Kingston through the eyes of an international fresher

Kingston is one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse universities, hosting students from over 150 countries, some of whom pay over £11,000 in fees every year to study here.

Ingvild Olaussen

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Elizabeth Strømme, a 19-year-old journalism and history student from Norway, decided to study in the UK despite the fact that she could have chosen a free education in her home country.

“Here it is okay to be good. It is okay to excel at something, but in Norway you all have to be the same. You are not supposed to stick out of the crowd,” Miss Strømme said.

Even though the UK and Norway are fairly close geographically, she cannot deny that there are some cultural differences between the countries, both good and bad.

Miss Strømme is impressed with what the clubs have to offer: “The nightlife in Kingston on a Wednesday is like our final graduation party in Norway. When I first got here I just thought ‘wow!’

“You wouldn’t think there was a place to go and get drunk on a weekday, but here it is.”

However, the difference between what girls wear when they go clubbing, which she realised when she saw the girls queuing outside Oceana, shocked her.

English girls

“I think they forgot to dress. Have they never heard of pants or leggings? That is the nicest way to put it. It is just as cold here as in Norway, but I guess it is a cultural difference. If you do that in Norway you are called a slut, but all the girls do it here.  If I went out like that my mum would have me locked in my room for the rest of my life.”

Miss Strømme is excited to absorb the new culture the UK has to offer, but she will never cave to that particular style.

“I feel really naked wearing a strapless dress, so I could never dress that way. I really don’t understand it. Why not find a guy that likes you for your mind instead of someone who takes you home just to get laid?”

However, she is very pleased with the openness and hospitality the people of Kingston have shown her.

“It is much more friendly here. I mean, you can just stop anyone and start talking to them and they will be happy to help you. In Norway you don’t stop and talk to people, we keep to ourselves. It is just a really different culture I guess,” Miss Strømme said.

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