Life in England as an American Student

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High School Abroad in Ireland

Hi, my name is Alyse Takken and I am a seventeen-year-old American studying in England. When I moved to England there were many things I did expect, like great architecture and history but, there were also things I did not expect as well. 

One thing that I did not expect was how different the school system was in the United States. I went from studying eight subjects a day to only studying two maximum. What I mean is that in England, at least at my school, they have a block schedule of two hours where you study one or two subjects for two hours each and then the rest of the day is spent doing independent study. I went from having eight full hours of instructed teaching to only having a maximum of four. The schooling system was hard to adjust to, but it helped create a less stressful environment. The independent study time helped students be able to really know the material resulting in a healthy and productive learning environment.

Another thing that I found surprising and did not expect was how difficult some of the accents were to understand to an untrained ear. For me, it took some time to adjust to hearing so many unique accents daily. The longer I have lived here the easier it has been to understand all the different dialects and accents but, at first, it proved a challenge. When I moved here, I did not expect too much trouble with the different dialects because I was a native English speaker, I thought that I would be able to understand all the people's different accents regardless but, I was definitely wrong. It took some time to understand the different accents and sometimes I still struggle now.

In addition, I did not expect to meet people who would become like my family in such a short time. I thought I would get to know my host family on a level that was of friends or close acquaintances, but I would say that we are closer to family now. The friends I have made here I think I will always consider family. I did not expect to become so close in just a few months so that was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I have loved my time in England, and being immersed in this culture has been such a blessing. By getting to see the English culture on this deeper level I have been able to broaden my perspective and look on life. If people ever get the chance to study abroad, take it because it is the best experience a person could have.