You’ve heard George Bernard Shaw’s sentiment that “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” When you study abroad in England you’ll learn to appreciate the superfluous vowels like that extra “u” in colour or neighbour. You’ll go up the lift instead of the elevator, “mind the gap” on the Tube, and throw away the rubbish. You’ll find while studying abroad in England, it isn't just the stereotypical British culture of tea drinking and cricket playing, but a whole new world with a long history of international influence bundled up in this small but vibrant country that makes England special.
Study abroad in London, and suddenly you’re surrounded by 200 nationalities with more than 300 languages spoken in the capital city. Imagine the dynamic that creates! But this is an English-speaking country, of course, so study abroad students will find it an easy place to navigate — although they should be prepared for when the natives have a good-natured laugh at new accents.
Studying abroad in England will expose you to multiculturalism that you may not have expected. England’s multi-culti flair is apparent in everything from the shop fronts on a town’s High Street to the food available at restaurants all across the country. You might not eat fish and chips as much as you’d expect while studying in England, but you will find yourself indulging in England’s most popular knock-off dishes, like the Chinese stir-fry — which recently knocked the Indian chicken tikka masala from the top spot. For a proper English meal during your study abroad program, don’t miss a Sunday roast at a traditional pub with a fireplace blazing nearby. Take a walk through the Saturday farmers markets for fresh fruit and “veg.”
While studying abroad in England, you’ll dance to Australian music, drink Colombian coffee, and sit across from Pakistanis and Norwegians on the trains. You’ll shop at French boutiques and buy flowers from vendors whose market stall has been passed through generations. You’ll drive past mosques and temples, experience celebrations of Chinese New Year, Canada Day, and the Fourth of July. Your doctor may be from Bangladesh and the person who delivers your mail from Mali. The diversity is all the beauty of studying in England.
Of course, the English have left a huge impact on culture around the world. “Keep Calm and Carry On” was originally a morale-boosting slogan from World War II that’s now recognized around the world. The country counts Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Coldplay, Simon Cowell, Sir Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Isaac Newton, Orlando Bloom, Ian Fleming, and Audrey Hepburn among its ranks — and these are just a few among far too many other world-famous Brits to name.
You may bump into some quirky and eccentric yet traditional English entertainment events between classes or on weekends, like the famous Maldon mud race, the annual cheese rolling competition on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, or a burst of impromptu morris (folk) dancing.
Sights to see in England while you are studying abroad range from exciting contemporary architecture, like The Shard sprouting up on London’s impressive skyline, to ancient crumbling castles, like Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire. The green farms and fields that stretch on for miles provide sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of London’s city life. For a real foray into the great outdoors, visit the vast open spaces of Dartmoor, the White Cliffs of Dover, the Lake District, Peak District, or New Forest in Hampshire while studying abroad in England.
While you’re in the “Land of Hope and Glory,” be sure to take in the atmosphere at a soccer game (except they call it football or footy). Enjoy the live music scene that welcomes new artists and looks back on a history that includes the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. Delve into the art scene where Damien Hirst and Banksy have left their marks. Visit London’s West End to take in a theater performance or a comedy show. Watch the Queen’s speech and amuse yourself with the antics of Kate and Will as the nation follows the every move of the Duke and Duchess. If you’re looking for a break from studying, the rest of Europe awaits you just a short train or plane ride away.
You can choose to apply through a third-party study abroad provider, such as CAPA International Education, which combines academics with exploration of London. You can also choose to apply directly to one of England’s top universities, like Oxford, King's College London, the London School of Economics, or the University of Cambridge. Check with your study abroad advisor on campus for guidance (Note that classes in England tend to be more focused on essays and projects than on tests!).
By the way, bring an umbrella — but know that, like many preconceived ideas about England, you might not rely on it quite as much as you’d assume during your study abroad adventure.