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Full Mind Alchemist
What is the U.K. like?

I have always wanted to go to the U.K., but im not the richest kid on the block. What is it like out there, pros...cons, that kind of stuff? Can anyone who has lived there tell me about it? What is the night life like and other things?
Phyllis
Well, for starters, how long do you want to visit? And where are you from? Canada? America? Australia? Darkest Peru? If you're American I can probably give you an okay idea what to expect as far as cultural differences, how far your dollars will go and stuff like that since I'm also American and just spent the summer over there. Other places I won't be able to help you as much with the differences, since I've never been anywhere other than America and the UK. >_>

Also, do have any ideas whereabouts in the UK you want to go exactly?
Full Mind Alchemist
I would want to visit far at leat a year or so. I would want to visit London, Wales, Liverpool. I am from America (to bad I hate it here.).
Phyllis
You can only visit for up to 6 months without a visa (such as student visa, for instance), I'm afraid. Are you planning on studying over there at all? Also, you can't work over there without a visa that says you can (which would be a highly skilled worker visa or a spouse visa...might be others I'm not thinking of, but the basic idea is it's not something you'll probably be able to get). So you'll need all the money for your trip before you go. You'll have to be able to show the immigration officer that you can support yourself for the extent of your trip without resorting to public funds, and that you have a return ticket for no more than 6 months in the future.

Of those places you mentioned, I've only really been to London. Never visited Liverpool at all, and only went on a short visit (a few hours) to Wales with the boyfriend's parents once. London really is as expensive as everyone says it is. I was pretty stunned at the Tube fare, compared to the metro cards in NYC. But it's a lot more spread out than NYC, and the Tube is a lot cleaner, comfier, and easier to navigate in my opinion. But if you don't have a lot of money with you, you'll probably end up staying in a hostel in London.

Okay, cultural differences. Well, the most obvious one is the food. Stuff you thought you knew is different, a lot of stuff we have is missing there, and there is stuff you wouldn't have ever dreamed of consuming (black pudding......). Try it all, unless you're a vegetarian (hah! That one got me out of a lot of stuff). It's an experience. wink.gif People on here will probably mention something about portion sizes, which you might notice if you eat out in the US a lot. I tend to eat at home here, so I didn't feel deprived living there since I'm not used to US restaurant sized portions anyway.

Fully expect to be offered tea at least 10 times if you meet anyone's parents. wink.gif Mobile phones (cells) are far more prevalent. It's kind of strange to meet someone who doesn't have one. There will be quite a few slang terms you probably won't know, but just ask. I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff here, but I'll think of it later!

Nightlife...hmm. I don't know, I lived in a tiny village in Worcestershire. tongue.gif But I did go to cities quite a few times, and it didn't seem much different than the nightlife in America to be honest. But that might just be me being oblivious. unsure.gif

Travel: You'll probably end up on a train, or if you REALLY wanna save money, you could use megabus (www.megabus.com). Whenever I was on a train and there were other Americans onboard, they always waited till the last possible minute to get off once it was their stop. I always worried that they'd make it (and one woman didn't on the way to Glasgow, poor thing). Don't be one of those people! Just get up and get off the silly thing...they won't wait forever. tongue.gif

Some cons of the UK: It's expensive for an American tourist. There's no denying that. The current exchange rate is 1 pound = 1.78 dollars. I just estimated that whenever I bought something, it'd cost twice that amount in dollars since the exchange rate tends to fluctuate quite a bit. From what I understand the North is generally less expensive than the South, but I didn't go to the North very much myself.

How much you should budget for accomodation all depends on where you're going to stay. The only places I ever stayed were campsites and hotels. Food doesn't cost much, really. At least, it didn't for me...but I had a stove where I could cook things most of the time. Pre-made food costs more, obviously...but I guess you could always just go to a chip shop. They're cheap and they give you incredibly huge portions (surprisingly so...I was very much not expecting that much food the first few times I ate in one....which were the only few times cause I got sick of them after that!). I'd say just double the amount you spend in dollars each month for food in the US and that should give you a pretty good idea of what to budget there.

The weather might be a con for some people. It was really, really muggy when I first got there. Blegh...very sticky. That only lasted a couple of weeks, though. I guess it rained a fair amount of time when I was there, though I didn't think it was excessive at all...plus I like the rain. But again, that was during summer. I don't have any firsthand experience of the weather at any other time of year yet.

Aaaand I think I've given you quite enough information to digest for now. Erm...wow. That's a really really long post. Dunno if it was even any help, but oh well!
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (candice @ Oct 28 2005, 07:33 AM)
There will be quite a few slang terms you probably won't know, but just ask.  I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff here, but I'll think of it later!

*


The general rule of thumb there is if you hear a world you don't know it will probably (but not always) mean idiot or penis, sometimes both.
Cath Sparrow
Well seeing as I live on a pensular just between Liverpool and Wale I could probably tell you a reasonable amount about either so just ask away and I'll do my best to answer. biggrin.gif
Full Mind Alchemist
Thanks for the infomation and that was a lond post but very helpful. And I like the rain so that is a pro. But what I am intrested in is the Clubs because that is what my freinds and I do. All infomation is welcome, and what is the music like.
Snugglebum the Destroyer
QUOTE
But what I am intrested in is the Clubs because that is what my freinds and I do. All infomation is welcome, and what is the music like.


Well, it's another country not another planet, so the music is pretty much the same as it is in America I should imagine. We HAVE heard of American artists in this country, you know. wink.gif
Daria
QUOTE (Full Mind Alchemist @ Oct 28 2005, 03:43 PM)
Thanks for the infomation and that was a lond post but very helpful. And I like the rain so that is a pro. But what I am intrested in is the Clubs because that is what my freinds and I do. All infomation is welcome, and what is the music like.
*



Clubs as in dance music and DJing, or clubs as in little grungy rock clubs? Britain has both! Woo! dry.gif
There is plenty of everything in London, just don't expect the people to be fantasticaly nice. I went down there for a gig, and at a tube station I saw a woman struggling down the stairs with a pushchair, so I picked up the bottom of it, and helped her down the stairs. When we got to the bottom, I half expected her to say thankyou but instead she gave me a nasty look and scuttled off the other way.

Only tourists and daytrippers are nice biggrin.gif

(No offence meant to all Londoners- I'm sure you're individualy lovely biggrin.gif)

FMA- What is it that's attracting you to London, Wales and Liverpool?
Phyllis
QUOTE (Snugglebum the Destroyer @ Oct 28 2005, 08:20 AM)
Well, it's another country not another planet, so the music is pretty much the same as it is in America I should imagine.  We HAVE heard of American artists in this country, you know.  wink.gif
*

Pretty much, from my experience. Though it was kind of confusing when I was eating in an Italian restaurant with several forumites in London, and the music that started playing was "America The Beautiful." blink.gif

I don't think it's very different from America in the music/club aspect, to be honest. Same stuff, just more expensive. The only differences other than that I can think of are 1. You can get in when you're 18 and drink...and 2. We tend to pour stronger mixed drinks over here. At least where I live, anyway. Other than that...tis basically the same from what I saw.
Forever Unknown
QUOTE (candice @ Oct 28 2005, 04:52 PM)
We tend to pour stronger mixed drinks over here.
*



I wish I lived in America...
Tom
If you want to look at England come here.Enjoy!
Calantyr
The UK is the land of milk and honey. All your dreams can come true in our socialist paradise! Forward the workers revolution!
Full Mind Alchemist
Thanks for the info. I think my atraction to England and those cities is... well i am not very sure because i have not ben there yet. But I dont like it here in America. If you lived here you would understand.
Snugglebum the Destroyer
QUOTE
When we got to the bottom, I half expected her to say thankyou but instead she gave me a nasty look and scuttled off the other way.


Ohhhh - that's a certain London attitude that I really do despise! Where I live, you randomly say hi to people you're passing EVEN if you don't know them. You say thank you to the bus driver and ask for directions if you need to.

Apparently, in London, these are stabbable(I know, not a word) offences.

After spending time in London my manners and general demeanour are offended. I don't understand why everyone should be so anti - social?
Calantyr
Because if you make eye-contact with the wrong people you do get stabbed?

Well at least it makes the morning run to the corner shops exciting.
Snugglebum the Destroyer
QUOTE
Because if you make eye-contact with the wrong people you do get stabbed?


My point. ^

I could get stabbed here. Or in Liverpool. Or in Wales. Or in Ireland. Or abroad. I'm not going to be rude to people on the off chance they may stab me. Damn - if I did that I may as well stop leaving the house.
Mata
FMA, Britain really isn't a theme park. You really can't say 'what's it like?' when there is a vast difference between different areas. It isn't Disney World, where you might be able to summarise all the staff and all the rides without too much trouble. We've got rock clubs, live electronica gigs, punk, hardcore gabba, classical concerts, cheesy house, retro 80s, hard house, soulful house, techno, drum 'n' bass clubs, indie clubs, karaoke!

Some places are friendly, some places aren't, some places are cities, two miles away you can be surrounded by fields, some places are dirty and polluted, others are sparkling clean, we have table-flat moors and we have mountains, we've got more accents than we know what to do with (even we British don't understand all of them).

My point is simple: tell us what you're looking for and we'll tell you if we know a good place for you to look, otherwise all you're doing is the equivalent of me saying to you 'what's the US like?'
Calantyr
QUOTE (Snugglebum the Destroyer @ Oct 29 2005, 01:51 AM)
QUOTE
Because if you make eye-contact with the wrong people you do get stabbed?


My point. ^

I could get stabbed here. Or in Liverpool. Or in Wales. Or in Ireland. Or abroad. I'm not going to be rude to people on the off chance they may stab me. Damn - if I did that I may as well stop leaving the house.
*



It's not that bad though. People say please and thank you just like in any other place. We just don't get in anyones faces. Saying hello to random people in the street? They are just as likely to think "What the hell? Do I know you? What do you want?"

When you cram a lot of people into the same small places people get very protective of their PERSONAL space. It's not that we are all grumpy bastards, we just like to deal with things on our own terms and at our own pace. It's hard to do that in a metropolis.
Witless
People in all large cities I've been to (I've travelled lots) are fairly anti social. By large cities.. I mean populations upwards of 3 million.

I think it's just when you're surrounded day in and out by people.. people really just get fed up of trying to be nice to everyone. It's just tiring to keep up with really. It's weird.. whenever i travel to somewhere quieter, i instantly start nodding and giving everyone a hello smile and nod.. but soon as I return to london the anonymity amongst the crowds sets in.

Well.. cept in poland.. even the rural areas of that country featured pretty darn abrasive people.. in my experience
Full Mind Alchemist
I would want to visit far at leat a year or so. I would want to visit London, Wales, Liverpool. I am from America (to bad I hate it here.).
Phyllis
QUOTE (Mata @ Oct 28 2005, 05:56 PM)
My point is simple: tell us what you're looking for and we'll tell you if we know a good place for you to look, otherwise all you're doing is the equivalent of me saying to you 'what's the US like?'
*

But Mata, didn't you know that the trip your great great uncle Bobert took to Alabama in 1978 was completely indicative of American culture? tongue.gif Well, that, and movies, of course. (A couple of people actually seemed to think something like this when I talked to them!)

My experience with large cities has been the same as Witless's...though I think I'd put the cut-off point higher than 3 million. When you live in a big city you just get suspicious of other people. Overall though I still found people there to be basically polite in all the places I went, including London...unless they were businessmen in a rush or chavs. wink.gif I avoid both. I found London to be more polite overall than NYC, for example...but maybe that's just cause I lived in NYC rather than simply visited it. *shrug*

FMA, if you're not even sure what attracts you to these places (of which I've only really visited one...I traveled quite a bit in the UK, but there's MUCH more to see than what I experienced), how are we supposed to know what activities there you'd like? tongue.gif And what is it about America that you dislike so much? It'd be a shame for it to be one of the commonalities between the two places....you'd end up very disappointed with your journey!

QUOTE (Full Mind Alchemist @ Oct 28 2005, 08:35 PM)
I would want to visit far at leat a year or so. I would want to visit London, Wales, Liverpool. I am from America (to bad I hate it here.).
*
Also...like I already mentioned when you said that the first time...you can't stay in the UK for a year. Not without a visa...of which you'd probably only qualify for a student visa. And you'd only qualify for THAT if you were going to study there. Otherwise it's just six months out of every 12 month period.
mooooooooooopo
QUOTE (candice @ Oct 29 2005, 04:40 AM)
My experience with large cities has been the same as Witless's...though I think I'd put the cut-off point higher than 3 million.  When you live in a big city you just get suspicious of other people.  Overall though I still found people there to be basically polite in all the places I went, including London...unless they were businessmen in a rush or chavs.  wink.gif  I avoid both.  I found London to be more polite overall than NYC, for example...but maybe that's just cause I lived in NYC rather than simply visited it.  *shrug*
*

Except for the leafletters, but they don't count as members of humanity. Especially the ones who stand in front of the button at pedestrian crossings!
I_am_the_best
QUOTE (Daria @ Oct 28 2005, 03:49 PM)
[When we got to the bottom, I half expected her to say thankyou but instead she gave me a nasty look and scuttled off the other way.

*


I've had completely different experiences. I've found that people are really friendly, there is such an atmosphere and buzz in the air when you go to London. Especially on the Southbank where all the street performers are and Convent Garden.
CommieBastard
Like Cal says, we Londoners get protective of our personal space. There's eight million of us there - thirteen million when the commuters are in. That's the kind of atmosphere which makes you a bit insular.
spiffilicious05
QUOTE
You can only visit for up to 6 months without a visa (such as student visa, for instance), I'm afraid. Are you planning on studying over there at all?


I'm most likely doing an exchange program to London durring the summer. Do you know if the student visa will cover getting a job or do I have to get another one? huh.gif
Phyllis
QUOTE (spiffilicious05 @ Oct 29 2005, 02:42 PM)
I'm most likely doing an exchange program to London durring the summer.  Do you know if the student visa will cover getting a job or do I have to get another one? huh.gif
*

Yes, but only part-time. You can't work more than 20 hours per week. If you're entering the country for less than 6 months, you have to ask the entry clearance officer for permission to work.

This can answer any other questions you have about the process.
Fallen Element
[spam-like side note]

FMA - you're dying to get out of USA and I'm desperate to get in.

I think that when you've lived in a limited amount of environments in the one country (like myself) you yearn for something different.

I'm planning to go to New York for a month next summer.

Culture is different wherever you go. You have to embrace and enjoy.


Fal xXx
pgrmdave
What part of New York? The city?
Cath Sparrow
QUOTE (Full Mind Alchemist @ Oct 29 2005, 04:35 AM)
I would want to visit far at leat a year or so. I would want to visit London, Wales, Liverpool. I am from America (to bad I hate it here.).
*


You've said this already but we need you to expand on this information so we can tell you about it. What sort of music are you interested in if you want to go to clubs, are you interested in the touristy stuff etc. Also where abouts are you thinking of in Wales it is a country after all would you be interested in North or South Wales etc. This is the sort of things we need to know to expand on the information your interested in.
Daria
QUOTE (Full Mind Alchemist @ Oct 29 2005, 01:40 AM)
Thanks for the info. I think my atraction to England and those cities is... well i am not very sure because i have not ben there yet. But I dont like it here in America. If you lived here you would understand.
*


Not wanting to sound patronising, but you do realise Wales is a country, right?
Moosh
This will tell you all you will need:

Britain for Americans
Rykan
It occured to me that a part of Billy Bailey's Part Troll show would be appropriate here, so I transcribed the part in question before work biggrin.gif
(I've put the relevant bits in blue, but put the whole thing up because it's so funny);

QUOTE
"It's very difficult when you're in another country and someone asks you 'What's Briatain like? I mean, what do you say? What's Britain like? Uhrm... well... It's alrite. It's just, y'know, we got Nectar Points, they're quite handy; we've got under statement, uh, we're tough on slogans, tough on the cause of slogans; Uhm, we have strong prevailing south westerly winds, 52% of our days are over cast, so as a nation we are infused with a wistful melacholy. But we remain a relentlessly chipper population, prone to mild eccentricity, binge drinking and casual violence. Brekfast is served 7 til' 9 (not a minute later or you will be cast out!). We have no natural predators, although a badger'll give you a nasty nip; or four hedgehogs feeding on honey may fall in your eyes. A wasp may fly in your mouth on a summer afternoon, sting your bottom lip, it swells up, like that, and you phone up the doctor, 'uhawusuhsuhnmuhluh', she thinks your a pervert, you get arrested, sent to a secret Mars penal colony, gain the support of the workers, throw off the shackles of oppression... um, and on the up side we've got Little Chefs, which were built many years ago on ley lines and then the roads just came in and connected them up. Lot of positivity in the Tea Cakes. And if it all goes horribly wrong we've always got Argos. Y'know? Don't you love Argos? With the laminated book of dreams! You know why it's laminated don't ya? To catch the tears of joy! So many beautiful things, *sob*, I cannot possess them all! *sobs more* Quick, stock check! Bibeepbibeep! It's like the ultimate betting shop, isn't it? The tiny little pens! The slips of paper! But everyone is a winner! And then you have the staff there don't you? The pale mythical wardens of the treasure! Where are they getting all this stuff from? It must be massive back there! Little grey door gives no hint of the magical boundary that lies beyond! It's like the Narnia of household goods! Tardis of toasters. So these kids I was talking to at the time started backing away saying "Yeah, alright mate, whatever, the hippies lost it." And then they asked me quite testing questions about Britain like "What are the crops?" What are the crops? Uh, I don't know, peas, carrots, cabbage, Sunny Delight, waffles, shortbread, I don't know! Y'now, Bip! *imitates scanning food* you don't have to harvest them, you just Bip! there y'go. But we won't have any genetically modified foods, oh no, we wont have any GM, which is a shame, I think we missed a trick there, we could have developed a form of wheat with the properties of velcro, to catch whatever it is thats making those crop circles! But then the space ship would have to have the corresponding velcro so it's a bit of a long shot. And then they said to me "What's the religion?" now that's a tricky one isn't it? There is religion, obviously, I mean there's 72% Christian, there's been Hinduism, Bhuddism, Islam, Juddaism, there's quite a few different religions, but predominantly we are quite secularised as a society and when pushed most people will write Jedi. So they learnt nothing from me, nothing! Although they did say "When's the rainy season?" Ah I can help you with that, that's around the 4th century AD and has carried on pretty much..."

Go find this if you can, it's a lot funnier seen!
Novander
I watched that quite recently. Laughed until it hurt, then laughed some more just for the hell of it.

As regarding the Jedi thing... I was browsing wikipedia the other day* and came across the page about the UK. Jedi is officially the 4th biggest religion, after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. We live in a wonderful society.

And yes, I am one of those Jedi.

*I love wikipedia. It knows everything, and wants to tell you all about it. It hypnotises you with its many links and will never let you go. Once you've searched for everything you can possibly think of, there's the random page function which is a whole new dimension of yay. If there was a wikipedia fan club, I actually wouldn't laugh at it and call it nerdy.
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (Rykan @ Oct 31 2005, 09:38 PM)
It occured to me that a part of Billy Bailey's Part Troll show would be appropriate here, so I transcribed the part in question before work biggrin.gif
*


I resisted resorting to Bill Bailey so hard in this thread...I even watched it to find the appropriate part, but was giggling too much and forgot until it got to the BBC news post-apocalyptic rave...I mean...theme tune.


I also resisted pointing out that Wales was a country not a city...but it seemed funnier to leave him in potential ignorance. tongue.gif
Edit: But now I think about it, Caerdydd is quite a nice place really, good night life.
Mata
I too am also a Jedi according to the UK census, as is Sues. I think Hampshire had one of the largest populations of Jedis in the country, or it might have been Winchester... Something like that anyway. There's lots of us.

Wikipedia is great until you get meddlers changing things in the definitions of swans to help propogate their own personal interesting fact that isn't quite true. Not that I'd do a thing like that. Noooo.
pgrmdave
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan

QUOTE (Wikipedia)
Swans usually mate for life, though "divorce" does sometimes occur, particularly following nesting failure or the death of a partner (this can be due to 'capsizing': overturned swans lack the ability to right themselves and therefore drown).
Rykan
QUOTE (Mata @ Nov 1 2005, 03:09 AM)
I too am also a Jedi according to the UK census, as is Sues....

Wikipedia is great until you get meddlers changing things in the definitions of swans to help propogate their own personal interesting fact that isn't quite true. Not that I'd do a thing like that. Noooo.
*


How do I get myself down as Jedi on the census? biggrin.gif
Oh and you naughty boy Mata! laugh.gif
Mata
Next time there's a census your simply put your religion down as 'Jedi'. Easy as that! I'm not sure how often they take them, I think it's every ten years.

Me? Naughty? That thing about capsizing swans is nothing to do with me, honest guv. Nope. Nothing at all.
Astarael
You're just putting that down to conceal your fiendish swan-tipping habits, aren't you, Mata? For shame. laugh.gif
Sir Psycho Sexy
Now you mention it, I did see a pair of waders when I went to Mata's house.
Mata
Good luck to any person who wishes to test that theory, after all, do you fancy having a go at capsizing a swan? I'm scared to get in twelve feet of the damn things. Nasty tempered things, they are.
Daria
Cheese Moose, that page is fantastic biggrin.gif

QUOTE
As it is a very  popular attraction, those of you who dislike crowds should take the tube at "off-peak" times, that is, 8-9am and 5-6pm.


And
QUOTE
Bagpipers relish playing American Negro Jazz, and will happily regale you with a medley of Big Band on  request



Where did you find such a fantastic site? I think the best bit ust be the Pub Etiquette-
QUOTE
Select your pub  carefully. The best pubs are those in the inner cities, around some of  the least salubrious housing. The people here cannot afford to go out, so pubs in these districts are full of upper-crust Englishmen who travel  here in their Bentley cars to get away from the hustle and bustle of country  pubs.
Mix with the locals. These "toffs" often put on a coarse accent after a glass or  two of beer; do not be intimidated, they are resting their throats after  talking "posh" all day. They will be glad to play Eton college word-games: "Get Up, That's My Seat", "You look a puff-to-me!"  and "Is-she-for sale?" Call out one of these games to any large chap, and have fun.

biggrin.gif

I found out just how wonderous Wikipedia realy is the otherday. I created an entry for a friend of mine- look up Angelina skye.

And swans are ok, just as long as you stay out of wing's reach biggrin.gif
Witless
What's it like in the UK? Pfft don't listen to all these folks.. it's all lies, allow me to give you a highly accurate and informative view of the UK.

In the mornings we prefer to be woken by our butlers and maids rather than alarm clocks. That will likely be the first thing that is different that you will notice.
Early morning we normally go hunting with our rifles and hunting dogs possibly to gather pheasants for our evening dinners.

For breakfast boiled eggs, with soldiers served with a cup of tea. After breakfast we a small glass of something alcoholic. Even children as young as 7 are normally indoctrined into having a small glass of sherry.

Then we go to work. Hopefully a nice respectable job like a government spy, or private detective, or any job that you can smoke with a nice expensive tobacco pipe.

After work your average person from the UK will retire back to the house of his/her mistress or other not so respectable other for a bit of rumpy pumpy. Before coming home to his/her family to retire to the living room smoking on on the expensive pipe, while the servants and maids prepare dinner.

Finally in the evenings we normally retire to bed wearing underwear, a full set of pajama's, socks. People that are feeling a little risque may possibly remove their hats in bed, but I wouldn't let the neighbours know.

Any questions?
Astarael
Such a funny website and summary... thanks, people. That's good for a bit of chuckling.
Anyway, swans can break your back with one blow of a wing if you piss them off too much. They may look pretty, but they're still dangerous. But if Mata doesn't tip swans, then why is he adding the information? I smell a plot....
Mosley
Tis a wonderous land where tiffin reigns supreme...
Mata
Ah, this is actually on-topic (sort of): it's illegal for anyone other than the Queen to eat swan in the UK. I think it's considered treason, or something daft, but it's defintely illegal. If I ever meet her I'll have to ask her what it tastes like.
Moosh
She is also indirectly responsible for cruelty to swans in the UK. Since she automatically owns any unmarked swan, people have to mark their swans, which makes them look silly, although it probably doesn't hurt them.
Witless
It hurts thier pride!
Cath Sparrow
See that swan over there with the pink mohecan that's mine that is! tongue.gif

/spam
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