Written by Talya
MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology
Hello everyone. As some of you may remember, I wrote a blog about the comparisons of Turkish and British life from my perspective as an international student. Here is part II!
Timing is really important for British people, and they have odd rules around meal times. For instance, it appears to be acceptable to have Sunday lunch between 12 and 5pm. But if somebody would ask for it at even 5.03pm, you would be told it is too late for Sunday lunch and dinner starts at 6pm. Another confusion has been around even what to call meal times. Is it lunch or dinner? Is it dinner or tea? Is tea not a drink?
I have also learnt never to be late for my bus because there is no chance at all that a bus driver will break his schedule to wait for you even if he clearly sees you running as fast as you can to catch him. I will never forget the day I sprinted to the bus banged on the doors and the driver looked at me and pulled away. This would never happen in Turkey, and the driver might even keep letting passengers in until there is no space left on the bus and we have a phrase “Let them sit on our heads”.
The weather – it is raining cats and dogs!
Rain, rain, constant RAIN! I have been to the UK both in summer and in winter and it is constantly raining. It is even worse when you are cycling around Bournemouth as I don’t have access to a car. Almost every day I can hear my Mum talking about how sunny the weather is in Istanbul and here I am complaining that it is 13 degrees again! 13 degrees is coat weather for me; whereas for British people, SHORTS ARE OUT! I remember going to Brighton with my boyfriend and taking my thick coat with me just in case it rains. His Mum found this highly amusing, “It’s summer, my dear!”
Compared to Turkish and Armenian cuisine, British food has distinct differences. Instead of using different kinds of herbs, the British cuisine is more likely known for its roast dishes, unfussy simple sauces, different kinds of pies and of course fish and chips! Since this is my fifth time being in the UK, I knew I would need to bring herbs with me. I also brought recipes knowing that the smell of the food would remind me of home.
The obsession with the tea
It would be rude not to mention afternoon tea as similar to Turkey, the UK is known with their love of tea like Earl Grey and English breakfast tea, of course with milk. If you visit Turkey and ask for a regular tea, the chance for them to serve the tea with milk is quite low. If you ask for the “additional milk” this would make you sound quite “sophisticated”. Whilst the British also love their coffee and no shopping trip is complete without a Starbucks or Costa, the Turks are also obsessed with coffee. However, this is quite different to the UK as Turkish coffee has a rough texture and a strong smell. Also, after you finish your coffee you may find someone looking into your coffee grounds trying to read your fortune.
Being a foreigner, being homesick and trying to manage the household while adapting to a different country has brought a lot of distress and anxiety. However, despite all the challenges, studying at BU has been a great opportunity to shape my future career!