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My first impression of the UK: a toilet-friendly country

How did I end up here?

Ngoc Nguyen

United Kingdom

Getting a full-scholarship to pursue my higher education in the UK is the most incredible privilege of my life. Time flies so amazingly fast that I cannot believe it has been nine months since my arriving. Everything here is just as fantastic; sometimes, I want it to be yesterday once more just to get it back!
I still remember my first funny thought about the UK. While I was sitting on the university bus, I saw loads of signs on the street saying ‘TO LET’. Due to my limited English, I did not understand ‘To let’ means ‘To rent’ (very British). Instead, I thought there was a letter missing, which was ‘i’. Consequently, the UK left me its impression that it was a ‘toilet-friendly’ country as the signposts were all over the place. How silly I am!
Another thing struck me is the way the local people use their English. Whereas American perhaps insert ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’ on their daily conversations, British commonly use ‘brilliant, lovely, super, fab (fabulous)’. Also, ‘Excuse me’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Please’, or ‘Cheers’ – which is not used when toasting but means ‘Thanks’ – are other most frequent British words being heard. I feel like the people sometimes say them more than they need to, given they do not do anything hurting me. For instance, ‘I’m sorry’ is used when somebody thinks that they are blocking my way/view (they are sometimes not!), or ‘Excuse me’ is simply a polite way to talk initially to strangers on the street to ask for direction. It appears that I gradually pick up these words to express my feelings: ‘Oh, brilliant’ or ‘Lovely to see you here’, ‘That’s super nice’, ‘I am super cute, and I know it’. Ops, do I become more British?
Overall, I have enjoyed a variety of things here as an international student. I could not ask for more when I am being offered a convenient accommodation, brilliant food, fabulous learning facilities, lovely foreign friends, numerous social activities, and a well-equipped sport centre. Most of my weekends are occupied with exciting and fascinating adventures to many landscape cities where I have learnt about exotic cultures and diverse people – British and other nationalities. The more I stay here, the more I fall in love with this beautiful island.
Studying in the UK is totally an amazing experience since everything is getting more and more delightful day by day. Six more months to carry on enjoying the rest of my time here in its fullness as I only have ‘one life, live it’. Still, the best is yet to come, I believe

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