Everything I’ve learnt as a northern student whilst studying at Newcastle University

We’re like a rare species

When I first entered the land of the great North East as a bright-eyed, hopeful, northern fresher, I assumed life for me here wouldn’t be much different to life back home. However, soon after moving in, I came to realise I was extremely wrong. Life as a northern student at Newcastle Uni does not make you feel closer to home. In fact, it’s rather the complete opposite.

There are no northerners

It appears that in this realm, finding another northerner is like finding a member of a sports society on a Thursday 9am – totally unheard of. When I’m walking across campus and hear a “yeah” amongst a cacophony of “yah’s” I have to restrain myself from jumping with excitement. Who would’ve thought there’d be so many southerners this far up north? Or, on second thoughts, I think I would also want to be as far from the south as possible.

Everyone makes fun of your accent

I’d say I have a very neutral accent, some people where I’m from even stoop to the level of calling me posh. So, one thing I certainly wasn’t prepared for was for everyone at this uni to believe I have the most northern accent to ever exist. To many people’s surprise, people from different regions pronounce things differently. I could probably drop out of my degree and make a living from the entertainment I provide my friends when they force me to repeat simple words like “bus” just to laugh at my pronunciation (it’s pronounced the same way as “foot” btw).

You are the most northern person ever

If the accent mocking isn’t enough, everyone also seems to think I am the most northern person to walk the planet. I may as well live in a coal mine eating chips and gravy with the number of stereotypes I have placed upon me.

The extremities of the north-south divide

One thing I’ve learnt is that the north-south divide really does exist when it comes to the simple things. Take food, for example. Never in my life have I seen a group of people so shocked at the prospect of a butter pie than in my first year flat. What do you mean that delicacy doesn’t exist down south? The same goes for activities. No, I won’t be participating in lacrosse after brunch, thanks Felicity x

The other divide

What people don’t ever seem to discuss is the north-north divide. A Geordie boy once almost fought me when I told him I was from the north. According to him, the north begins and ends in Newcastle. Until I see someone from Manchester refer to “tea” as “supper”, I don’t think I’ll quite believe that one.

No one knows where you’re from

Was I shocked that no one here has heard of the tiny village I’m from? No. But was I shocked that no one seems to know anywhere in the north-west region? Absolutely. If I have learnt anything moving here, it’s that the phrase “It’s near Manchester” will become part of your daily vocab if you’re a northerner living up here. Even if you’re from nowhere near the city, it seems that most people can’t picture anywhere else on a map. Imagine living your life having never even heard that the second biggest bus station in Europe with a car park on top resides in Preston, or not knowing the whereabouts of the eighth wonder of the world, Blackpool Tower. It’s a total travesty.

Whilst being a northerner at Newcastle is certainly not what I expected, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  The best thing I have learnt is that once you do meet a northerner here, you have a friendship for life. Nothing beats bonding over the weird posh things Southerners seem to think are normal – it’s actually well cool, as we Northerners would say.

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