HAPPY BIRFDAY TO…Wait, Where Did My Money Go?
This is a post from AdventurersAbroad, my joint study abroad blog with my friends. In an effort to not spam you all, I’ll try to keep all my SA posts over there but some of them might sneak over to this page every once in awhile.
I’ve been in Brighton for a little over a week now, during which time I’ve realized a few things. First and foremost, everything in the UK is obscenely expensive. Considering the British Pound is worth 1.6 US dollars, I’ve fallen into the habit of doubling every price tag I see so I don’t fool myself into thinking I’ve stumbled upon a deal. A fancy shirt for ten pounds? Twenty American dollars. Put it back on the rack. Even Poundland (the UK dollar store) seems overpriced at times and I’m worried my frugal spending habits are only going to exacerbate from this point on. Living here is like willfully applying for the Cheap Person SATs.
The hidden costs I’ve uncovered don’t make matters better. When I applied to the University of Sussex, I was under the impression that the town was a 10 minute walk away from campus, which, coming from a school that doesn’t even have a town to walk to, made me pretty ecstatic. Come to find out it is, in fact, a twenty minute bus ride from campus, one which costs 3.50 pounds (7 dollars) each time you use it. While there’s plenty to do on campus, the grocery store and bank both lie in the center of the coastal town and so, I’ve found myself riding the bus more than I had originally expected.
On top of that, I had to pay for a keycard to get into the media building where one of my classes is, which doesn’t seem entirely fair considering I’m only going to be here for a semester and I only have one class in that wing. It’s an abuse of power, really.
Apart from the barrels of cash I’ve had to hand over, though, I’m starting to enjoy my time at this school. It’s significantly bigger than Wheaton (by about 11,000 people, to be exact) but as a result, there’s always something happening on campus. (And the students here take advantage of that whenever possible. These people go out in one week than I have in my entire life.) Students are fond of house parties here. My friend and I went to a birthday party with our flatmates the other day (not to party but to observe). Though the International Students ultimately ended up crowding together in the corner of the room, we still got to mingle with our flatmates from time to time, who questioned us about American culture and food products. (“Do Bostonians eat a lot of Boston Cream doughnuts?” and “You guys hang out at Krispy Kreme, right?” Apparently, the British think we’re all doughnut fanatics.) We also learned what flapjacks are, and they are nothing like pancakes, which is what we expected.
The best part though, for me at least, was listening to the people singing at the end of the night. The British accent turned what would have been a collective round of “Happy birthday to youuu” into “Happy birfday to youuu” which I appreciated. It’s the little things.
Also, this happened:
British student during a discussion on why Americans may enjoy movies more than other forms of media: “But I heard Americans can’t read? Like, 1 in 3 American adults are illiterate?”
If anyone had any doubts over what the British think of us, it’s become clear that, in their eyes, we are illiterate doughnut-lovers. Not too far off from the truth, I guess.