Expats moving outside of cosmopolitan locations will experience more of traditional middle-class Britain, with a fairly standard set of values and traditions that are familiar to anyone from a Western background.
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Traditionally, the British are polite, reticent and circumspect — although such is the diversity of classes and cultures that few stereotypes hold up very well to personal experience. It's better to think of the UK as a whole world on one island and adopt an accordingly open mind. Factors such as support for the monarchy, political affiliation and the support of football teams are some of the most obvious expressions of contemporary localism. Religious adherence and ethnic differentiation are also significant. Although most expats move to the capital, London, it is important that new arrivals are not only aware of these geographical distinctions, but also the strong sense of identity and nationalism felt by the populations of each nation.
This grin-and-bear-it attitude in the face of hardship and adversity is still apparent today.
As a population, the British tend not to be too animated when they communicate. This doesn't mean they don't have strong emotions, but rather that they merely choose not to display these in public.
Many of the older generation will avoid public displays of affection. Expats may also find that people in the UK seem more distant and reserved than those from North America and southern Europe. The British value their privacy and expats shouldn't expect a tour of the home when visiting a British friend.
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They expect others to respect their privacy and this extends to personal questions. The UK is a multicultural society made up of various ethnic communities, each with their own standards of social behaviour and cultural etiquette. But there are some points expats might find useful when interacting with the British. When meeting someone for the first time it is best to offer a handshake. Hugs are only appropriate for people one is more familiar with.
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When visiting the home of a British friend or colleague, it is good to take a gift of chocolates, wine or flowers for the host. The British appreciate punctuality, not just in business but also at social occasions. Language, accents, mannerisms and even the food caught me off guard to start with.
One of the most effective ways to overcome culture shock is to try and be open-minded. Treat everything new as a chance to gain knowledge about the culture.
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Not only does this make it easier to deal with, but you may also find certain things that you may like. Since I was a new international student, my biggest fear was standing out amongst a completely different culture. Unfortunately, this led to me keeping to myself and not really coming to terms with my new surroundings. If there is one thing I wish I did more of, it would be asking questions.
University life can be difficult from the beginning and majority of the people around you know this.
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Culture shock has less of an effect if you are with people around you. This is particularly better if you are alongside other students also in the same boat, as you can go through the process together. Making friends in university is very important, especially at the beginning as those friendships play a big part of your university experience.
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It is a huge relief to know that you are not the only one going through culture shock. Making friends not only makes it easier to deal with but also goes a long way in improving your social skills that will benefit your university experience as a whole. The University is filled with students of different cultures and backgrounds.
In some cases, some cultures may have certain similarities with others.
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