I grew up thinking that in the UK there was a 5 o’clock tea break. I imagined Downton Abbey style afternoon tea with crumpets and little cucumber sandwiches. Sadly, as I soon found out, normal working hours in London are 9 to 5 and it’s much more likely to see people standing outside in the cold with a lager in their hand than in a warm café sipping on a cuppa. However, that's not to say that there aren't tea breaks in England. There are non-stop tea breaks where people drink mugs of brew in the office to break up the day one boiled kettle at a time.
True or False? False but they do love a cuppa.
The weather has always been the downfall of Britain to those of us who live abroad in warmer climates. Aside from the fact that you all seasons will occur in 24 hours, the sky always seems so grey with rain. The Brits, however, have managed to master their weather.
In any season, you will see people wearing either heavy coats or light t-shirts and, I can assure you, at some point in the day they will have worn the appropriate clothing for that moment. British weather is a marvel and it London just wouldn't be the same without having snow in April.
True or False? True. And it will break your umbrella.
London is well known for its multiculturalism. Never have I seen such a diverse amount of people living in the same area and coexisting peacefully. Since I started at university I have met so many people from different ethnic and social backgrounds, and we all have one thing in common, we call London home.
London is a city with incredible opportunities for everyone. If you get lost on the streets of London and ask for directions, you are likely to stop someone who is not from the area and doesn’t know how to direct you. That's how incredibly diverse London is, as for the directions we always have Google maps.
True or False? True (in my experience).
British people are often thought to be grumpy and gloomy but I think they’re very polite and generous. When in a supermarket or an airport, you will notice that people immeditately form a neat and orderly queue - the Brits have made this an art form. “Thank you” and “sorry” are among the most often used words and people will apologize if you bump into them by accident. They are always willing to help and offer you a cuppa and a cake when you’re in need.
True or False? False - they are lovely people.
When had visited London as a tourist, I always thought that the underground transport system was incredibly efficient and easy to use. My sweet 13-year-old heart had no idea what rush hour looked like and how vicious it can become. When 5pm rolls around, people start speed walking to the tube stations and everyone congregates on the platforms, trying to estimate where the doors will stop. “Let customers off the train before boarding”, they say, and does that happen? Never.
Commutes to and from work consist of acquainting yourself intimately with the people next to you and the door of the tube, which you will inevitably be squished against. Eventually, you will reach a stop and you will get the chance to breathe slightly deeper while the crowd shifts. London’s transport system can be stressful but it works impeccably considered how many people could not live without it.
True or False? False. Public transport is incredibly efficient.
Some of these stereotypes are false and some are true, but altogether they make London one of the best and most exciting cities in the world, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Written by Aurora Trentin