Diversity of People:
The UK has a very diverse population – people from all over the world live here. There are many different international communities, and international students will feel welcome. The UK is a tolerant society, and it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their race, religion, gender, sex, or disability.
It is easy to find good food in the UK and we have some of the world’s top restaurants. Lots of cheap restaurants, and food markets, are available for students on a budget. It is possible to try food from all over the world, even in small towns. Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican foods are all very popular. Traditional British food includes fish and chips, full English breakfast, Sunday roast dinners, Yorkshire pudding, Cornish pasties, cream tea, pies, haggis, local cheese, and of course plenty of tea and cake. Supermarkets are good places to find cheap options for lunch and snacks, to reduce the cost of living.
It’s usually the case that people who view the British as ‘cold’ or ‘unfriendly’ are looking at them through their cultural lenses. They are seeing the Brits behave in a certain way and interpreting that according to their values, norms and expectations.
When this happens you can misunderstand people…and this helps explain where this stereotype of the British comes from. Let’s explore just two simple, yet very important, aspects of British values that can shed light on why some foreigners view them as ‘cold’:
1. Privacy is Important:
When in public the British are therefore very reserved. Engaging with strangers in conversation isn’t the norm. On public transport most people read books, look at their phones or have headphones on. Trying to start a conversation will usually lead to a few pleasant exchanges but then people just want to get back to being ‘left alone’. This is a very individualistic culture. In a well social system, it’s not good for anyone, its damaging the society norms.
2. Politeness and Manners:
Another value the British place great emphasis on is that of politeness and manners. They love a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ and have invented incredibly complex techniques for communication through humour, sarcasm, innuendo and whit that allows people to deliver even the most impolite of opinions in the politest way. This politeness means the British have a uniquely indirect communication style which, if not understood, can drive foreigners bonkers!
It is interesting to know that even the rudest of British people have some semblance of manners; from a young age, British people are taught the importance of saying please, thank you and sorry. As a result, manners are extremely important to British people and failing to observe them is seen as incredibly rude.