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3 Every step of the way

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Let’s go! The Leader in High School Exchange


Next Stop UK Adjusting

I’m jealous!

Fitting In

You are about to have one of the most memorable experiences of your life, an unforgettable year living in the UK. My year in Southport, England has already changed my life in so many ways. I became part of the culture, I made awesome friends, and I grew more independent and confident with every challenge I met. I will carry the memories with me forever!

Family Life

In this book, you will find everything you need to know about life in the UK, from practical facts to handling the emotional side of the experience. Having this information helped me make the most out of my own exchange year and I know it will do the same for you.

School Spirit

Always remember, you have a huge EF support team if you ever need it; your host family, local IEC, and all the staff at the EF headquarters in London. Have an amazing time!

Good to Know

Mariella Speiser, EF High School Exchange Year Ambassador

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Next Stop UK

chapters

Fitting In

02

Adjusting

01

Adjusting

Next Stop UK

page 04

Family Life

page 30

06

School Spirit

Good to Know

05

page 44

Good to Know

page 56

page 64

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School Spirit

Fitting In

04

Family Life

03

page 18

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Next Stop UK

Adjusting

Family Life

School Spirit

Good Good to to Know Know

5 4

Fitting In

01


Next Stop UK

PACKING

Adjusting

It’s not easy to pack for such a long stay abroad. Just remember, it is better to bring too little than too much. You will probably want to buy some things during your year, and you can always have clothes and things posted to you if you forget something. Be sure to find out what the weather is like where you’ll be living. Some parts of the UK get very cold!

Fitting In

c h eck e d l u gg ag e Does your school have a dress code?

Most schools have a uniform or rules that say you can’t wear certain kinds of clothes. Things like:

Family Life

Your checked luggage is the big suitcase or bag that you don’t carry with you onto the plane. If at all possible, you should only bring one checked bag, because you will have to pay for any extra—EF does not reimburse bag fees. For size and weight limits check with your airline.

×× no t-shirts showing alcohol, drug slogans, weapons or swear-words

School Spirit

×× no skirts shorter than about 7.5 cm above the knee ×× no tank tops, spaghetti straps or low-cut tops ×× no clothes with holes or clothes that look dirty

Good to Know

×× no football shirts

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Next Stop UK

W h at t o pa c k in yo u r c h e c k e d l u g g a g e

Casual shoes

Athletic clothes and shoes for school

Warm boots

Underwear and socks for at least 10 days

Shirts or t-shirts

Fitting In

Sweaters or sweatshirts

Academic transcript and recent grades from school

Adjusting

Glasses or contact lenses if you wear them (and your prescription)

A gift for your host family Sunglasses

Family Life

Jeans

Pictures from home

Raincoat or jacket

Swimsuit, shorts, etc. for extracurricular sports

School Spirit

Two sets of nice clothes and shoes for parties and formal dinners

Casual pants

Good to Know

A notebook to write down all your adventures

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Next Stop UK

Ca r ry- o n bag

Adjusting

The bag you bring onto the plane with you is called your carry-on luggage. If you get an EF bag, please use it as your carry-on so the EF Greeter can spot you at the airport. Make sure to pack any valuables in your carry-on bag, because you never know if your checked luggage might get lost or delayed.

W h at t o pa c k in yo u r c a r ry- o n b a g Fitting In

»» This “Let’s Go” guidebook »» Valid passport (and visa papers if you need them) »» Your EF Student ID card/folder

Family Life

»» Proof of insurance (for example, your Erika Travel Insurance card) »» Your flight itinerary and printed e-ticket »» The Language and Culture Camp address (if you’re not going to Scotland) »» Valuable items like a smartphone, jewelry, etc.

be enough). Due to insurance regulations, you have to keep this money in your carry-on bag. »» Some cash in your local currency to buy things at the beginning of your trip »» Toothbrush and a set of clothes in case your bags get lost or delayed

reminder

To get into the UK, you will need:

»» Any medication you take. For prescription medication you need a statement from your doctor in English clearly saying what the medicine is and what it is for.

×× Passport (with visa inside if you come from outside of Europe)

»» Something to read; preferably in English!

×× All EF paperwork

For full information on what you can and cannot bring on board visit your airline’s website.

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Make sure your bags are labelled with an EF baggage tag. Write on it either your family’s address or the Language and Culture Camp address if you’re going to camp.

S p eci a l bagg ag e q u e s t io n s If you have questions about your baggage, or if you want to bring any big items such as sporting equipment or musical instruments, call your airline to see what special rules they have. It is often less expensive to send big items by mail.

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Good to Know

»» Pen for filling out UK entry forms during the flight

L a be l L ing yo u r bag s

School Spirit

»» Cash for the first couple of weeks (about £300 should


Next Stop UK

flights and arrival

Adjusting

This is it! You’re finally ready to head out on this life-changing adventure. From packing your bags all the way to meeting your host family in the UK, let’s make it as smooth as possible.

Melanie from Switzerland

You will receive your flight ticket by email from your EF coordinator. The e-ticket may have several pages, one for each flight. You should print it out and bring it to the airport. In some cases, there will be EF staff to wave you off at the airport and help you out with any last-minute questions.

Family Life

“It only started to feel real once EF had emailed me my ticket. I was so excited I printed it out and put it on my wall.”

Fitting In

Tick e t s

That’s all there is to it! It’s time to get on the plane and take off for Heathrow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen Airport in the UK!

School Spirit Good to Know

help is near

If you can’t find your way around the airport or are unsure about anything, ask an airport staff member. If you need help call the EF office (+44 207 341 8665) or the EF Emergency Number (+44 777 179 7790).

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Next Stop UK

YOUR ARRI VA L IN THE U K

Adjusting

Welcome to the UK! When you first get off the plane you might feel a little lost and disoriented. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone. Airports have a good system and it is relatively easy to find your way around. This is what you’ll do:

Fitting In

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G o t h r o u g h I m m i g r at i o n

Pi c k u p yo u r l u g g a g e at t h e

Customs

Proceed to the Exit or

When you first arrive in the UK, follow the signs that say “Immigration” or “Arrival”. If you have a visa, immigration is where you show your passport, your visa, and the Immigration Form you filled out on the plane. When you get to the desk, the official will ask you some questions about what you’re doing in the UK. You will probably also go through a routine fingerprint and photo check. Be patient, it can take a long time to get through the immigration process. If you have a European passport you will show your passport at immigration then can go straight to collect your luggage.

B a g g a g e r e Cl a i m

Your bag may be selected for searching at Customs. An officer may wish to look inside your bags to check for any illegal goods. Again, don’t worry, this is a common procedure.

A r r i va lS H a ll Keep walking to the Exit/Arrivals hall and look for the EF Airport Greeter in England or your IEC in Scotland. It’s that happy smiling person with the big EF sign! They will organise getting you to your transport to the camp or your host family. If they’re not there the moment you exit, please stay in that area. If they don’t appear within 15 minutes, please call the Emergency Mobile at +44 777 179 7790.

School Spirit Good to Know

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After you have cleared Immigration, follow the signs to Baggage Reclaim where you will pick up your checked luggage. To find out which conveyer belt will have your bag check the flight numbers on the TV monitors. When you get your bag, be sure to check the name tag before leaving—a lot of bags look the same!

Family Life

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Next Stop UK

HA NDL ING THE U N EXPECTED I f yo u g e t l o s t

I f yo u r b a g g a g e i s da m a g e d, d e l ay e d o r l o s t

If you miss a flight for any reason, do the following:

Carmen from Spain

If something happens to your checked bag, you have to report this at the airport. Go straight to your airline’s service desk or to the desk saying “Lost Baggage”. Show them the baggage receipt you got with your boarding pass when you first checked in. You will fill out a form to explain what happened, and they will give you a confirmation from the airline which you’ll need when you claim money from your insurance company. Your insurance company will usually not cover any damage or loss of baggage if you don’t report it at the airport.

Fitting In

I f yo u m i s s a f li g h t

“As I had to fly into London Heathrow, I was a bit scared I would get lost in such a huge airport. But everything is very well signposted and the staff are very friendly and on every corner.”

Adjusting

If at any point you get lost at the airport, don’t panic. There are always plenty of airport staff around to help you. Just show them your ticket and boarding card, and they will help you find your way.

1. Go to the airline’s service desk and show them your ticket and boarding card. The airline will rebook you on the next possible flight. Family Life

2. Call the EF office in London at +44 207 341 8665 or +44 777 179 7790 so they can tell your host family, IEC, and anyone else who needs to know about your new plans. you made it now call home!

a r e n ’ t a n y m o r e t h at day

Call your parents back home as soon as you meet up with your host family! Your parents will probably be waiting to hear that you have arrived safe and sound in the UK.

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Good to Know

There’s a chance there won’t be any other flights available until the next day. If this happens, you will stay overnight at a nearby hotel. If the airline wasn’t responsible for you missing the flight, they probably won’t book you a hotel room. Just give EF a call, and they will help you out.

School Spirit

I f yo u m i s s a f li g h t, a n d t h e r e

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Next Stop UK

Adjusting

Family Life

School Spirit

Good Good to to Know Know

19 18

Fitting In

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Next Stop UK

»» Remember to smile and be friendly when you first meet your host family, even if you are tired and hungry from the trip.

Jorn from The Netherlands

Family Life

»» You’re going to meet a lot of new people when you first arrive and you may have trouble remembering all of their names. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know them in the coming weeks.

“British English might be a little different from what you learned in school, and the people in your town might speak with a special accent or dialect. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it!”

Fitting In

»» Don’t be afraid to speak English right away. People will know it’s not your native language and will appreciate your efforts even if you stumble at first. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your English will improve as long as you try.

Adjusting

FIRST DAYS Tips for a flying start

»» Get familiar with your community as soon as you can. Find out where the school, library, cinema and shops are.

School Spirit

»» Find out how you will be getting around town. Ask your host family about public transportation or whether they will be able to drive you places. »» Make sure your host family sits down with you and explains the household rules and schedules. You’re like a member of their family now and it’s important that you know what they expect from you.

Good to Know

»» Get to know the basics of living in your new home, things like sharing the bathroom and shower, using the telephone, and washing your clothes. »» If there is anything you do not understand ask your host family! They want you to be comfortable and happy in your new home!

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Next Stop UK

CULTURE SHOCK

»» You are uncomfortable with the little things in the UK such as the way people eat meals or how close they stand to each other.

»» You start to dislike the UK and make negative comments like, “I hate the people here. Everyone here is stupid.”

»» Try not to say that things in your host country are “stupid” or “awful” even if you feel that way. These feelings will go away but you might offend some people in the meantime. »» Try to understand why people in your host country behave the way they do. This will help you accept things that may seem strange and it will help you be part of what is going on. »» Don’t compare your family back home with your host family or your culture with the culture in the UK.

School Spirit

»» You spend a lot of time alone in your room. You only leave your room for meals, and then you say very little to your host family.

Paolo from Italy

Family Life

»» You start to think that the way people behave at home is the “right” way and that people in the UK are behaving in the “wrong” way.

»» Keep busy and avoid spending too much time alone. Being active helps the challenging times pass quickly.

“Keep your eyes open. You will learn a great deal about another culture by watching people’s faces, movements and interactions with one another.”

Fitting In

Si g n s yo u m i g h t h av e c u lt u r e s h o c k

H o w t o c o p e w i t h c u lt u r e s h o c k »» Be open and talk to your host family, friends or IEC. Let them know how you feel so they can understand your situation.

Adjusting

If you’re like most exchange students, you will feel a bit confused and disoriented at times during your first few weeks in the UK. The rules are different, the surroundings look strange, the ways of doing things are not like home and everyone is speaking this crazy language! This confusion is called culture shock. These feelings are totally normal and thankfully, there are ways to get through it.

»» You cry a lot and have trouble concentrating in school. You sleep more than usual without any reason. »» You get upset at small things that normally wouldn’t bother you at all.

Good to Know

“Never say ‘I can’t’. Every experience is going to be a good memory.” Sylvia from Germany

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Next Stop UK

THE ADJUSTME N T CYC L E

Remember

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C u lt u r e s h o c k

S u r fa c e a d j u s t m e n t

Hi d d e n p r o b l e m s

Fi t t in g in

G o in g h o m e

Everything seems exciting, interesting and new. You feel very happy and “in love” with your new country.

You start to see differences and begin to feel less comfortable. You are tired both physically and mentally. You would rather be alone than with your host family and school mates.

You start to understand the people in your new country and their ways. You feel more comfortable in your environment.

Although you seem to be fitting in, you begin to question some parts of the culture. You are homesick, lonely and may have conflicts with family and friends. You may feel unhappy and think, “Everything would be better, if only...”.

You accept your host culture and feel comfortable with the lifestyle. You may even feel like a native.

You begin to have mixed emotions about returning to your own country.

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Family Life

2

Honeymoon period

Fitting In

1

Adjusting

Not every day or week will be the same in the UK, and your year abroad is not supposed to be just one big party. You are here to grow as a person, to become more confident, and to learn how to face new challenges!

Everyone experiences culture shock in different ways and to different degrees but generally people go through the following stages:

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School Spirit Good Good to to Know Know

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6

2

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Next Stop UK

HOMESICKNESS

Adjusting

While culture shock happens shortly after you move to a new place, homesickness and loneliness can come up any time during the year. In fact, it often creeps up when you least expect it. Your natural reaction at these times is to keep your emotions to yourself but the best way to get over your homesickness is to talk about it with someone you trust.

Fitting In

Tip s f o r de a ling w i t h h o m e sickn e s s »» Don’t call your parents back home every day. Hearing their voices will only make you miss them more.

Family Life

»» Try to divide the year ahead into parts instead of counting the months until you go back home. Look ahead weeks at a time instead of months at a time. »» Talk to your host family, friends and teachers. If people around you know how you feel, they will be able to support you.

School Spirit

»» Practise your English as much as possible through newspapers, TV and talking with your host family, friends and IEC. Even if you don’t speak perfectly, trying every day will help improve your English and make you feel more at home in the UK. »» Most importantly, keep busy! Instead of always thinking about your problems turn your thoughts to positive things like a new activity, club or sport.

Good Good to to Know Know

“When you are feeling homesick or like life is better in your home country, remember to think, ‘It’s not wrong, it’s not right, it’s just different’.” Mareike from Austria

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Next Stop UK

student tips

Fitting In

Sophia from Italy

“Set goals that are challenging but also achievable. Work toward the goals but don’t get discouraged if things don’t always work out as you hoped.”

Adjusting

“Don’t give up just because you feel a bit homesick. Remember that life at home also goes up and down. Challenges make you grow!”

Jonas from Denmark

Victor from Spain

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Good Good to to Know Know

Helena from The Netherlands

School Spirit

“Be honest. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t understand something. It is better to tell someone that you are confused rather than pretend everything is all right.”

Family Life

“Learn to laugh at yourself. Adjusting to another culture and communicating in a new language is not easy but laughing at your mistakes keeps you happy and makes you learn faster.”


Next Stop UK

Adjusting

Family Life

School Spirit

Good Good to to Know Know

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Fitting In

03


Next Stop UK

culturAL NORMS

Adjusting

Part of living in a new country is learning the local habits and customs. Once in the UK you’ll quickly get to know the cultural quirks through your own experiences but here is a little overview so you know what to expect.

M e e t ing a nd g r e e t ing

In everyday situations during the year, when you meet people for the first time you can just smile and say, “Hello, nice to meet you”. It’s common to shake hands but Brits don’t normally hug or kiss each other when meeting for the first time.

School Spirit

When you address adults, use their formal title and then their last name (for example, “Hello, Mr. Smith”). Use “Mr.” (pronounced “Mister”) to address a man; “Mrs.” (pronounced Misses) for a married woman; and “Ms.” (pronounced Miz) for an unmarried woman or if you don’t know if she is married. Some adults may tell you to call them by their first name (like your host parents, neighbors, relatives), but you should always use the formal address unless they tell you otherwise.

Family Life

Rebecca from Germany

Brits are generally friendly people and when you first meet your host family at the airport they’ll probably greet you with bright smiles and a big “hello!”. They may shake your hand, they may give you a hug.

Fitting In

“When I came to the UK I felt very welcome right away. My host parents told me I could either call them by their first names or just say Mum and Dad right away which I found very cute.”

W h at t o w e a r

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Good to Know

If you follow the packing lists on pages 8 –10, you should have all the clothes you need! British teenagers tend to follow fashions and trends so you may want to save for a shopping trip once you arrive! The British winter can be very cold and wet so remember to bring warm, waterproof shoes and clothes as well as your lighter summer clothes. Remember to find out if your school has a dress code. There will be some occasions where you’ll want to dress more formally, like when you’re going to a nice dinner out, birthday party or some other formal event.


Next Stop UK

Brits care a lot about their personal hygiene and most people shower or bathe once a day, sometimes even more. Almost everyone wears deodorant and body odor is considered to be offensive. If you want to fit in with British teenagers you should wear deodorant every day. Also, most British girls shave their legs and armpits.

It is common to tip in British culture where you have experienced a good service. If you go out to eat, the tip should reflect the level of service you receive. A standard tip for dinner is 10 –12% of the bill and for less formal meals some small change. Where no tip is left the waiting staff will think there was a problem with the service. You should also give a small tip to taxi drivers, hairdressers and beauty therapists. You shouldn’t tip bus drivers, shop assistants, theatre ushers or servers in fast food restaurants.

Meals

no Smoking EF students are not allowed to smoke while on the exchange programme. Smoking is not as socially acceptable in the UK as it is in other countries. It is illegal to smoke in indoor public spaces or to buy cigarettes under the age of 18.

Family Life

For most Brits, breakfast is usually something small, like toast, porridge or cereal with milk. Sometimes at the weekends people eat a bigger breakfast with eggs, bacon and sausages. Lunch is often sandwiches or whatever the school cafeteria is serving that day. Dinner is the biggest meal of the day and it’s the one where people spend the most time together. You can read more about dinnertime in the “Family Life” section on Page 47.

Fitting In

Tipping

Adjusting

Personal hygiene

Ta bl e m a nn e rs

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Alexandra from Austria

Taboo topics Brits are quite conservative when it comes to sensitive topics like sex. People generally don’t talk openly and publicly about it and most British parents don’t let their children bring another teenager of the opposite sex into their bedroom. If you would like to spend time at your house with someone of the opposite sex, you should always ask the permission of your host parents and stay in the common rooms (living room, kitchen, etc.). You should also be private when showering or changing clothes. Even at swimming pools it’s normal for people to get changed in changing rooms.

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Good to Know

If you ever go to a fancy restaurant or a formal dinner, you might see a lot of forks and spoons on either side of the dinner plate. These are for the different courses (salad, dinner, dessert, soup, etc.). The general rule is to use the outside utensil first and work your way inwards with each course. Don’t worry if you make a mistake—they won’t kick you out of the restaurant for using the wrong fork!

“First I was a bit nervous when my host family and I got invited to a very fancy restaurant in our town. But then I just watched how the other people at the table would behave and I noticed that it’s not that hard at all.”

School Spirit

When eating with other people, it’s polite to wait for everyone to get their food before you start eating. It’s generally considered rude to keep your elbows on the table, to talk with your mouth full, or to criticise the food that has been served. You can eat some types of food by hand like pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. When in doubt, look at what other people do before starting yourself.


Next Stop UK

bri t i s h s l a ng

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BF/GF

awkward

Adjusting

You’ll quickly learn the local slang from your new friends at school but we’ll get you started with some words you might hear.

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O-M-G

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used to show you understand someone’s point or reason. “Chris isn’t coming to the cinema which is fair enough because he’s really tired from football.”

used when someone makes a huge mistake or does something embarrassing. “Did you see him try to talk to that girl and then trip and fall? Epic fail.”

short for ridiculous (crazy, silly, often in a good way). “Julio’s new hairstyle is ridic.”

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another term that comes from social media which is spoken at the end of a sentence for added emphasis or to be funny. “I got an A on my math exam and found a £20 note on the ground— hashtag lifeisgood.”

very, extremely. “My chemistry teacher is dead smart.”

very crazy. “You’re going to the beach without any sunscreen? That’s cray cray.”

fair enough epic fail

hashtag

dead

×× John has, like, seven pairs of trainers. ×× Like, I don’t understand why we have a test the day after Halloween. ×× She’s like, the nicest girl in the world.

cray cray

Good Good to to Know Know

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ridic

School Spirit

originally used in text messages as shorthand for “oh my god!”, now said out loud when someone is excited. “O-M-G. I can’t believe he asked me to the prom!”

Family Life

popular term for when a situation is uncomfortable, funny, weird or embarrassing. “Joe and Katie have to do a presentation together in English class. Awww-kward.”

Spend a little time in the UK and you might notice some people, especially teenagers, say the word “like” a lot. Over the years, it has become a common part of the language, a “filler” word that doesn’t really add any meaning but is included anyway at different points in a sentence. Some examples:

Fitting In

abbreviations for boyfriend/girlfriend. “Have you met her new BF? No, but I heard he’s really tall.”

a note about “Like”

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Next Stop UK

YOUR PERSO N A L dic t io n a ry

e n g li s h

t r a n s l at i o n

Adjusting

Write down the new words and phrases you hear at school and at home. People will probably say a lot of things you never learned in school!

e n g li s h

t r a n s l at i o n

Fitting In Family Life School Spirit Good Good to to Know Know

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Next Stop UK

Bri t i s h p h o t o h u n t

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Afternoon Tea

Red Telephone Box

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Royal Family Merchandise

A Long Queue of People

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Welcome Sign for Your Town

Full English Breakfast

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Sunday Roast

Black Cab

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Rugby Match

Meat Pie

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Good Good to to Know Know

Fish and Chips

School Spirit

British flag

Family Life

2 Fitting In

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Adjusting

Britain means something different to everyone. When you see things in town that seem very “British” to you take a photo and post it on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #efexchangestories. Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Next Stop UK

student tips

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Good Good to to Know Know

Véronique from Switzerland

Chen from Taiwan

School Spirit

“If you get an invitation in the mail for a formal occasion like a birthday party or wedding, you should reply as soon as possible if you can go.”

Family Life

“When you’re talking to people don’t ask personal questions about things like their age or weight or how much money they earn. Stick to things like sports, news, films and books.”

Marte from Norway

Fitting In

Florian from Austria

“Brits usually keep some space between them when they are in a conversation, usually two or three feet. Try to notice how others stand, and do the same thing.”

Adjusting

“Be open and honest when giving your opinions, but try not to be too critical of cultural differences. Remember, you are a guest here.”


Next Stop UK

Adjusting

Family Life

School Spirit

Good Good to to Know Know

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Fitting In

04


Next Stop UK Adjusting

GETTING ALONG WITH YOUR HOST FAMILY Chances are that you and your host family are going to become very close, like real family. This relationship is one of the most rewarding parts of the exchange experience. The key to making it work is understanding expectations, respecting each other and keeping communication open and honest throughout the year.

Fitting In

M a king p l a n s w i t h f rie nd s

Family Life

“Let the host family meet your new friends. They’ll be much more comfortable with you being out if they know who you’re with.”

There will be plenty of times that you’ll want to make plans with friends whether that means going out somewhere or inviting a friend over to your house. That is great! Just remember that your host parents are responsible for you so you should check with them first. They will always want to know where you are, who you’re with and when you’ll be coming home. Host parents don’t like surprises.

Rune from Sweden

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E at ing dinn e r w i t h t h e fa mily Dinner is the biggest meal of the day for most British families, and it is an important time to be together. Everyone talks about their days or a big news story or just whatever’s on their mind. Like all family members, you are expected to be at dinner every night, unless you’ve made plans in advance that your host parents have agreed to. If you are ever going to be late for dinner you should call your host parents to let them know and don’t make a habit of being late!

“It is up to you to adapt to your host family’s lifestyle, not the other way around.” Katrin from Germany

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Good to Know

Since you will be considered a member of the family, you can expect to help out with chores around the house. These may include cleaning your room, cutting the grass, emptying the dishwasher, washing clothes, vacuuming, or walking the dog. Your host family will appreciate you helping out.

School Spirit

H e l ping w i t h ch o r e s


Next Stop UK

C o ming h o m e by c u r f e w

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Good to Know

Malin from Norway

Unless you are sleeping or doing homework you should try to not spend a lot of time alone in your bedroom. If you do, your host family might think you don’t want to interact with them and they may feel hurt or that you don’t like them. Your host family wants to share their life with you and get to know you—go hang out with them! If you realise that you have been spending a lot of time alone in your room it may be because you’re feeling homesick. Read some tips for overcoming homesickness on page 26.

School Spirit

“If there are young kids in your family, do something fun with them. They will love the attention from their new ‘brother’ or ‘sister’.”

Family Life

Avoiding t o o m u ch t im e in yo u r ro o m

Try to keep your phone and online time at home to a minimum. It’s natural to want to chat with your new British friends and to want to check in on Facebook with your friends back home, but your hours at home are your chance to spend quality time with your host family. In fact, there’s a good chance your host parents will set time limits for phone calls and being online, just as they do with their own children. Of course, if you ever need to call your parents back home or your IEC you will always be able to.

Fitting In

L imi t ing p h o n e a nd o nlin e t im e

Adjusting

A “curfew” is the hour that you have to be home at night. It is normal for teenagers to have a curfew so you won’t be any different from your friends. Don’t be surprised if you have to be home by 8 or 9pm on weeknights and 10 or 11pm on weekends. If you’re ever going to be late call your host parents. If you ever come home after your curfew without calling your host parents they may “ground” you. This means you might not be allowed to watch TV or go out with friends for a few days. Be good— don’t get grounded!


Next Stop UK

CA N YOU COO K?

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While you’ll get to know British cuisine very well during your year, the dinner table is also a great place to share your own culture. Write down a special recipe from your home country and cook it for your host family one night!

name of dish Fitting In

Ingredients

Family Life School Spirit

Instructions

Good to Know

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Next Stop UK

q u e s t io n s t o a s k yo u r h o s t fa mily

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Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, especially in the beginning when you’re still figuring everything out. Here is a list of some common questions students ask their host families.

What should I call my host parents?

Where can I put my personal items in the bathroom?

When is the best time to take a shower?

Can I have friends spend the night?

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Can I have friends over after school?

How should I answer the phone?

What are the rules for using my mobile phone and computer?

How do I arrange transportation to activities and events?

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Can I take lifts from my friends?

Am I allowed to hang posters/pictures on the wall and move the furniture around in my room?

If I am the last one to leave the house, how do I lock up? Will I have a house key?

Do I take my shoes off when entering the house?

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What should I do around the house to help?

Can I have a list of all the family members’ birthdays?

What are the important telephone numbers I should know?

What are the rules for watching TV?

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Good Good to to Know Know

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student tips

Philipp from Germany

Lee from Korea

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Good Good to to Know Know

“Be on time! Try not to be late for meals or meeting times and don’t come home late in the evening.”

“Join in your host family’s activities. Go on hikes with them, visit their relatives, help make a special dinner or do whatever other things your host family enjoys.”

School Spirit

Eva from The Netherlands

Aiko from Japan

Family Life

“Surprise your host family with small presents sometimes to show them that you appreciate them. Nothing expensive, just something little to thank them.”

Fitting In

Mia from Austria

“Share your own culture with your host family. Talk about life at home, show pictures, point out differences and similarities. Maybe cook them a traditional meal!”

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“Talk to your host family often. Share what you’re doing, thinking and feeling.”


Next Stop UK

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Family Life

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Good Good to to Know Know

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THE HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE

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Your school days will be the heart of your exchange—it’s where you will make friends, take interesting classes and get involved in fun activities. Your “Let’s Get Started” book covered all the details about school, so now it’s just a quick refresher and some things to spark your school spirit!

School Show

School Trips

Prom popular in British schools. Usually at the end of the school year, prom is a formal dance where everyone dresses up in nice outfits and dances the night away to celebrate finishing school—definitely a highlight of the year! It is a very special night and takes a lot of preparation. Why not join your school prom committee?

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×× Grades EF students have to maintain at least a C average across all subjects. ×× Sports EF can’t guarantee you will be able to play on your school’s sports teams. ×× Graduation EF can’t guarantee you’ll pass all of your exams—that is up to you! You will receive an EF certificate of completion. ×× School lunches You will need to buy your own lunch at school. Allow £2–£3 a day. ×× School rules Be sure to follow the rules! As an exchange student, you’re representing not just yourself, but your host family, EF, and your home country.

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Good to Know

A tradition taken from American culture, proms are now very

×× Classes Choose the subjects that you enjoy studying. EF can’t guarantee you will be able to take all the classes you might pick, it will be dependent on your school.

School Spirit

School trips are very popular in the UK. You may go to the mountains with your geography class, to see Shakespeare with your English literature class or even to a theme park with your year group. These activities are a great chance to bond with your classmates and put a true British spin on your learning.

DON’T FORGET:

Family Life

It is very common in British schools to have a showcase “It was amazing to see at the end of each term. It is usually an evening event put my classmates perform together to show off the school’s most talented students. in the school show. They sing, perform, dance or show off any other talents Particularly the ones they may have. It’s a great chance for you to get involved. who played the Scottish Not musical? Help backstage or simply go to the bagpipes!” performance to support your friends! Ku from Korea

Fitting In

THE BIG e v e n t s


Next Stop UK

A DAY- IN -THE- L IFE AT SCHOO L

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You won’t know what your days will be like until you get into your own routine, but this will give you an idea of a typical schedule.

Fitting In

01:0 0 P.M.

1:45 P.M.

3:30 P.M.

6:00 P.M.

MOR N I N G C L ASSES

L U N CH T I ME

AFTER N OO N

A f t e r- s c h o o l

HOME

In British schools, the

Students eat lunch in the

C L ASSES

ACT I V I T I ES

( A N D HOMEWOR K )

teachers stay in the same classroom throughout the day and the students move from room to room. You will have some free time for private study between classes, just check your class time table.

cafeteria or common room, either bringing a lunch from home or buying it at school. You may also be able to go out for lunch depending on your school.

It’s back to your classes to finish up the day.

School’s out, but the day continues with your extracurricular activities whether it’s a sport, drama, or study club.

Each night, homework is assigned in every subject. The amount will depend on your school and teachers but you will probably have about two hours each night.

Yes, you are going to have to wake up early to make it to school on time! Most students travel by bus or if you live close enough you may be able to walk or cycle. Ask your host family which is the best way.

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9:0 0 A .M.

R I SE A N D SH I N E!

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7:3 0 A .M.

Good Good to to Know Know

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student tips

Christine from Switzerland

“My school had a ‘sports day’ where all the school houses competed. It was great to see the athletes compete but more fun doing the silly events!” Ana from Spain

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“Do not judge people too early. Meet them, talk to them, and make friends.”

Som from Thailand

School Spirit

Niklas from Sweden

“Teachers in Britain are very helpful. At my school, the teachers always gave me extra help if I needed it.”

Family Life

“People at school will be nice to you if you are nice to them— don’t be shy!”

Fredrik from Norway

Fitting In

Vera from Italy

“Join in! The more stuff you try the more people you get to know.”

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“You are facing something totally different. People are friendly and you should try new experiences—they will change you in some way.”


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useful information

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When is Remembrance Day? What if I don’t make the football team? How do I make friends? Learn all the important UK holidays and get answers to key questions from people who have been in your shoes.

Remembrance Day

Guy Fawkes Night

Children dress up in costumes, carve pumpkins and go “trick-or-treating” for sweets. Older kids and adults get in on the Halloween spirit too.

On this day we commemorate all the soldiers who fell in the world wars. People wear poppies for the weeks running up to this day.

Fireworks and bonfires spring up all over the country to commemorate the night the Houses of Parliament escaped detonation.

December

December

february

Christmas

New Year’s Eve

Valentine’s Day

December is all about the holiday season, with gift giving, festive parties, and other religious and cultural traditions.

Count down to midnight, watch fireworks, and ring in the new year.

Couples and friends give each other flowers, candy hearts and special cards.

march

april

June

Mother’s Day

Easter

Father’s Day

This is a day for us to show our appreciation of all our mothers and grandmothers.

Easter is a Christian holiday, but British tradition includes the Easter Bunny, who delivers chocolate eggs to children.

Father’s Day is a chance to honor our fathers and grandfathers.

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holidays in the uk

Holidays with your friends and family will be one of the most fun ways to experience the British culture. Mark your calendar and look forward to the celebrations!

Good Good to to Know Know

Halloween

School Spirit

November

Family Life

november

Fitting In

october

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Next Stop UK

A N SWERS f ro m t h e e x p e r t s

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Anne “I packed a big photo album, which

It was great fun.”

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What do I get my host How do I make friends? family if I don’t know where Johanna “How would you make new friends at home? It’s just the same—talk I’m going yet? Anne “I suggest something generic that

to people, join in with teams or clubs, and you will have friends before you know it.”

everyone likes! Like chocolate, or a photo book about your home town.”

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Did you put on weight?

What did you do on your first night with your host family?

Did any of the family pets not like you?

Where did you hang out after school?

Anne “Yes! My family had a dog that did

Rebecca “I played a lot of sports, so I was always with my sports team.”

Anne “I did get a little bigger due to the

different food, but I lost it as soon as I got home. Just try to stay active!”

Brian “We had dinner and played a board game. It was a good way to get to know each other.”

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What if I don’t make the football team?

What did you wear for the first day at school?

Brian “There are so many other options out there, so don’t worry! You’ll always be able to find a different team or activity to take part in. Just aim for something different, it might surprise you!”

Alexandra “I just wore jeans and my favorite jumper. I just wanted to feel comfortable, as I was really nervous.”

Nina “There was a coffee shop in town we

would go to. It was so nice to meet up with friends there.”

Good to Know

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not like me at first, but once he got used to having me around the house he was really nice.”

Jacob “Same for me—jeans and a t-shirt!”

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School Spirit

Dennis “I asked someone out, so we went as a couple. Just asking her out was really fun. I made a huge sign.”

Family Life

was nice to have, but I realised it would have been just as easy to show my pictures online.”

Dennis “I took part in lots of sports. It’s pretty hardcore with training in the UK, so I got bigger, but in a healthy way!”

Fitting In

What is the one thing you Did you get a date to packed you could have left prom? behind? Nina “I went with my friends in a big group.

Adjusting

Ambassadors hear a lot of the same questions from students who are getting ready to head out on their exchange year. You’ve probably had some of these questions yourself!

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Next Stop UK

a s k f o r do odl e s

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Ask your friends and host family members to draw their favorite places in town. Maybe even ask them to take you to see it in person!

Fitting In

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name of the pl ace

name of the pl ace

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School Spirit

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name of the pl ace

name of the pl ace

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Good to Know

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yo u r n o t e s & Do odl e s

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Have something on your mind that you want to get down on paper? Use these pages as a personal journal, a sketchbook, or just a place to record your random thoughts, questions and funny memories.

Fitting In Family Life School Spirit Good Good to to Know Know

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Fitting In Family Life

School Spirit

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Next Stop UK Adjusting

HAVE A BLAST!

Fitting In

Well, there’s nothing more I can tell you; it’s time for you to get out there and discover for yourself what an exchange year is all about. You are going to have the time of your life!

Family Life

During the year, if you are interested in sharing your experiences and insights with other students who are planning to go on an EF exchange in the future, you can sign up to become an official Ambassador for EF. The Ambassador role is a chance to tell your story, to join a network of fellow Ambassadors, and to add great work experience to your CV. Think about it! Enjoy every moment of this amazing year. I hope you have as much fun as I did!

School Spirit

Mariella Speiser, EF High School Exchange Year Ambassador

Good to Know

b e c o m e a n a m b a s s a d o r t o day:

http://my.ef.com

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HSY Student handbook 3 - Lets Go - UK