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Four things that will surprise you if you’re coming to Queen's from Asia

The driving etiquette is a LOT different from home - and don't even get me started on the accent.

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1.The bathroom etiquette 

From where I come from, toilets don’t usually have toilet paper provided. Sometimes it is just so frustrating to be in the toilet when you realise that there is no toilet paper. However, in the UK, toilet paper is provided even in public places, which is great!

2.The accent 

Northern Irish people speak English in a very different way from English people. Not only in terms of slang, but also the intonation. Although English might be your first language, you may find it a 'wee' bit difficult to get used to the Irish accent and slang. As an international student, I’ll admit, I found it exhausting to understand and process what the local people were are saying during my first month here. However, when you get used to the Northern Irish accent, you will find it so interesting to learn how to speak like the locals. I particularly love hearing people say ‘how’ ‘now’ ‘brown’ ‘cow’. Now I just love the way the Northern Ireland accent sounds!

Click here for more help decoding the locals

3.The social rules and behaviour 

If you are from the UK, you may find it easy to adapt to Northern Irish culture. However, if you are from elsewhere like me, you may find it a little harder to get used to - in a good way! Drivers here are super nice. When you cross the road, the cars will generally let you go first. It feels strange when you are from a country where drivers tend not to let pedestrians cross first.

4.The independence and autonomy 

In Asian countries, students are not given as much freedom as you get having a UK education. Asian rules tend to be relatively rigid, whereas in the UK, especially at Queen's, I feel like everything is so flexible for students which allows you to make your own choices.

I am used to receiving instructions from teachers and school on exactly what to do. It’s not that the staff at Queen’s won’t help you. If you need help with something, such as filling out an application, you’ll get all the help you ever need at the Student Centre. However, you’ll also love the new-found freedom and flexibility that life at Queen’s offers.



Shing Him Mak

LLB Law| 1st year |Hong Kong

I am from Hong Kong and currently working as an International Ambassador, Queen’s LawPod Marketing Officer and Campus Tour Guide. I particularly like the Ambassador role as I like networking with new people. I like playing piano and exploring around the city when I am free from my study. I’ve been studying in Northern Ireland for about a year now. I love the friendly people, the beautiful natural scenery and the accent in Northern Ireland. I am sure these are the things that I would have never seen if I studied elsewhere. As a law student, I find it interesting to see the differences between the law here and the law in my native Hong Kong. 

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Photo: Shing Him Mak
Shing Him Mak
Student blogger, LLB Law