can of red bull in the other. At three in the afternoon. The party got shut down at ten. I know Brits can have some heavy nights out but I was pretty impressed by the scale of it.

4. Everyone loves a bit of the grass.

Correlation = Causation?

‘Oh big deal,’ you may be thinking, ‘it’s not like no one over here smokes up.’ True but it’s not just the how many but the who that’s funny. Even in this modern day and age the people who regularly smoke marijuana over here tend to be associated with a certain laidback attitude. In America, you can be in a room full of apparently ‘nerdy/geeky/insulting stereotype’ people discussing their assignments when all of a sudden they sit back and crack out a couple of joints. Given weed is now legal in two states it’s probably easier to get hold of, but it’s still a bit odd how much more causal it is among all students than it is here.

5. Rugby isn’t cool.

Unlikely to set pulses a-racing.

Sorry ‘lads’ but it just isn’t over there. It’s below Men’s Lacrosse and ‘soccer’ in the pecking order according to the ladies. Might want to find something else to do.