One of the things I love most about living and studying abroad is how you begin to see not only yourself but the world in a new way. You slowly become more assimilated and accustomed to behaviour you would normally questions. But it also makes your reflect on where you come from and the culture you came from. Even though I’ve studied in London before, I still after ten months continue to notice my “Americanisms.”
- I am always smiling. I blame this on the three years at South Carolina where everyone smiles at everyone and it’s fine. Some English people find this endearing but most just seem confused and want to look away as quickly as possible. Although not common, I have no intention of stopping this particular habit.
- I dress loudly. I can’t even pretend to apologise, the all-black train in the morning is the single most depressing part of my day. I much rather have everyone staying at my bright coral coat or hot pink dress. I love colour!
- I need lots of personal space. I never realised how much personal space I actually required until I started taking the train (or tube) at rush hour into work. And for all my time doing it there are still days when I’ll wait for the next train so I don’t have people pushing up against me in all directions and I can barely breathe.
- I am always on time. I am not just on time, I am often early. This is not a trait I can say many Brits often have (at least not the one’s I’ve met).
- I have NO patience for smoking. Since smoking is (thank god) a dying habit in the U.S., and especially in the South, I forgot just how much I detest it, especially the smell. Nothing puts me in a bad mood quite like when I’m walking down Oxford Street and someone blows smoke directly in my face. Talk about rude habits.
Anyone else notice anything about themselves that was decidedly American when studying or living abroad? Or any habits of your new host country you can’t stand?