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I have been studying at Westfield House in Cambridge, England for almost one month now! Unlike most of the other Concordia students studying abroad this semester I do not have a language barrier in England (most of the time!), but I have noticed some major differences between my days here in Cambridge and my normal routine at Concordia. In typical click-bait fashion, here are five differences I have noticed between Concordia and Cambridge.

  1. Classes: Concordia is a small university and tries to keep class sizes to smaller than twenty students. I may have thought I would not be in a class smaller than those at Concordia, but I was wrong. Westfield is a very small school; all my classes have less than ten people in them, and my average class size is four people. Many people warned me the learning style in the UK is different than in the US, but honestly, I have not noticed much a difference. The classes are taught similarly to my classes at home where there is a lot of reading during the semester and final paper summarizing our thoughts.

    Westfield House students Spring 2019

  2. Food: This is one difference I did not expect to encounter living in England. Obviously British people have their own food and preferences, but I did not realize how different their food was. The first time I went grocery shopping I was so confused! Many of their foods have slightly different names than I was used to, meaning I had to look a little harder and longer on my first grocery trip. Due to different health regulations, many foods also taste slightly differently than in the US. One other major difference is British food tends to be healthier. This has been a really nice change except for when I am craving something sweet; British chocolate just isn’t quite the same!
  3. Travel: After having a car on campus, I hardly ever walked to Target to do my grocery shopping; driving in just so much more convenient. Obviously I will not be driving in the UK, but driving is much less common. Walking around Cambridge in the morning, it is normal to see people biking all over town in business clothes. Gas is ridiculously expensive here, but walking is a part of their culture. The train station is a two mile walk from Westfield House, which is considered quite doable by most British people (and honestly it was not that bad).

    the River Cam which I cross to get into the center of Cambridge

  4. Weekends: Most of my weekends at Concordia were spent hanging out with friends and doing homework. As I am not going to waste my opportunity to explore and travel while in the UK, each weekend I have gone a different adventure. Since most of my homework is reading it is easy to take a book on the train or bus with me. I have visited so many beautiful and historic buildings, museums, and towns. It is so fun to be surrounded by so much history and I looking forward to even more adventures on future weekends!
  5. Tea time: This is maybe the one stereotype about British people that is entirely true. They love their tea over here. Tea is a normal thing to offer at pretty much anytime of day. Cambridge is a university town, so obviously there are a plethora of coffee shops and cafes, but tea is a much larger part of the menus than in coffee shops in the US. There is nothing better than being offered a warm mug of tea wherever you go!

As I continue to settle into life in Cambridge, I am excited to continue exploring and learning more about British and European culture and history. Sending love and hugs to everyone from the UK!

-Bethany

Last modified: January 29, 2019