Cultural Gulfs

Ok. So I admit that I was one of those people, despite warning, assumed their would only be really minor differences between Australian and English culture. In a lot of respects, I was probably right however there are a large number of subtle differences. For one, my accent is amusing to these people. That kinda sucks, but I guess it doesn’t surprise me.

The value of currency over here is still difficult to grasp. When you do some simple conversions in your head, you find some consumer goods like tooth brushes are way too expensive for what you’d expect to pay in Australia, whilst non-important things, such as alcohol (debatable) are actually slightly cheaper than what you’d expect to pay in Australia. Did I mention they also sell alcohol at supermarkets? Speaking of which, walking into a British supermarket is also disorienting. They seem to sell everything, their aisle formats are so different, and its basically a mission to find any brands that you’ll recognise (with the exception of major brands like Coke). That being said, I feel uncomfortable about not knowing where the UK sources its milk. I shall have to look into that.

I’ve also noticed people in the UK have this tendency to run a lot. What shocks me, is that pedestrians here aren’t very safe, I’ve noticed very few looking both ways crossing the road, they just run, in front of cars. Furthermore, their is a massive lack of safety mechanisms, such as zebra crossings, and those button things that we’d have in Brisbane, and even when you do see them, the Brit’s still leg it across the road.

Despite being here only 2 days, I’ve had plenty of awkward moments, but I guess it’s all part of the fun. One that comes to mind is offering to place one of those dividers between your goods and another persons on a supermarket conveyourbelt. In Australia, some people won’t even bother due to the small amount of goods they have, or they simply don’t feel the need. Here, it’s an absolute social expectation, so when I offered to do this for a gent behind me, he seemed rather shocked and irritated that I had to make an offer. Oh well.

Finally, I’d like to say the fish and chips here are amazing. And one of the people who served me looked like Noel Gallagher.

Stay classy Australia,

Tom

Arrival

Successful infiltration. I mean arrival. Nothing makes you feel more welcome than having this tiny table for non – European people to fill out imigration declarations. Two people at a time and a massive line-up behind them. On the plus side, immigration went smoothly. I was fortunate enough to find a nice immigration officer. Had a swell chat, showed him my letter of acceptance and bam, visa. A lot less stressful than I imagined it would be. Advice for future students, don’t even bother trying to get a Student Visitor Visa outside of the UK; it’s simply a waste of time. Do it at the airport. Anyway, jetlag, need sleeps, etc. I’ll post more as it becomes relevant.

Tom

Introduction and a rant on preparation

Hey guys. I guess this officially marks the first blog post in what is sure to be a series of exciting and “informative” content. Get excited!

I am leaving Australia for the U.K on the 19th of December, which is pretty soon. At this point most people point out that I shall not be here for Christmas. Great observation. I will definitely be missing my family during this period of time and I think my Mother will go crazy.

As I write this, I am currently scanning and making copies of all the documentation that I will need to take with me for applying for my student visitor visa upon arrival (i.e. bank statements, acceptance letter, etc). I am not looking forward to going through immigration after a long flight. I initially wanted to apply for my visa whilst I was over here, however the most vital piece of supporting documentation (the acceptance letter) didn’t arrive soon enough to: apply online, wait for an appointment to get biometrics done, travel to get said biometrics done, send away biometric data with supporting documentation, hope that they process the information in less than 4 weeks (when in some extreme circumstances, the U.K Border agency has stated it can take up to 12 weeks) and hope that nothing happens to my passport that would delay my travel plans. In short, it was deemed to be less time consuming and worrying if I apply for the visa when I get off the plane. On a side note, the mandatory online application process is probably one of the most frustrating things you could ever do in your life time. But I digress.

18 days until I fly out! it’s very exciting. Currently busy with doing last minute things, getting documentation necessary for my visa, handling matters of power of attorney, and making the most of the time remaining here in Australia.

Without actually being in the country yet, I’ve got pretty little to write. I promise I’ll post again at some point after my arrival.

Peace,

Thomas