A red brick building and low wall as seen outside of a two story window
Here’s the view from my window

Until 8 days ago, I had never left the North American Continent. I was definitely excited to visit England, and thought I had a pretty good grasp on what the differences were. Bear in mind, not only had I never left the continent, I’d also never lived in a city. My overestimation of my own abilities was a little dramatic, so to keep anyone else from finding themselves in a similar boat, here are 5 things nobody is going to tell you about England-I found them all out so you don’t have to.

  1. Pigeons are huge. Seriously, these things are like the size of Chihuahuas, and they will fly directly at your head. Don’t feed them. They’re already too comfortable around people. It’s like a Hitchcock movie on the Green.
  2. Bicycles, taxis, and bus drivers will hit you. In Tuscaloosa, we’re used to having free run of the road, and we know that drivers stop for students. In England? No. I almost got hit by a bus standing on the sidewalk on my first day. Take your jaywalking very seriously here. Timing is key.
  3. There are no elevators, ramps, or even handrails. This is an eventful one for me, because I use a cane and have permanent injuries that make stairs super fun sometimes. Britain isn’t exactly an accessible country, partially because it’s so old. Most buildings that aren’t major museums don’t have elevators or wheelchair ramps. My dorm, which has been around since before Protestantism, doesn’t have an elevator and the stairs don’t have handrails. Exercise caution when walking up any stairs.
  4. So. Many. Spiders. None of them can kill you, unlike at least two of the spiders that we have in Alabama, but you will find spiders. I found one in my bathroom on day 1 and yesterday I had to smack one off my knee. On the bright side, my arachnophobia is finally being confronted.
  5. Eat the food that comes out of a truck or a kiosk. I was skeptical of street food when I got here, because I’d never had it before. Then I had Hungarian food out of a tent and Venezulen food out of a truck, and I’m never going back to life without food trucks. It’s good, trust me.