Category Archives: From flatmates to friends!

University Cultural Differences

Upon joining University I had only known one way of communicating, one method of doing things, one type of person and one way of life; the Liverpool way.

For 18 years of my life I was surrounded by people who share the same values, morals, style, beliefs, religion and even the same cup of tea preference.

Then all of a sudden I am hurled into a strange environment with peculiar surroundings living among people with different accents, food traditions, dress senses, music tastes, political beliefs and most importantly, opposing opinions.

During my first year of University I was living in student accommodation sharing a kitchen with 3 Chinese people. This introduced me to a whole new world of ingredients and flavours.
I currently live with an Irish man who has educated me with a total array of music. I have French, Romanian, Lebanese friends from all walks of life.
The only time I’d ever saw a Spanish person was on the television, but now I’m playing chess with one daily in my own living room. If you’d have told me that when I was an 18-year-old who’d never left his hometown I’d have laughed at you. Heck, I’m even writing this blog accompanied by my Ghanaian friend.

Diving into University life with such a variety and mixture of different people with different cultures and opinions may sound strenuous and overwhelming, but trust me it is the most enlightening and eye-opening transition you will experience. Viewing life from a different perspective is always a positive and nevertheless, spending your entire life living within your own cultural bubble is the biggest display of ignorance of them all.

How to live with a stranger?

Being surrouded by people you hardly know is a scary idea, now imagine living with a stranger for a couple months!

First month is supposed to be the key time for getting to know the flat (mate) environment by discussing common study issues, sharing first impresions, compering family origins and mutual favours. Both flatmates observe nonverbal as well as verbal comunication aiming to build up a relationship. This process does not always go smoothly and unpredictable situations may appear sooner than expected.

First month tip! Avoid controversial disscusions, family struggles and gossiping but most importantly remeber that being friendly and taking care about shared places never killed anybody.

To prevent tense situations in a household try these tips:

  1. SPEAK UP! Chitchat while enjoying favorite cup of tea or coffee. Meet each other regularly to discuss news and feelings by a favorite type of drink. Laid back atmosphere offers unique option to talk about wants and needs of both sides (from cleaned kitchen to privacy).

  2. GO OUT! Explore the city and move. Does your flatmate love any sport? Show your interest and ask if you can join. Maybe go for a walk or shopping together. No one has ever been hurt by some fresh air.
  3. ACT! Create a habit. Prepare a meal together as you might have used to do it with your mum or granny. Share your experiences and knowledge or simly watch your favorite movie or a new Netflix series together.

Do not hesitate with writing feedback. The discusion is more than welcomed!