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Experiences

My Favorite Things About England in a semester Abroad

This fall I am studying abroad at the University of Winchester in England. I’ve been able to experience so much history and embrace a new culture. This journey has taught me so many things, and I’m already thinking of the things I will miss when I return home in the winter. 

Here are some of my favorite things about England!

  1. Being an English literature major in England is the best! 

I love England because there is so much history at my fingertips to explore about my favorite authors that I will be teaching about in my own high school English literature classroom one day. Winchester is significant because it has the Winchester Cathedral where Jane Austen is buried. Jane Austen lived out her last days in Winchester, and you can walk by her house on the way to the Winchester Cathedral. I am in awe any time I see her memorial in the Cathedral. There’s also a small bookshop that sells all her books with the prettiest book covers I have ever seen (there goes my bank account!) right next to the house she lived in. I just feel Jane Austen’s presence here. I have also been able to visit Shakespeare’s Globe and Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey that contains the burials of authors and poets, such as Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s every English major’s dream to be here with the bookstores and history! 

  1. Afternoon Tea and Cafes 

I may have gained a slight obsession with afternoon tea and cafes around England. In Winchester where I study, there are probably around 50 cafes in Winchester (a very small city), and my goal is to try and go to a different one each week. I just love going to afternoon tea and getting scones, finger sandwiches, and dessert, while reading or doing homework. The atmosphere of each cafe is relaxing, and all the people are so friendly. The pastries and hot chocolate are also to die for. An afternoon tea moment is a vital part of the British experience that I will deeply miss when I return home. 

  1. Old Medieval Architecture 

In England, there are so many old medieval buildings wherever you are, from Winchester to London. There are cathedrals, castles, towers, palaces, and so much more. Anytime I pass an old medieval structure or a cobblestone street, I take a photo. It just feels like no time at all ever passes in England. Even with modernity, there are buildings and ruins that continue to withstand time. 

  1. Fish and Chips 

I’m from Massachusetts, so my standards for fish and chips (especially from Cape Cod) are very high. I truly did not think that British fish and chips would even come close. However, I was very wrong. The fish and chips here are a staple food that you can get at any restaurant or pub. I have learned that fish and chips usually comes with mushy peas or a vegetable, and that it is a full meal with multiple side dishes. The Brits always hit big for their meals from a full English breakfast to dinner time fish and chips. I have gotten fish and chips in London and in southern England right by the water. You cannot go wrong with fish and chips from anywhere across England. I think I may miss the fish and chips here, and I worry if the Cape Cod meal may never be the same for me. 

  1. London! 

Studying abroad in England means many trips to London, which has so much history and culture. There are museums, galleries, book shops, West End shows, and markets. My favorite thing to do is wander the city because you see so much more of it when you are just walking around. Covent Garden may be one of my favorite places in London because of the shops and its location to the West End. West End in London is similar to our Broadway in the United States. I have already seen four West End shows, and I hope to see a couple more before my time here comes to a close. I’ve had the most fun at these shows. It feels like a party each time no matter what type of show it is. London will always have a special place in my heart because of all that it holds. London has so much to offer, and I probably won’t be able to do it all with the time I have left, but that means I’ll just have to make another trip to the U.K. in the future! 

  1. Anything Harry Potter

I’ve never felt more at home because of everyone’s love for Harry Potter here. Harry Potter merchandise can be found all across England in so many shops. There are exhibitions, museums, shows, and the WB London Tour of all the sets and props from all seven movies. The books are on display everywhere too. It feels like I’m at Hogwarts here. 

  1. Christmas Markets (and any market in general)

Winchester has a market every weekend with several stands for pastries, rings, scarves, soaps, food, and so much more! I am always at the jewelry stand looking to add to my already growing collection of rings. Winchester will also have a Christmas Market coming up that will have even more stands than the weekend market in front of the Winchester Cathedral. There will be so many stands that will have handmade Christmas ornaments to whiskey. I’m beyond excited to see the markets and Christmas decorations. I am already predicting this will be something I miss when home!

  1. Cadbury Chocolate 

In the States, we are used to eating Cadbury eggs around Easter time. However, here, Cadbury chocolate is like our Hershey’s chocolate. You can get it anywhere at any time. I think it may be better than Hershey’s, and I’m a die-hard Hershey’s fan. There’s also Cadbury ice cream, which is so good. I will surely miss the access to Cadbury dairy milk bars at every supermarket.

  1. Queuing 

In England, the Brits love to queue. Queuing is standing in line anywhere, whether it is to get into a pub or a West End show. This structure and order truly makes sense and no one can ever cut a queue. If you cut the queue, well, it won’t look good for you. 

  1.  The British accents! 

As the queen, Taylor Swift, explains in her iconic song, “London Boy,” she loves the accents, and I have to agree. There’s just something about British accents that are soothing, and it makes them sound so much more intelligent and posh. It just adds to the whole aesthetic of living here. Sadly, I have not gained an accent yet, but I may mimic it from time to time. 

Marisa Silk

Stonehill '24

Marisa Silk is a junior at Stonehill College studying English and Secondary Education. Marisa is the Stonehill Her Campus Chapter's Senior Editor. Marisa is from Norwood, MA. Her interests include reading, writing, watching tv, and listening to Taylor Swift. After college, Marisa wants to be a high school English teacher, while also writing professionally too. Marisa hopes to share her love of reading, writing, television, and experiences with the rest of Her Campus readers.