I’m going to start with the work culture. As a French person, I noticed I work very differently from my British peers. For example, it happened a lot that my colleagues were super late but without calling any managers, they were just showing up 30 minutes late after saying hi and beginning to work. In France, being late is not really acceptable, as you can be reprimanded bfor that. What I mean to say here is that we have a different concept of time, and another conception of how to treat someone late, in the UK (or maybe just where I was working) they did not seem to care that much about it, but in France, they do. Maybe we care too much in France and there not enough but that’s just my opinion.
I was also surprised by how much British people drink. I thought that we, French people, were already huge drinkers with the concept of “apéro” for example; but that was before I arrived in London. Maybe it was related to my part-time job as I was a pub crawl guide, therefore I could see which nationality was drinking more and which was drinking less, and British people were winning all the time. Sometimes, that could be problematic because we had to deal with very drunk people and that part was not funny at all. It happened often that there were fights during and at the end of the night between drunk people, and the bouncers had to deal with that constantly. However, I still really liked the pub culture, it could be a Sunday or a Friday, there was always a lot of people at pubs.
Also, I was very surprised by how they loved the royal family. In France, we had a long tumultuous history regarding royalty and most of us hate that. On the contrary, British people seemed to love their monarchy and royal people like the Queen or the Princes. I was shocked by how every British people were watching the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan; there was absolutely no one on the streets. They were all at home or at pubs/bars watching it. I think only foreigners didn’t care, or at least a part of them. Also, you can buy a lot of souvenirs in shops related to royalty, like teacups with the Queen’s face or tee-shirts. Furthermore, never say something bad about them, or instead, you will be sure that no one will appreciate you.
Also, British people do everything earlier than French and we can begin by eating time. They take their diner around 6 PM and I could never understand that, I mean I would be so hungry around 10-11 PM if I was eating at the same time as British people. As I said before, after work, people went straight to the pubs, while in France people go to pubs or bars the night around 7-8 PM generally.
Finally, I was surprised at how people were so tolerant here compared to Paris. I will take the example of the LGBTQ+ community for example. In Paris, it’s still unsafe for two men or two women to hold their hands in public because of judgment or physical threats whereas here, no one seemed to care. You are free to do whatever you want and be whoever you want, you will not be judged by people.
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