Now that I have been living in the UK for about three weeks, I feel like a have a general grasp of the British culture, though I feel I would need to live here much longer to have a deeper understanding of the people. Through traveling and interacting with the British people over the last couple of weeks, I have actually been surprised by some of the behavior I have witnessed.
Before arriving at Harlaxton, we were told to keep our voices low and not make eye contact because the British people are very reserved and like to keep to themselves. However, I have been surprised by how similar they are to Americans. From their convenience stores to their shopping malls, much of British life seems very "American." When going into Morrison's in Grantham, I feel as if I am shopping for groceries in Dillon's in Salina. Two days ago, my class went to Nottingham, and I went with a couple of girls to Nottingham's shopping mall. The layout of the mall was nearly identical to the mall in Dodge City, Kansas, where my family shops when we visit my aunt and uncle in southwest Kansas. My friends and I often feel as if we never left the States because everything seems so "Americanized."
In examining the general behavior and actions of the British people, I feel as if they are not as proper and reserved as popularly portrayed. The British people are extremely passionate in their relationships, and they are not afraid to show the world they are in love. Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen countless couples making out in public, whether it be in the park or in the theatre. During intermission of a production I was watching at the National Theatre in London, I went to the coffee bar to get a drink. There were about twenty kissing couples blocking my way to the bar, so I just gave up on getting a coffee and headed back to my seat. I don't wish to create stereotypes of the British people, but these are just a few of my observations.
The British culture has also become very diverse, with multiple ethnic groups from Asia and Africa moving to England to pursue more prosperous lives. Two weeks ago, my class traveled to Leicester, which has a large Indian population. We attended a Bollywood musical, which was a totally different experience for me, but I loved it. The United States is truly a melting pot, but I was surprised to see how racially and culturally diverse this island is. While so many individuals from other nations are flooding Britian's borders, it seems as if the nation is adjusting well to incorporating these multiple cultures within British society.
I have truly enjoyed interacting with the British people, and I am still in awe of their amazing accents. I'm looking forward to over two more weeks of traveling throughout the UK!