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STUDENTS VISITING UK: ASSISTANCE
Foreign Students and visiting the U.K
Moving to a new country to study can be daunting. It can feel exciting and challenging all at the same time. English might not be your first language or you’ve never lived in Europe before. Students studying anything from proofreading We’ve put together a list of things that can help you get the most out of your time here
- Settling In
If you’re studying in the UK for more than a few months, then it’s recommended that you set-up a bank account. To do this you’ll need to visit a local bank branch with your passport and some utility bills. You might also be able to find a part-time job, depending on your students visa restrictions. There is a lot to get acquainted with, and you might want to find out about public transport and where your local supermarket is.
- Making Friends
Brits are friendly and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet them before your term starts. There are always orientations and Fresher’s week, which will induct you into campus life. Drinking and parties are very popular in UK universities, which provide even more chance to socialise.
- Experience Local Culture
The UK has a wealth of museums and galleries on the doorstep, most of them are free of charge. There is usually a local theatre or two in most towns and cities which offer performances of popular shows. There are always plenty of places to eat as well, as Britain offers up plenty of local and international restaurants. Culturally, the UK is very diverse and inclusive of people from all over the world, so you’ll be able to find a place of like-minded people wherever you go.
Unless you’re used to sunnier climes you’ll need to be prepared for the weather in the UK. It’s true that it does rain most of the time and you’ll need to pack an extra jacket or two. Depending on where you live, it might be much colder in Scotland (think snow) than it would be in the south of England, where the winters rarely go below freezing.
Students are faced with the overwhelming task of finding a place to live. It is often difficult to decide on a place before you see it, but your university will be able to place you into campus halls. There are also lots of lettings agents who specialise in university housing. University halls are also a great place to meet people and often you will find housemates for the following year, which means you don’t have to live in halls the entire time.
Although there are a lot of factors to think about, it’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat.
UK vs US English
Sweater, zucchini, elevator; there are lots of words which most Brits will understand if speaking to an American, but when it comes to putting on a pair of suspenders or telling someone about your new pants, you really need to know what you’re talking about.
The result of British colonization of the Americas, the English language has been spoken in the United States since the 17th century when English-speaking settlers first arrived, and has since evolved into American English which draws influences from other languages such as those spoken in West Africa, German, Dutch, Irish, Spanish and the Native American population.
American English today comprises a wide variety of dialects, and some very distinctive accents can be found which alter the pronunciation of words drastically (for example in New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore). These areas are all on the East Coast and are naturally closer geographically to England, so their accent naturally tends to try and imitate the British more closely. In contrast to this, the interior of the country was settled by people from across other regions of the US and has developed a much more generic sounding form of English known as ‘General American’.
It has been said that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language”, and this is seen most clearly in lots of everyday words that are regularly used by both nations.
For example, Brits go on holiday, yet Americans go on vacation; Brits eat biscuits, whilst Americans eat cookies; Brits walk on a footpath, however Americans walk on the sidewalk. With the advent of the Internet and easily accessed TV and film, the lines between the two styles of English have blurred in recent years, meaning that regardless of where you’re from, you’ll be very likely to understand that crisps and potato chips are the same thing, likewise for chips and French fries.
In addition to these more obvious differences, there are hundreds of minor alterations found between American English and British English such as the occasional dropping of the letter “u” in American words like neighbour, favour, honour and colour. This is thanks to lexicographer Noah Webster (yes, that Webster) who was frustrated by the inconsistencies in English spelling and wanted to spell words the way they sounded. It was for this reason that Webster started an effort to reform English spelling in the late 1700s, which was further boosted by the fact that America wanted to also show its independence from England at this time.
Aside from altered meanings, simple spelling variations and completely different words, there are also some very subtle variances between the UK and US dialects. Even the way the two form their sentences can differ in a variety of ways. To start, Brits and Americans tend to prefer different prepositions when speaking:
British English: What do you study at school?
American English: What do you study in school?
British: I’ll see you at the weekend.
American Englis: I’ll see you on the weekend.
Brits also tend to use the word ‘got’ more than their American counterparts, who favour ‘have’:
British: I’ve got a dog.
American: I have a dog.
British English: Have you got any brothers?
American English: Do you have any brothers?
These are just a few of the differences that can be seen throughout both languages, and many Brits may look down on American English and see it as a corruption of their beloved language. However, there are a number of words which originated in Early Modern English or Middle English which haven’t survived in the UK, but are alive and well in the United States. Terms such as fall (autumn), faucet (tap), diaper (nappy) and candy (sweets) are frequently regarded as Americanisms, but have deep roots in Middle English. These words were taken to North America by those British colonies who immigrated to the US and took the English language with them, and they have somehow endured.
Considering the fact that our language is constantly evolving, it’s only natural that both Americans and Brits put their own spin on the words they use every day. Luckily the popularity and sheer reach of modern technology such as the internet means that no matter what way we say things, the message is understood clearly regardless of which side of the Atlantic you’re on. So irrespective of whether you take the lift or the elevator, the most important thing is that we’re all going in the same direction.
Dolce & Gabbana, Marks & Spencer, Tiffany & Co: we all know how to say it and what it means, but how exactly did the ‘&’ symbol come about?
You don’t learn about it in school, there aren’t any catchy nursery rhymes to help you remember its existence, and many people don’t even know its real name, but the ampersand or ‘&’ symbol is a widely used and instantly recognizable part of our modern lexicon.
Not initially known as an “ampersand”, this nifty little symbol predates its name by more than 1,500 years and is simply just a ligature of the cursive letters ‘E’ and ‘T’. These two letters were combined to make the Latin word ‘et’ which means ‘and’, and the character was first spotted as graffiti scrawled across a Pompeian wall around the first century A.D.
Falsely, many people used to believe that the ampersand got its name from the 18th century French physicist André-Marie Ampère as it was claimed that he used this symbol so frequently in his writings that it become known as “Ampère’s and”.
Falling right after the letter ‘Z’ in the alphabet, the character we now know and recognize as the ampersand was once the 27th component, but the simple truth is that saying “X, Y, Z and and” got a little confusing for kids in the 1800s. Instead, they started to say “and per se and” which translates roughly to “and by itself and” to make things a little easier.
Over time, these four words have become melded together to form “ampersand”, making it a mondegreen – a word which comes about from a mistaken pronunciation – with the word only appearing in dictionaries in 1837. So, next time you pass Barnes & Noble, or H&M, spare a thought for the humble ampersand, the little symbol with the big history.
Anagram and Anna Gram
When I see a word I have to form an anagram. At the strangest of times; on a bus, on a train, when I’m reading, when I can’t get to sleep. Maybe it first began when a former girlfriend named Anna told her surname was Grams. Okay, that’s not strictly an anagram but you get the picture.
All I know for sure is I’ve become addicted. And I know typing at this speed means I’ll soon need a brake. Try it yourself and you’ll see thaw I mane especially if you tyre easily. But whatever you do make sure you don’t over do it. You’ll den up with a spit glint each head. A word of warning: on more than evens sword at any given emit.
I could go no for ever Rome butt like I said it takes its toll eventually. The doctor says I should take something for it but the chemist was huts. In any aces they’d probably have told me they didn’t have anything for me.
So I’ll leave it there. My anagram itis is cured. For won at stale. 🙂
S.P. Ive creed a me sages form a cretin asking if it’s catching. I assured her it was not and so now I’ve put her mind at ease. Some people worry for one sonar at all. Don’t you agree?
Thought for the Day
Do you want to earn money? Lots of it?
Then be a proofreader.
Just pay around £200-00 for an online proofreading course, receive an impressive certificate when you’re done and you’re good to go. What could be easier? Check for a few spelling errors and you’ll earn around £26-00* per hour. Get out of bed when you want, make a cup of coffee then earn a tidy little £400-00 a week for doing virtually nothing.
Okay so it’s not a fortune. But it certainly helps pay the bills.
Or does it? Perhaps it’s too good to be true. After all, why isn’t everyone working as a proofreader? You decide there might be more to this than meets the eye. And you’re right.
First, to be a first rate proofreader — and if you’re not a first rate proofreader you might as well continue scouring the job vacancies column — you have to be first rate. Your English must be impeccable and you must have a flair for spotting errors that other people don’t.
Second, never become interested in what you’re reading. You’re not learning or entertaining yourself, you’re analysing what someone else has written. It might be a thriller or it might be a DIY manual. Either way, it has to error-free when you’ve finished. Not a spelling error to be seen.
Oh, and the grammar. You have to really concentrate. You spotted that split infinitive, right? You’ll be checking for problems in sentence structure until you’re blue in the face. Or even face in the blue — which might be nonsense but is still grammatically well-formed. By the way, don’t use a grammar checker. They’re next to useless and the same applies to spellcheckers. Or spell checkers maybe.
All in all, you have to be extremely committed to proofreading if you’re going to be a proofreader. Then again, the same applies to anything.
So think twice before parting with your hard-earned cash for a course that will make Sam the Scam £200-00 better off and you with a ‘certifikate’. Yes, he probably missed that spelling error…
- For some reason it’s always £26-00. As opposed to £25-00. Don’t ask me why.
It might go without saying but before a book is proofread the book has to be written. So forget the proofreader, go back to your book and make sure it’s a good novel, or whatever it is you’ve written. In fact, let’s go back even further and suppose you’ve yet to put finger to keyboard.
We’ll assume you intend to write a novel. Just for argument’s sake. If you’re like most novelists setting out on creating their literary masterpiece then you won’t know where to start. You’ll be afraid to write a sentence or even a word because it just doesn’t sound right. You might have nothing in your head that’s worthy of mention. It’s all very frustrating. There’s a name for this problem: writer’s block.
Writer’s block amounts to intellectual disablement. It can threaten the creation of a book before work on it before it has begun. But don’t despair as their are a number of ways it can be overcome and here I intend to list a few of them. There will be more very soon.
- Try writing a page or two about anything at all but do not use any adjectives. This will inspire discipline in your writing and in any event it will get your creative juices flowing.
2. Consider the characters that will appear in your novel. Don’t create them as you go along. Don’t reveal this or that characteristic as you write. You have to know them inside out right from the start. Instead of making them up as you go, create them before you even put pen to paper. Draw them in your head. Maybe base them on someone you know, someone with a distinctive appearance. A good idea is to cut a picture out of an old newspaper of someone and make them your key character although make sure they’re not high-profile and often seen on TV!
3. Maybe keep a diary of this person’s life. Get to know them, their likes, dislikes, their behaviour, their idiosyncrasies. It could serve you well in the end.
4. Go out into the world and sharpen up your senses. This will help your use of adjectives later.
5. Practise writing dialogue. Often a story is ruined by the characters being interesting but dull and boring when they’re speaking.
These are just a few items to help you get started. There will be more to come.