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August 1, 2019
by Bloomsbury International
Comments Off on Do Brits complain too much?

Do Brits complain too much?

In short- yes.

Generally speaking, The British tend to keep their concerns to themselves and try not to complain unless there is a big issue.  However, if you plan on staying in London for a while, you’ll need to know the 3 top things that the British love to complain about. You’ll be hearing them a lot!

  1. The Weather

In January, you’ll hear people constantly saying: ‘It’s bloody freezing, I wish it was summer!’

In August, you’ll hear people constantly saying: ‘It’s absolutely boiling, why don’t we have air con! I wish it was winter’

The truth is, the weather in the UK is changeable and unpredictable, a bit like your average Brit. We’re in the summer now and you’ll see people on the tube looking depressed or exhausted despite praying for warm weather most of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the heat is usually welcomed by most Brits. It’s a chance to get some much needed sun, do outdoor events without the fear of rain (although British summers can be quite wet) but also it’s the school break so families are eager to travel or spend time with one another. I guess the weather is a conversation starter for most, so we’re always checking the forecast so we have something to talk about on our travels or at work. It could also be a distraction from all the political unrest that The UK has been suffering from in recent years. Whatever the case, we always moan about the weather so if you want to adopt a British trait, moan about the weather.

  1. Work

I honestly don’t think I’ve come across a Brit who enjoys their job. Almost every Brit has something to complain about. Even if the job itself is fine, they will find something to moan about. I have a friend who works at a Primary School and she absolutely loves teaching kids and gets on really well with her colleagues. She’s been there for a while but recently I asked her how work was going and she said: Terrible. The kettle broke; I couldn’t make my morning coffee, so I’m thinking of relocating. Of course, there are probably other reasons as to why she’s relocating but you can see how Brits will let things build up inside them and then snap when something small happens. Maybe we’re just too pessimistic? I think that we shouldn’t allow our employment to define us and fill our free time with things that we enjoy.

  1. Queues

To be fair, queuing is annoying. We queue for everything, except perhaps the Central line. It’s very British to show your frustration through grunts, tuts or facial expressions but it’s considered rude to shout ‘Hurry up!’ unless of course you’re up North where they tend to vocalise their thoughts more than Londoners.

Queuing is the one thing we complain about after we’ve done it. You never complain whilst queuing, you stand there, whilst your legs cramp and only after you’ve left you call and moan about queuing. I guess the thing to learn from this is to be quick at the Sainsbury’s self-checkout, or else you’ll have 50 eyes staring at you in disgust.

 

Overall, we are a patient and polite nation when we aren’t moaning.

 

July 18, 2019
by Bloomsbury International
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What is Eid Al Adha?

Eid Al Adha

Oh yes, there’s another Eid coming up and British Muslims across the country will be having yet another array of feasts, parties and fun.

What is Eid Al Adha?

Eid Al Adha is the celebration of Abraham’s sacrifice. Muslims use this day to remember all that they’re thankful for and they show gratitude by giving to the poor or homeless. It’s tradition to buy a large amount of meat from an animal, (usually a cow, sheep or camel) cook it for several hours until the meat is tender, then serve it with salad and a selection of rice and pulses. This special meal is referred to as a Qurbani. The Qurbani is then packaged up and distributed in mosques, or given to those who are less fortunate and are on the streets. If you live next to or near Muslims, you’ll probably get a knock on the door too. You see, this day isn’t just for feeding the vulnerable and the poor, it is also a chance to welcome and encourage neighbourly ties with those in our immediate community, regardless of race, sex, gender and creed.

When is Eid Al Adha?

It varies year to year as Islamic holiday dates are determined by a lunar calendar. This year, it is set to start on Sunday 11 August and end on Thursday 15 August.

The festival traditionally lasts four days, with the first day marking the end of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

Why is Eid Al Adha so important?

Well it’s celebrated by 1.6 billion people around the world, so for many it is a time for giving back to the community we serve. The idea of community and togetherness is important to many Muslims and this holiday is considered a tad more important than the first Eid- Eid Al Fitr. Whilst many won’t be able to relate to the first Eid, this Eid is considered a chance to engage with those society has forgotten about or neglected. It is a chance to help those who society has failed.

How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?

A typical day would begin at dawn with a special Eid prayer. Shortly after, the food starts being prepared (or ordered from the local butchers/restaurants) and everyone gets dressed in either their best clothes or new clothes which would have been bought in advance. After the morning prayers, people usually have a light breakfast and decorate their homes. Around 1pm, people head to the mosque and perform their daily prayer and the festivities begin. Some people go to park events which have rides and others visit their extended family. The Qurbani is usually handed out by volunteers at a centre or at the mosque.

What can we learn from Eid Al Adha?

For me, this holiday reminds me to be mindful of others and do what I can to alleviate their suffering. If I see someone begging for money in Holborn, I’ll buy them a sandwich or in this hot weather, a bottle of water. If I have some old clothes I want to toss out, I’ll take them down to the local charity shop. If I go to the park with my family, I’ll feed the birds (unless there’s a sign prohibiting me from doing so). The idea is that our world won’t change unless we take the necessary steps which starts with a collective but also an individual responsibility to make sure those around us are okay. I think in this fast paced society we lose sight of what’s important and this holiday just humbles and reminds me to think of the bigger picture.

Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid everyone!

 

 

July 4, 2019
by Bloomsbury International
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How to budget in London

More often than not, students are surprised at just how expensive living in London can be. From accommodation to food, it’s always crucial that you watch your spending – particularly if you plan to stay here for a while. Here’s a list of solutions to enable you to manage your money.

 

  1. Limit eating out

‘ Teacher, we’re going to Wasabi again, please come!’

I’m always astounded to discover that 1 in 2 students eat out for at least one meal per day. Not even the average Londoner does this! It can be quite tempting to pop into EAT or Wasabi, (particularly because they’re on every corner). However, making a habit of it can cost you dearly. If you decide to stay in London for a prolonged period of time, it’s best to budget and spend wisely. For instance, many of my students are here in the hope of pursuing a Masters and if you’re familiar with university fees you’d know that they’re upwards of £10,000. The costs don’t stop there- there are admin fees, materials/books and not to mention the most extortionate of the lot- travel. It can be considerably costly to study and maintain a good standard of living so it does help to lessen expenditure where possible  Now, you may be thinking well this doesn’t exactly apply to me, I’m not considering higher education however, if you were to settle here, excessive spending especially on food would still impact you a great deal. My advice is to prep meals at home and have ‘cheat days’ where you enjoy grabbing lunch with classmates. There are plenty of supermarkets, namely Lidl and Aldi, which sell decent produce at great prices. Try it!

 

  1. Set up budgets and direct debits

‘Sorry I’m late teacher, I was topping up my oyster card’

Come on guys, you should know when your travel card expires. Try keeping the receipts! In all seriousness, we all forget things but sometimes we just can’t stay on top of all our expenses. I’d suggest opening a Monzo account. It’s a free service which provides you with an app to track and manage your spending. It’s linked to your normal debit card and you can set reminders and savings goals. It works wonders for us so why not have a go?

 

  1. Coupons, deals and sales

Do you like theatre? Film, perhaps? Or is clubbing more you? Whatever tickles your fancy, you don’t have to splurge to enjoy it. There are plenty of deals and offers online and in The Metro which will help you do the things you love, for less. A few weeks ago, I noticed that everyone was snapping up a copy of The Metro and tearing its pages. From the tube to the staff room, there were people buried in their papers. I looked over another teacher’s shoulder and saw that there was a Lidl voucher. It read ‘ Spend £20 and get £5 off your shop!’. British people love a bargain so despite shopping at Tesco, I took a voucher and headed to Lidl that weekend. I’m also a shopaholic, seriously – I need help. I’m in the know when it comes to sale seasons so I tend to plan my spending between these times. For instance, retail outlets such as Zara and H&M have mid season offers in late June. Homeware stores such as Ikea and Dunelm, have offers in early June. The next rush of sales will be in late July so don’t worry – you haven’t missed out!

Overall, it helps to be conscious of your spending. Spend wisely and you can enjoy your time here with ease.