Introduction to uk culture and cultural adaptation
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Introduction to UK Culture and Cultural Adaptation. Some different definitions of culture. “The culture of a particular people ….is everything one must learn, in order to behave in ways that are recognisable, predictable and understandable to those people” C A Valentine

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Introduction to UK Culture and Cultural Adaptation

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Introduction to UK Culture and Cultural Adaptation

Some different definitions of culture

“The culture of a particular people ….is everything one must learn, in order to behave in ways that are recognisable, predictable and understandable to those people”

C A Valentine

“The whole range of human activities which are learned and not instinctive and which are transmitted from generation to generation through various learning processes”

J Beattie

“people continue to fail to grasp the true significance of the fact that culture controls behaviour in deep and pointing ways, many of which are outside awareness and therefore beyond conscious control of the individual” Edward T Hall


She had a right cob on about something

That meal was a total rip off!

They gave him the sack

You’re taking the piss, mate!

I’m skiving off early today

Eugh that’s manky!

Lend us a fiver, love

Someone’s been telling porkies

Fancy one for the road?

I was hammered last Friday

I was knackered last night

Give us a ring

Pull the other one, it’s got bells on!

It’s swings and roundabouts

Can I share your rubber?

I’m just nipping to the loo

I fancy bangers and mash tonight...

What’s for pudding?

It’s only ten quid!

It’s not my cup of tea

It’s all gone pear-shaped

“An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one”

George Mikes

How is it in your culture? same? Different?



Sense of humour


Dress & appearances


National holidays

Conversation topics


Drinking culture




Perceiving things differently

  • What do you see?

  • Old lady?

  • Young lady?

Picture designed by American psychologist Edwin G. Boring

Perceiving things differently

  • People’s perceptions are often different

  • It is not easy to explain to others what we see so naturally

  • It is not easy to perceive exactly what someone else sees, despite our efforts to practice empathy

  • Frustration and value judgements (what’s wrong with them that they cannot see what I see?)

  • ‘Group think phenomenon’ and social pressure to conform to majority view

Embracing your new culture

  • Make the most of College and Students’ Union events – keep an eye on the website and Facebook pages

  • Talk to people and make friends

  • Ask questions!

  • Try new things – new food, new activities!

  • Get to know your surroundings

  • Buy some essentials – an A-Z guide and an umbrella!

  • Explore the UK – leave London!!!

  • Check out the International Students House Travel Club – lots of subsidised trips in the UK and Europe!

  • Go on a HOST visit – you only pay travel costs!

  • Celebrate local festivals and national holidays

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – most people are very friendly 

Make yourself at home

  • Buy a phone card, Skype or mobile phone with lots of free minutes to international phone numbers and make sure you have easy email access so you can keep in touch with your family and friends back home

  • Check out the Students’ Union to see if there’s a group for students from your country

  • Check out the country pages at

  • If you were involved with a specific activity or sport at home, see if you can join a club or group over here!

  • Find somewhere that sells authentic food from your home country

  • See if you can get international radio or TV channels, through a satellite package or on the Web

  • Keep an eye out for festivals and activities – what’s going on in Trafalgar Square?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!


  • The Student Advice and International Student Support Team – visit

    Can help with immigration problems and provide advice on a range of practical issues

  • The College Counselling Service –

  • The College Chaplaincy –

    Practiced listeners available for pastoral support, whatever your beliefs. Also run regular activities including International Student lunches and trips.

  • The Students’ Union –– social activities, social facilities and academic advice

  • The Compass – letters, information and support

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