Some of the differences I noticed between English life and universities (University of Derby) and American life and universities (Eastern Michigan University)

1.  Sharing rooms we all knew this one before we came but after we weren’t put with our friends and nearly all got the top bunk it soon became a nuisance. I even got along with my roommate but there were many nights I really just did not want to literally climb into bed.

2.  Work/Grading one thing that really confuses me at English universities is how difficult it is to get the top marks. 70% gets the top grade but my friends and I never even get close to the 90’s. In America it was possible to get 100% definitely a confidence boost.

3.  Participation/attendance credit I don’t know many people who go to every single lecture. Even in America where your attendance actually goes towards your grade it didn’t appear to affect the number of lectures students missed. But for those who do go to every lecture this was certainly a plus.

4.   Gaps in toilet doors at first we just thought the airport toilets were strange, but then we found out it’s the same in most public toilets. Very awkward. Especially when my friend had a little girl peeping through at her.

5. Presidency there are presidents for nearly everything. Presidents and vice presidents for the university, for every sport team and the fraternities. They even have a drinking game called ‘presidents and assholes’ which by the way is a card game that includes drinking 4 times at most.

6.   Expensive healthy food and at back of store ironically this photo was taken in Whole Foods which the whole store is healthy but your major supermarkets keep their fruit and vegetables right at the back. Even in England healthy food can be quite expensive but this shop especially shocked us.

7.     Everyone drives being in the small city Ypsilanti we could have done with having a car. It took us about 3 months to work out there was bus that only cost $1.50 to the nearest supermarket, mall and main city. Pretty much everyone we met had a car so didn’t know anything about public transport.

8.     Lovely houses America has so much space for all these adorable detached houses!

9.  Love the British accent Britain’s full of so many different accents for a small country but they couldn’t tell the difference between Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Rugby, Essex, Croydon and Nottingham accents. They just loved them all and I’m sad I won’t hear the phrase “I could just listen to you all day” again.

10.War of 1812 It wasn’t until one of the classes I took in America that I had even heard of this war. And I’m not sure many people in England are taught about it either, so it came as a bit of a shock to have people yell how proud they were that they beat the British in this war.

11. House parties over clubs Every American we told we were going to a club was horrified and told us not to go, but of course we needed to compare them to English clubs and warning us only made us want to see what could be so bad. It’s all about house parties as you see in many American teen films. But really, the club wasn’t that bad, just turns out everyone pairs up and spends the entire duration with a stranger; we as a group stuck out like a sore thumb.

12.Dance with everyone this applies to both house parties and the clubs. Apparently it’s not just seen as flirtatious. And it’s completely normal for a guy to watch his girlfriend grind on his best mate right in front of him. Another awkward moment.

13.  Fraternities and Sororities there is hardly anything I can say about this because everyone is extremely secretive about it. Everything we asked received a reply of “I can’t tell you.” All I can say is they take it very seriously. And have the symbols on their house.

14.Bipolar weather we came on a Friday night in January and by Monday the campus was completely white. The snow didn’t disappear for over two months and we had temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius, but around a month later it was positive 20, and there was even a tornado that luckily didn’t reach the ground where we were. It was pretty cool to experience such variations.

15. Obsession with peanut butter I am not a fan of peanuts anyway but to be with a friend who has a nut allergy we really noticed this one.    

16.Terrible crossings this isn’t subject to America as a whole. After going to Chicago we realised the system is a lot better than in Ypsi. But still, the fact cars can turn right on a red light can be a bit daunting to pedestrians.

17. Taxes put on at the till I always forgot this, not a big problem, just a bit irritating when I find the exact change only to be short when I get the bill.

18. So many different words I already knew the deal with crisps being chips, no ‘u’ in colour and favourite and z instead of s. But I wasn’t expecting to be asked what I meant by lectures, block (as in a block of flats) and chatting. Was very fun to hear Americans pick up our phrases. My roommate found it very funny when she referred to the time as ‘half 4’ rather than ‘half past 4.’