An American’s observations of studying abroad in Cambridge

‘Not all British accents are cute’


When I arrived at Cambridge to study abroad, I felt like I was thrown back to my freshman year. I knew no one, was constantly lost, and felt completely overwhelmed. On top of the common stresses that come with being new to a college, there was also the culture shock of new to a whole country. Let’s face it, if you think England and America are similar because we share the same language you’re just kidding yourself.

Two months later, as I prepare to leave England and go back to my home university in the States, I am by no means an expert on the Cambridge lifestyle, but I like to think I learned a little more than just academics.

Here is what I noticed as an American living in Cambridge.

1.DO NOT STEP ON THE GRASS… Especially at King’s College.

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2. People say “proper” in front of everything.

3. Tea to the English is like coffee to Americans

4. The staff at Hot Numbers are so hot that I somehow want all of their numbers

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5. Brexit. Don’t talk about it. Actually, just pretend it never happened.

6. If it does come up just say, “Donald Trump.” This will appease the situation making America, once again, the laughing stock.

7. Why punt when you can just use paddles? Save yourself some energy.

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8. Bike rage is real

9. Lola Lo’s is always a good idea

10. Unless it becomes a bad idea

11. Then go to The Trailer of Life.  Your life really does depends on it.

12. The spiders in Bodley’s Court are a bitch.

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13. Tourists will snap your picture because they can’t believe they saw a “real-life Cambridge student.”

14. DO NOT BRING FOOD INTO THE LECTURE ROOM, I REPEAT, DO NOT DO IT.

15. Since when is a grade of 65 an A?

16. Unlike in America where leafs are harmless, here there are nettles- leafs from Satan himself.

17. The aroma of cow shit throughout the city is unavoidable

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18. Dodging tourists is a daily occurrence

19. I have a chimney in my dorm room

20. My neighbor has a grand piano in his dorm room

21. AND housekeepers clean said dorm rooms

22. Amazing.

23. Scones are beautifully scrumptious breads from heaven

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24. Clotted cream is definitely not the same thing as butter

25. Saying “chips” is actually way more satisfying than saying “fries.”

26. Unless the waiter takes you for an American and brings you potato chips instead of fries.

27. Yes, I am American. I have an American accent. Get over it, creepy guy at the bar.

28. I understand you are trying to make a living, but please stop pestering me to buy your punting tour.

29. Coins actually mean something here

30. John Lewis is almost as amazing as Target

31. There is no air-conditioning. Prepare to sweat it out.

32. Nachos here are absolute rubbish.

33. Bridge jumping is a near impossible feat.

34. Saying “y’all” is not the end of the world. You should try it sometime.

35. The number of times you bump your head entering a college is uncanny

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36. Not all British accents are cute. Some are just bloody confusing to understand

37. The Eagle is cool – I admit. But the DNA is overrated.

38. If you swear at me with that accent, I won’t take it seriously

39. Yes, I’m talking about you, you bloody wanker

40. Cindies is so special, abroad students don’t dare touch it