When I had to choose a topic for this blog post, I had to think about a subject on which I had things to say. Life has given me the chance to study here in England for the next three years. I will tell you my first impressions, as a French expatriate.
First come the noticeable differences in everyday life. First, I had to get used to a new way to greet people, other than "la bise". It took me two months to get used to the traditional "hug", the closeness that imposed this custom with people baffled me a lot, not knowing how to approach the thing in a concrete situation, while appearing the most natural possible (the hardest part). That's not to mention the number of times I almost lost my life crossing the street (in the wrong way, why do you do everything differently?) Or that I found myself in the driver's seat on the wrong side in the car . The problem, when you study journalism, is also to be on the English keyboard, radically different from that used in France. A detail you say? This detail becomes a glitzy work as soon as I need to produce work quickly!
I was also lucky enough to realize that my way of eating at home perfectly matches with the English functioning: that is to say , eating when you're hungry, without having a "meal" defined as we have in France. (Much better not to feel guilty) Oh, and I take great pleasure in making tasty discoveries every time I enter a British supermarket, your goodies are DI-VINES! (I still do not feel guilty)
Growing up, I developed the bad habit of smoking cigarettes (in good French that I am) and what a surprise I had in discovering that here very few young people were smoking, and that their tolerance to smokers is very limited! (Which is pretty good after reflection, but quite different from the French youth who bathes in this culture).
When I came, I was very concerned about the "academic" aspect of my studies: used to a very stressful school environment, I had not considered the "social" part of this experience, which is one of the most important when one is uprooted from one's country and friends.
Social experience is very rewarding, I am very happy to be in contact with students from around the world who have a culture and a history quite different from mine. I feel that through these discoveries, I am learning a lot, both humanly and culturally.
However, I remain very skeptical about the cultural cleavage that I feel with the English youth. I did not really expect that when I came to England, but I realize little by little that we do not think, do not act in the same way in society. I've never had the impression of being "different" in my life so far, but here I feel with most people, a great distance, hidden by a totally superficial connection. This is said without any animosity, I can't speak of my experience without expressing this feeling. I guess the codes we use are too different, which sometimes leads to misunderstandings or misconceptions. But I assure you, I had the chance to meet here in England incredible people too, who know how to give me a smile every day.
I do not regret my choice.Every day is a different challenge, but I am perfectly satisfied with the teaching we are given here and I know that I am not alone. Thousands of young people come to England to study and I am one of those lucky ones.
I just can't wait to see my personal evolution in my vision of England. I am aware that many things are likely to change in my way of seeing things over the next 3 years. I'm ready for that.