Monday, May 5, 2014

Study Abroad Sneak Peek: England

The way I like to describe England is "similar enough to be comfortable but different enough to be exciting." It's funny, little things like calling a parking lot a 'car park' or wearing 'trousers' instead of pants never cease to make me giggle. Proof (as if I needed any more, being from the West Coast) that a common language doesn't mean a common culture. Taking a course on British government and politics, I've realized (or, perhaps, realised) that for all our countries' similarities, we have plenty to learn from each other.

I think my favorite (favourite...?) part of my time in England has been the fact that I've stayed out of London. To be sure, I'll be spending a couple weeks there in a month or so, but until then, I've simply been exploring the England that we never talk about in the US. Towns like Salisbury, Exeter, and Plymouth are full of amazing stories and sights but until I visited, I was only vaguely aware of something about a steak and the Mayflower (for the record, I did not see any Salisbury steaks in Salisbury). And don't get me started on Cornwall, whose residents have just received an ethnic minority option on the census! 

My semester here has been a lesson in layered identities, proving that there's always more to people than meets the eye (especially when it comes to Americans stereotyping some Londoners to all Britons!). You're not just British, you're British, English, from the West Country, from Devon, and from Exeter. And you have the ridiculously specific accent to prove it.
Credit to this blog post goes to second- year Global Scholar Keegan Amrine. Thanks, Keegan!