If you’re an international student living in the UK and have recently arrived here, the past few weeks have probably been a whirlwind. Leaving home and waving goodbye to your friends and family, before departing for university and starting your degree.
But on top of that, for many international students, you’re probably setting foot in a country you’ve never visited or lived in before. It can seem daunting at first, but this really is an exciting time in your life and an opportunity to explore and experience life in a new country. And as you settle into the UK, we’ve pulled together some information and fun facts about the UK so you know more about your new home and where you are…
So, you’ve heard of it, you’ve travelled to it and now you’re here in the UK, but where exactly are you in the world? Well, the UK is an island nation located in the north-west of Europe. The UK is actually made up of four countries; Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the official name for the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The size of the UK is approximately 242,000 square kilometres, which in terms of area, is smaller than the state of Oregon. The UK has a population of approximately 62.8 million people and the main language spoken is English. Did you know, there are actually more chickens in England than there are humans?
If you’re trying to figure out what time is best to call home and want to avoid waking your family up in the middle of the night, it’s worth knowing that the UK uses Greenwich Mean Time and British Summer Time. So, if you’re from China for example, and want to call home, from October until March, the time difference is 8 hours – with China being 8 hours ahead. However, the UK uses daylight saving time through spring and summer, meaning the time difference from March until September is 7 hours.
And if you’ve arrived in the UK and you’re finding it a bit wet, don’t be surprised. The UK is often associated with wet and rainy weather. The rainfall is plentiful all year round, so make sure you have an umbrella handy – and try not to lose it; each year, it is estimated that over 80,000 umbrellas are lost in London alone.
You’ve just missed the warmest season here in the UK – summer, which runs from June until September. We’re now in autumn; the transition between summer and winter. Starting in September until November, it’s best noticed by the colour change in leaves and the harvest. Winter follows autumn in December through to February. This season is usually the coldest with the shortest days and the most unsettled weather. Spring which starts in March until June, is a season welcomed by most people in the UK. After the cold and dark winter months, the days start to get longer, temperatures get warmer and plants start to blossom.
Although the weather can be unpredictable, it is rarely extreme. Temperatures do vary throughout the seasons, with winter typically being the coldest and summer the warmest. But temperatures rarely drop below -5°C in the day or rise above 30°C. When the weather is warmer, many people in the UK visit the beach. And with no point in Britain being more than 75 miles away from a coastline, it’s no surprise that we all love a trip to the seaside!
So, there you have it, a quick guide to and facts about the UK. Now it’s time to sit back, relax and make yourself at home in the UK. And with 165 million cups of tea consumed in the UK every day, don’t forget to put the kettle on and enjoy a nice cuppa too!