Life in Britain column

Column by Andrea Lutz
Being German, I recently spent 1.5 years in the UK, from September 2005 until January 2007. I lived in Nottingham, East Midlands, for a year, studying an MA programme in linguistics and also working in a wonderful part-time job. Following that, I had the pleasure of spending another four months at the west coast of Scotland, working and cohabiting with a rather typical Scottish male. Both environments gave me an excellent opportunity to study British life and culture. This experience has been a real eye-opener for me, teaching me many things not only about the UK, but also about my own home country and my identity as a German. I would like to share all of this with readers of The Cheers.
One Language, Many Shapes and Sizes
One thing will become obvious very quickly even to a very careless observer: There is only one language in Britain - English, and only English, reigns everywhere. All signs are written in this language, all announcements are written in it, and all on

Australia and its Native People
  Red sand, almost unbearable heat, and scattered shrubs of grass along the ground. In the middle of this, a funny-looking toilet house. Two entrances, one saying Sheila’s and one saying Bloke’s. There are pictures beside those signs too. Both on

Love of the Written Word
  I am not sure whether I am allowed to sort of advertise here, but I absolutely love Waterstones, a big chain of bookstores in Britain and Ireland. They feature rows and rows of books of all genres, well-known as well as rather obscure on

Food and eating out
Probably known to most of you out there, British food has a reputation of being less than excellent. Having been to Britain a few times as a tourist, but not having lived there yet, I always used to think that this was unfair. I thought the food you on

What Do You Drink?
  A popular question among British people is "What do you drink?" roughly translatable as "What's your favourite alcoholic drink?" Answering that I rarely drank alcohol gained me several odd looks. I also overheard many conversations, and was on

English Politeness and Manners
It's really true what people say about English politeness: it's everywhere. When squeezing past someone in a narrow aisle, people say 'sorry'. When getting off a bus, English passengers say 'thank you' rather than the driver. In Germany, people on

Working in England
  When I was a student in Germany, either I had always gone for low-qualified part-time jobs, or jobs based at my uni, focusing on teaching and research. When I was in England, I stumbled into admin work and gained some very interesting on

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