basic info page 4

Social Attitudes

Life in your Preferred Country will almost certainly be different from what you are used to. It is difficult to say what is the ‘Accepted’ way of life as attitude and outlooks vary considerably according to where you are in the country. When you first arrive you may notice differences in the way people behave compared to your own country. As you become accustomed to living here you may find yourself adapting to all sorts of things such as: offering, accepting and refusing hospitality; expressing your opinion; and looking after yourself, which means anything from running your own bank account to cooking your own food and washing your own clothes. You’re always welcome to call us with any questions you have, but you may also want to check out books and websites about your new home.

We’ll say it again: things will be different in your new home city. That’s one of the reasons you’re going, we hope, but knowing what to expect can often make it easier to accept the differences – some of which may be challenging – that you’ll experience. Though we’d like everyone to read up and learn as much as they can, we particularly encourage young women and students of color to find out more about how they may be perceived in their new city. If you have any questions for us, we can assist you or put you in touch with a study abroad returnee who can help out as well.


To start with everything is new, exciting and different, but as time goes by you may start to wish that things were the way they were back home. Don’t despair as this stage will pass – and much more quickly if you talk to someone about how you are feeling.


Alcohol is available to anyone aged over 21. It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol regardless of the laws back home. This is strictly enforced on all University campuses. Remember you are in a new country and expected to abide by their laws.


Many people in your Preferred Country would smoke. Smoking is banned in all public places in some countries. This includes buses, trains and Subways. If you smoke in these places, you have to pay a fine. Some non-smokers find smoke unpleasant and uncomfortable. If you are eating or drinking with friends – especially at someone else’s house – it is polite to ask before you light your cigarette.

Specialist and International Foods

There would be many shops and restaurants in your Preferred Country which sell specialist foods. You may also find that the larger supermarkets stock some of the products that you require. Please consult your International Student Advisor to determine where you may locate these specialist stores.

Keep An Open Mind

You’re going to hear this over and over again, but it’s the most important advice of all. Things will be different abroad, and not just in ways you expect. For example, you obviously know that people speak the same language in London, but do you know what a “cuppa” is? Did you know that Italian law limits the number of hours that heat can be turned on each day? In short, ask questions from our staff, students who’ve been there before, and locals – that’s one of the easiest ways to find out what’s up – and keep an open mind about things that are different and may, at first glance, seem strange or worse than what you’re used to.

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