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How to be British Without Really Trying in 8 Simple Steps

How to be British Without Really Trying in 8 Simple Steps

As many of who’ve read my previous blogs know I studied abroad in England when I was a sophomore and miss it every second of every day. In one of my many attempts to turn my longing and nostalgia into something creative and productive, here’s a simple guide for the anglophile in all of us.

1) Drink tea. Drink ALOT of tea. In fact, just never stop drinking tea. All of your stereotypes here are perfectly true. The British students I lived with were almost constantly drinking tea. In their defense, the United Kingdom is almost constantly dreary and drizzly so it mostly is to help ward off the unshakable chill. When we would go to tea houses or coffee shops in England the tea was served to us as a pot of hot water, tea bags, and a cup. It was one of my favorite things about the country; there’s nothing more magical about ordering tea and ending up with a whole pot of it. Can’t get enough of tea? (Don’t worry I have an entire drawer plus devoted to the wonderful beverage in my house too.) Here’s a blog I wrote about where I fan-girl about tea.


2) Don’t pay attention to any sports except football. Like seriously. When someone asks you if you want to go to a baseball game this weekend the correct answer is: “Baseball…Oh, is that the one where you hit a ball with that stick-thing sort of like in cricket?” I’ve already expounded on this point in my blog “Nine Things About America You Only Truly Appreciate After Being Abroad” because the variety of sports that are played and appreciated on a national level in this country is truly astounding compared with the narrow-mindedness of the British when it comes to athletes deserving of their attention.

3) Have a love/hate relationship with British royalty. Complain about them constantly. Complain about how outdated they are and how they don’t actually do anything and about how they get all this media attention for no good reason but then when someone who’s not British attempts to complain, defend them fiercely. Come on England, you’re not fooling anyone; we know that you’re just as obsessed with William and Kate as we are.


4) Be really condescending about everything American. They all think we’re a bunch of stupid, fat, rednecks who ride around on horses firing our myriad weapons into the air and the occasional passer-by just for the hell of it. Be condescending of politicians, of our music, our TV shows… Let’s be honest though; will it really be that hard? I mean we have Jersey Shore and they have Sherlock…

5) Drink some more tea. I wasn’t kidding; if you’re going to attempt to convince the world you’re actually British you can never let them catch you not drinking tea.

6) Use really pretentious-sounding words to describe everyday things. Saying your going to the grocery rather than the grocery store or that you need to put petrol in your car rather than gas or that you had a row with someone rather than a fight just makes you sound really classy or intelligent, some might even say pretentious. There’s no doubt about it, something about those accents and their slang just makes the British sound so much more intelligent and sophisticated than their redneck cousins across the pond (that’s us, of course).


7) Be really passive about everything.  The United States is known for our high-drama, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve personality; think The Real Housewives TV shows – literally nothing but drama and big personalities. The British are the complete opposite and might be the most passive-aggressive people I’ve ever encountered. One of the first days we were in England, we went to this orientation and one of the things they talked about was British culture and etiquette. The man giving the presentation went on and on about the British people’s excessive and expressive use of the word “sorry”. One example he gave that I will never forget went as follows: “Let’s say we’re waiting in the queue together and you accidentally bump into me. I say “Sorry.” but what I mean is “You bloody idiot! Maybe stand in your own space while we’re waiting here in this queue.” There is no such thing as too much passive-aggressive when it comes to emulating the Britons.

8) Call everybody “mate”. Everyone. All the time. You know guys will great their friends with “Hey, man!” or a sweet, old lady in the story might say “Excuse me, honey.” or that creepy guy who comes to visit you at work always calls you sweetheart? The British have apparently decided all these different ways to address people are too complicated and have just replaced any and all of them with mate.


Hi all! My name is Meg Grant and I'm a 6th year physical therapy student with a passion for pediatrics here at Nazareth. I also have psychology and honors minors. In what little spare time I do have, I do my best to stay active in the music program here where I play oboe. Originally from Buffalo, I'm a huge baseball fan and avid cross-country skiier. I love to spend as much time as I can outside and am always working my way through multiple books. I hope to someday move out west and spend lots of time hiking in our national parks but for now I'm enjoying all that Rochester has to offer.