A Chicago Student's experience in London

A Chicago Student's experience in London
Yimian with Shakespeare

For my next series of posts, I am exploring Chicagoan experiences in England.

Yimian is a 24 year old Chinese student living in Chicago. She moved to London to study at Brunel University for a year before moving on to London School of Journalism for a further three months. She currently studies Finance at graduate school.

She kindly shares her experiences of living in London, and compares the lifestyle and culture to Chicago giving pros and cons on each city and the city she prefers most!

Her thoughts on fruits

One thing I love about living in Chicago is that whenever you go to supermarkets you can find different kinds of fresh fruits. I am from a warm place in South of China, so we do eat fruits a lot especially tropical fruits. When I was in London, I suffered.

Ya there are fruits but not many choices and I still remember those so-called “tropical fruits” in Tesco or Co-op. They are just dried up mangos…..

The Subway

The CTA subway in Chicago STINKS! In comparison, London has a very well-developed underground system that you can basically go everywhere with only the underground. But here, sometimes I do need to change to buses a few times to go to a place.

Yimian on the different ways of expression

I learnt British English from school so some expressions just stick in my mind. One good example is “french fries”. I have been to the U.S before and I know that, but many times I just forget. In England you use “chips” to say “french fries” and use “crisps” to say “chips”. When I am ordering in restaurants, I will get confused sometimes. I wanted “french fries” but I ended up having “crisps”.

There are also other things like “parcel” and “package” and “garbage” and “rubbish”. And ya I miss people saying “brilliant” in U.K haha

Yimian on architecture

When people ask me why I like London more, I always say maybe it is more different than where I am from. China is growing fast so we have many high-rise buildings now. But in U.K and many parts in Europe, you can just see old buildings and houses everywhere. Old castles and palaces are just so attractive to me.

Yimian on Tea

Americans love ice water! British people love tea and I don’t find many people here who love tea that much.

On Food

American portion of food is just HUGE! One example may be sandwiches. I always love that kind of small triangle-shape sandwiches compared to the 6-inch sandwiches here. The triangle ones are just easier to handle and won’t be too messy. When I go to Pret-a-manger, I always take the triangle sandwich. Also, I love the tuna sweet corn flavor, but I never find one here. (In China, we don’t eat sandwiches a lot so I am not sure if the difference I mentioned is really a “difference”)

Many people laugh at “British food” but I really didn’t have any problem eating in London. It is so diversified and you can find many nice restaurants everywhere.

On shopping

I shopped a lot when I was in London. I love all those brands, TOP SHOP, RIVER ISLAND, NEW LOOK, ZARA, BERSHKA AND PULL&BEAR.

There are no BERSHKA or PULL&BEAR in the entire North America! Why?!!

On travelling

I just travel more in England because it is smaller and you can always just take a bus or the train to another city. America is too huge and it is just costly to fly around.

On uni life

One worldwide trend is that international students from China are everywhere but the difference is that you get so much more in graduate schools, especially business schools.

Another thing I would say are the dorm rooms. The British care more about their privacy and it is always one person to one room. I think most of the dorms in the US are shared.

Because I was so spoiled in London I could not live in shared dorm anymore! And I would say the British way of studying emphasizes more in essay writing which I enjoy a lot and the US seems to focus more on practical stuff like projects.

On her favorite Chinese restaurant in Chicago

So far my favourite Chinese restaurant is Golden Bull Restaurant which is a Hong Kong style one since I am from the South of China :)

For more on Yimian, check out her blog Chopsticks and Chicago where she recommends the best Chinese restaurants Chicago has to offer and tips on ordering Chinese food.

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Tags: chicago, London, Student

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