language

Anonymous's picture

It's Not Just About Learning The Language. Be Aware Of Different Customs When Living Abroad!

When you live in a different country to the one you've grown up in, you're bound to notice that some things are done differently. Experiencing a new culture with its diverse customs is all part of the fun of living and studying abroad.

It's not just when you first arrive either. If you talk to some people who've lived in a foreign country for years, they might still be encountering cultural differences that surprise them.

So, how do the Brits do things differently, and what do you need to be aware of? Here are a few examples.

It's a long-standing joke that the British like to queue. While that might be stretching the truth a little (who really enjoys a queue?), it's fair to say that the queuing system is much more respected in the UK than in some other countries. And if anyone tries to queue-jump, they shouldn't  be surprised if the rest of the line "tuts" their disapproval - you may even get told off by your fellow queuers. So, whether it's your country's custom to queue in an orderly fashion or not, if you want a quiet life, you may as well get used to it in the UK.

Tipping Etiquette

Erik's picture

Do English Language Exams Prove Anything?

Last week an article on the education section of the Guardian website questioned the suitability of the current English language tests for international students coming to study in the UK. Here, Erik- a Slovakian student living in London, gives his response to the article and the issue as a whole.

"It is very difficult, I would say impossible, to find an objective language test. Some phonetic and cultural aspects of a language can be learned only through extended interaction with the target community. Therefore, I think the best way would be to allow the students into the target community and evaluate their performance after several weeks. If it turns out that they cannot keep up with the workload because of the communication gap- they failed the language test. Regardless of their potential, they also have to prove a certain level of English proficiency.

However, such authentic testing is simply infeasible. The standardized tests were created, to offer equal conditions for everyone and they should make sure that the successful candidates are able to use English to a certain level. But no test can replace real life.

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