I am a Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing student who traveled and study at Bath-Spa University for a half a year. If you have any questions about about studying abroad, I would be more than happy to help you out.
Five Months ago I was on a plane from Chicago to England. I truly can not believe how much time has flown by as I enjoy my last two weeks in Bath, England. Over this time, I have learned so much about myself, my learning process, my writing, and my future. I have had some great days and some not so great days, but I was able to maintain a sense of who I was and how to handle different situations and their outcomes.
I didn’t get to all the writing I wanted to while I was in Bath, but I did learn so much about writing styles and telling a story to a different audience. Many won’t believe that there is a difference between the two countries but there is. It’s a learning process and as a writer I had to practice patience. Yet I know that when I write my future stories or books, I will know how to address a new audience thanks to some of the teacher I had while at Bath-Spa.
Im going to miss England. The tea, the people, the events, England was the right choice when it came to studying writing. I hope that in the future, the next fiction writing major will be able to experience the same joy and happiness I had while studying in this great town and school. For a fresh new place to write will help you take that next step forward in your life.
Paris ~March 2013
It happens to the best of us. We think one country or state or even neighborhood doesn’t have something, but we won’t find out if they do or not unless we check it out. That’s what happened to my mom and I.
We had bought all these medications, tooth paste, lotion, etc. You name it, we brought it over from America. It wasn’t until my parents came over for my birthday did they see that a lot of the items we have were there.
It’s a common mistakes really. No matter who you are or where you are going, you never really think a certain place has the same things until you go there. I had a friend who lives in New York who was surprised that Chicago had Costa Coffee. It’s not a popular place, but we have it around. Another friend went to France and was surprise to see Starbucks there.
However the same thing happens to people from different countries as well. A friend from Germany was shocked that German chocolates were popular in Chicago and was also shocked at how much people liked H&M. It’s a common mistake we as humans make. So here is some advice for people traveling aboard to the UK: Wait to bring your everyday things until you get here, unless it is prescribed medication. I think that the best way to pack your things. Mostly because you need to make sure your suitcase doesn’t go over the weight limit because if it does, you are in big trouble.
This was suppose to be posted a few days ago, but the queue on tumblr was not working.
McDonalds. Almost everyone has been there. Their juicy Big Macs, their memorable fries, their signature McFlurries, McDonald’s has been the number one fast food chain for decades. When I first went to McDonald’s in Bath, I noticed that a slight change in the menu. Yes they had the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder, but everything else was different. Maybe it was my “American Ignorance” I have heard some English people say. I truly thought that McDonald’s would be the same no matter where I went except for India and other majority Muslim countries.
In England, they market their food towards a country that honors tradition. They like familiar items to eat and nothing over the top like we do. In the US, we have the McRib while in England, that would be frowned upon. Instead, they have deli like chicken sandwiches that you can have sweet or spicy sauce with. They have cakes, biscuits, puddings, and a much smaller menu than what you would find in the US. It’s not overwhelming when you search for what you want.
I thought Mickey D’s in Bath, England was well marketed. My friends don’t see the need for three patties on a burger or a lot of gimmicks to make you want to race to McDonald’s either. McDonald’s in England is like going for a treat instead of a meal. Teens and college students mostly frequent there after school while parents take their kids after a nice day in town or shopping. You can find people working on their computers and overall, it is pretty quiet for a McDonald’s. However in France, the McDonald’s experience is much different.
On my birthday trip to Paris, France my family was walking on Victor Hugo Street when suddenly my mom had to make a quick bathroom break. We headed to McDonald’s for her to go and my dad and I waited in the sitting area of the restaurant. While there I noticed something very different about the place. Not only did they sell their Big Macs with the option of having your burger on a baguette or croissant, but you didn’t have to wait in a line to order your meal. The French like things to be easy and fast during their day. Many of the cafes and restaurants usually make sure that you are in and out at a reasonable time; They also like things modern. So their McDonald’s will obviously be modern and fast pace type of place. Right when you walk in, there is a computer where you can put your credit card or debit card in and order your food. The computer shows you what the food looks like and even gives you all the ingredients and special deals for the day as well. After you order, you get your recite and order number. Then you wait no more than a minute or two until they hand you your order.
It’s all about the lifestyle of the consumers I learned in my Intro into Marketing Class. Here I have been into three different McDonald’s and discovered something different in each one. In the US, McDonald’s is marketed as an everyday thing. The fast food chain always has something different up their sleeves and new deals in every corner to keep you coming. In England and France, however, that’s not the case. McDonald’s already has a name across the sea, they don’t need new things all the time. So instead, McDonald’s caters to their cliental. The French like modern food with a little kick while the English like simple and traditional. Unconsciously, the words of my Marketing teacher echoed in my head while I went to McDonald’s and also Burger King and KFC, “Target audience is the key. What do the people want and what can you give them?”
My Interactive Story for my New Media Class
Featuring the song Piano Variation in Blue from Finding Neverland
Over here, most pies are savory. But my favorite is French Silk. A slight problem but that’s quite fine. I’ll just go for a nice 3.14 slice of Apple or something.
Everyday, when I walk to my classes, I get a little surprise.
It’s nothing to extreme but also not small
but it does run away when there are loud noises.
The sheep on the private farms that surround the campus always make my day. As a city girl, I don’t really see sheep walk around and be…them. It’s funny to see them just eat the grass and bark from the trees. It brings a sort of calmness to me.
Who knew that sheep could have a calming effect like this?
Or maybe it’s just me.
Last week I was waiting for the bus back to my campus when this older man came and sat next to me.
"Fine day isn’t it? Which bus are you waiting for?" he asked. His accent was different from some that I have heard before. Recently, I have gotten use to realizing that depending on which part of England you are from, you accent is very different.
"Oh I’m waiting for the 15." I replied.
"The 15? Where does that go to?"
"Oh! So you are in University then! Good good. I remember when I sent one of mine to University. Bath-Spa is beautiful isn’t it? I take my Grandkids on the hill and we like to sit and watch kids chase after the buses. It’s a good sight to see."
"You mean where the farms are?"
"Oh yes dear. All the way from the top. We can look down at the sheep and to the bus stops where the students are running to class or just walking around. It’s fun on nice days."
"I really bet it’s beautiful."
"Say now Ma’am, your accent, which part are you from?"
"Oh I’m from America" I watched as his small blue eyes widen and he slapped his leg in excitement.
"Wait until my kids find about about this! I spoke to an American today! My first American! Who knew! Which part of America?"
"Well I’m from the Midwest. Chicago actually. That’s where the President lives when he isn’t in DC."
"So amazing! How are you getting adjusted here? Different,ed eh?"
"It is very different. But I’m learning. It takes time to get use to everything."
"I bet! It took me some time to get use to Germany when I was tricked into going about 20 years ago. Even though I was there with my Harbor buddies for a few days, it was hard to be someplace I didn’t know. Plus I hate flying. So I was still pretty shaken up by that."
"You don’t like flying?"
"Oh no Ma’am. Flying is not for me. I rather walk to Germany than fly again. I am a man who likes to stay on his homeland. I was born here, my father was born here, his father, and his father were all Proper British Men who never left their soil. I was the first. And I see why we never left. That’s because our blood is connected to the soil. We need it for energy and to survive. Because my dear, if there is one thing you should know about the Brits, is that our land is our heart. We are so connected to it. A true British man or woman knows this. No matter where we are, our homeland where we have fought everything in the world, it is our pride and joy."
The older man’s bus soon came and we shook hands before he departed. “Take care my dear. Enjoy my country.” he told me before jumping on the bus. I smiled and waved back at him. I was glad to see him smiling as he got on the bus. And I hope that he was able to see mine. Because learning about why one loves their home always puts a smile on my face as well.
One thing I am learning is how to write again. Sounds weird I know. But as a writer, I am learning a new skill. I am learning how to write for a British audience. Of course the first thing that is going through your mind right now is, “How in the world do you write for a British audience? Is there really a difference?” The same questions went through my head as well. When my Writing for Young People teacher here at Bath Spa asked me if she was grading me for a British Audience or an American one like she does her students in the Masters Degree level, I had no clue what she meant.
The next day I asked the International Advisor for the Humanities Department/My Creative Writing Workshop teacher about this. He explained to me that writing for a British Audience is different. It’s all about the language and grammar. He recommended a book to me called “New Hart’s Rules”. The book is a British Rule Book on Writing. At first, I wasn’t sure about why he told me to take a look at it. I already new the basics of grammar and I already knew how to write essays. So the book didn’t make any sense. But after I bought it, I walked over to this Tea Shop called You and Me in Bath.
Drinking my tea, I started reading the book. I soon got to a part talking about the differences in American Spelling and British Spelling. For example, in America we say “color”. But the British say “colour”. We say “sulfur” and they “sulphur”. We say “analog” and they say “analogue”. These are just some examples of spelling. Other differences include how you aren’t supposed to indent the first paragraph of your essay when it comes to British writing, but in America it’s okay to do that.
I started to think about how I already knew there was a slight difference between audiences. Back when I was in High School, I had a friend in the year below me who loved Harry Potter. We were talking one day about how sometimes we as Americans don’t understand everything that is in the Harry Potter books because how “British” it seemed to be at times. Later my friend brought up a good point, “I guess at the end, it’s who do you want your audience to be. Like when you read the British version of Harry Potter, there are some words and phrases that aren’t in the American version because in the end, this book’s audience was for British boys and girls.”
My friend was right. Audience is basically the key when you are writing. And according to my teacher here, you have to choose what market you want to be in as a writer. It’s hard though because I don’t know everything about “British Grammar” or every little thing about the culture, but it’s a new challenge for me. I’m very open to try and start writing for this new audience. It’s hard since I don’t know everything, but at least I’m trying. Because nothing says you are truly a writer like stepping out of your comfort zone.