University culture is becoming increasingly diverse thanks to the continuing rise in international students choosing to study in the UK. 2016 alone saw a 2 percent rise in international students enrolling in UK Higher Education, adding to the half a million students (home, EU and international) that currently reside here.
However, as the UK begin the process of leaving the European Union, it’s unclear how the make-up of EU students in the UK, currently 5.5% of the total student population, will be affected. Yet, as more and more nationalities migrate to live and work together, it makes sense to understand and celebrate our cultural differences, in a time when they may be challenged or misunderstood.
Campus Living Villages, a global student accommodation provider, has crowd-sourced a range of nuances and cultural habits to help students, from all nationalities, get to know each other a little better.
From their findings, they have created the International Student Living Etiquette Guide. Taking a peek into the lives of the world’s students, the guide includes insights from foreign nationals on what student life is like in their own country and top tips from home students on how to adjust to life in the UK.
From explaining the North-South language barrier around whether your ‘dinner’ plans are for lunch or dinner, to getting discounts on train travel, the accommodation provider has created an easy to refer to crib sheet for helping each other settle into UK university life.
With so many nationalities joining together at universities across the country, of course it’s not only the UK cultural differences that cause misunderstandings. As a UK student, you may be taken aback when your Italian friend greets you with three kisses on the cheek, or perplexed by your Aussie mate’s unseasonal wardrobe.
For example, did you know that Dutch students never have more than two weeks straight off during the year? Or Spanish students like to get together for Botellóns – parties where it’s legal to drink in the street?
Not only can you use the guide to explore your friend’s cultures, but to understand how to help them transition to UK student life with ease. Did you know that Chinese students may seem quiet as they’re worried about getting their English wrong – why not offer to help them learn? Or that pub culture is as popular in Germany as it is in the UK? So how about inviting your German friends out next time you’re at the pub quiz?
Clara, a French student at the University of Manchester, said: “When I first moved here it was difficult to get used to all of the different behaviours I was surrounded by at university, particularly when it came to socialising. Everyone was used to enjoying their evenings in different ways and it would’ve been good to have a guide like this to know what to expect before moving to such an international university!”
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