4 Major Differences

I could probably write pages about the little tiny differences between living in Scotland and living in the States- every word, every phrase, every idiosyncrasy. And to be honest, I think that it's all the little differences that make this country so different from the one I've grown up in for 18 years. Sadly, I don't have time to explain it all to you. So here is the generalized list of differences between these two lovely countries, straight from an international student, who clearly is an expert after being here for five days.

Money: Okay, well the obvious differences here are that Scotland uses the pound and everything here is much much much more expensive. However, the pounds themselves are miles different from dollars. And it's something I struggle with every single day. I joke to my friends here that pounds are like "pirate money." Seriously- they feel like gold doubloons! The major difference here is that they use way more coins here than in the states. I think us Americans tend to think coins quite worthless. It makes for a seriously heavy wallet. And the worst part? I may have to buy myself a separate coin purse.

Drinking Culture: Yes, the drinking age here is 18 *cue applause and/or moans of annoyance*. But much more than that, the culture around drinking here is much different than it is at most Universities in the States. It's definitely due in part to the age being lower in the UK. Of course people here get drunk. That's never going to change. But drinking here is very public, and drinking in a bar, pub, or club, prevents you from getting wasted because getting wasted in public is a) embarrassing and, b) expensive. I'll take my vodka cranberry in a bar over Smirnoff in a house party any day.

Attitude: I think it may be a stereotype that Europeans are much friendlier/happier than Americans. I wouldn't say this is necessarily true for each individual, but what I've noticed is that people seem to have a much more pleasant attitude here. Many of my friends have also said that people here are a lot more polite than people in, say, London. It must have something to do with this being a city that's not too big and bustling. Cab drivers, store employees, and waiters have been nothing but friendly (granted, slow) since I've been here.

Words: I like to joke that the language here is "almost the same." While people here of course speak English, there are so many differences in vocabulary. Some of the most common? Saying "queues" instead of lines. It's a word that I've definitely adopted at this point, seeing as we so often have to queue-up for fresher's events. Another is when I tell people I'm from the United States, to ask me where exactly I'm from, people will ask me "Whereabouts?" Apparently, it's a way to ask for a specific location. I may now keep a running list of strange words/phrases that they use here.

Despite these differences, I'm loving it here in Edinburgh. It's not home, but it's definitely starting to feel a lot more comfortable.

Here's to a wonderful rest of fresher's week!


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