Cultural Differences

Now that I have spent quite some time in London, it is time for me to comment on the cultural differences between Londoners and New Yorkers. First noticeable difference is that Londoners considered themselves Londoners all the time. What do I mean by that? For example, when asked to identify themselves, Londoners answer “Londoners” most of the time despite their race (Asian, white, black…etc). On the other hand, when asked to identify themselves, New Yorkers throw out all sorts of answer: Californian, New Yorker, Chinese, Asian, African American…etc. This difference shows that Londoners (maybe all British?) have very strong ties to their community and think of themselves as part of the community while New Yorkers are relatively severed from their community and think of themselves as passers-by to the city.

For those of you who are not yet convinced, just compare how clean London’s street is compared to New York’s. Both are cities of high traffic, yet London’s street is much cleaner than New York’s street. Are New Yorkers just a group of people with bad hygiene practices? The better answer, I think, is that New Yorkers simply do not care.

Another cultural difference that I notice is that Londoners live in a much slower pace than New Yorkers do. In London, everyone is chilled and relaxed. You see a lot of people sit outside of restaurants, enjoying the meal as well as the weather, during meal times. You don’t see that in New York. In New York, you see two things: huge queues and people eating on streets. They rarely have time to sit down and enjoy their meals. They are always in a hurry.

Getting Around

This semester is a busy semester for me. I am currently taking 5 classes, and, on top of that, I spent 20 hours interning¬† each week. As a result, I practically have no free time at all during the weekdays. My weekends are overloaded with schoolwork while my roommates’ weekends revolves around Paris, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. As I am writing this blog, one of my roommate is enjoying his second trip to Paris with his girlfriend!

Although I didn’t have time to make fancy trips, I did manage to fit a number of local trips into my weekends. For the past four weeks, I visited quite a few places: Greenwich, British Tate Modern Gallery, Westfield London Shopping Center, and Piccadily Circus.

On my trip to Greenwich, I cruised along Thames River on Millennium Diamond, which is a very nice cruise boat for tourists. That afternoon, I visited National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Old Royal Naval College, Royal Observatory Greenwich, St. Alfege Church, and the well-known Prime Meridian Line. It was a very relax trip for foreigners to enjoy British’s rich history.

Piccadily Circus and Westfield London Shopping Center, on the other hand, are very different places from Greenwich. These sites are crowded and boisterous. They offer everything that our generation loves and worships. I am just going to list some stores out straight and I think this will be enough to excite many of you:¬† Zara, Burberry, Gucci, Aldo, LV, French Connection, Prada, Armani, and Ferrari. There are also coffee houses, bars, restaurants, and theaters. If these places won’t energize your spirit, I don’t know what will.