UK society prides itself on having a multicultural society and is very tolerant of new religions and cultures. While the UK has also kept its ancient traditions, such as its royal party, it has changed dramatically and has become much more multicultural and cosmopolitan.
London is the center for many international students in the UK as it is a destination of great diversity. UK traditions and culture are vibrant, ranging from ancient castles to lush gardens. In the UK, people and their lifestyles are quite different from anywhere else in the world.
For example, they are well known for their reserved nature, value their privacy, and avoid showing emotion in a big way. A lifetime would be needed to discover the rich culture of the British nation, regions, and people. However, a few basic things expats should keep in mind before they go.
Christianity is the most common religion in the UK, with 50 percent of the population being religious, mainly divided between the Church of England and Catholics.
Additionally to Christians, the UK has many followers of the following other major world religions:
- 50.7% Catholics
- 2.5% Muslims
- 0.7% Hindus
- 0.6% Jewish
- 0.3% Sikhs
- 1.5% of other non-Christians
Throughout the UK, English is the primary language spoken. There are still some Welsh-speaking people in Wales. Nonetheless, since everyone in the United Kingdom speaks English, you only need to learn English there.
There are many dialects for such a small country, and some of them can be complicated to understand, even for English speakers. These linguistic variations include:
- Cockney: a person from London The most common British ethnicity is cockney (people from London).
- Brummies: people from Birmingham.
- Mancunians: people who are from Manchester.
- West Country: people who live in Devon, Cornwall, and Bristol.
- Scousers: residents of Liverpool.
- Geordie: a person from Newcastle, Middlesbrough, or Sunderland.
- Scots or Scottish: people who are from Scotland.
- Welsh: citizens of Wales.
Unexplained Etiquette and Rules
Typical of every culture, there are unspoken rules in the UK that are expected to be followed. You'll pick them up pretty quickly. The most important is punctuality - if you are running late because of meeting someone, please inform them as soon as you can, queueing (which the UK is known for!), and making small talk when everyone is introduced to each other.
There is probably no word overused in British English other than "sorry." It is a British culture to over-apologize about everything, from the weather to the fact that they bump into someone on the train. According to a survey, the average British person apologizes about seven times a day. Some people apologize up to 20 times a day.
Experiencing British Traditions
The Students' Union of your university or institute may organize cultural events related to the UK and other countries. There are several Students' Unions that organize celebrations for One World Week. The date varies by institution, so check the website of your students' union or contact them for details.
An organization named HOST connects international students at UK colleges and universities with hosts who will invite international students to their homes for the day, a weekend, or even at Christmas.
UK weather is another unique, confusing, or surprising aspect of British life, and British people love talking about it! The weather is notoriously hard to predict in the UK because it constantly changes.
During September, the weather can be pretty sunny and mild, while the weather usually remains mild during October, but the temperatures cool off slightly. You can expect fog and cold weather in November and December, and in late November, you may encounter frost and snow.
It will still be freezing in January and February, and there will be frost and snow at times.
Spring begins in March, but the weather can be very unpredictable. It may be chilly and warm at the same time! The city comes alive with spring flowers in April and May when the weather warms up. Spring is a time when it is more likely to rain than at any other time of the year, so bring a light raincoat and umbrella in preparation.
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