There are definitely worse things that reliving the first week of your freshman year of college at age 20 after you have already spent two years in college back home. But this one is pretty high up there.
The visiting students were supposed to spend this wee k doing all of the Fresher activities such as informational meetings on fire safety and welfare, academic integrity, study skills or lack there of, and how to navigate the social life of college away from your friends at home (easy solution, make new friends). Then there was the Freshers’ Fair (a giant activity fair), a BBQ, champagne tea, movie nights, and nightly “fancy dress bops” intended to expose us all to the various nightclubs around Oxford. (Fancy dress bops are basically costume dances. The Brits are really not as creative with their costumes as Americans are.) However, most of the visiting students really didn’t want to spend our precious time around a bunch of Freshers, so a lot of the time we bailed on the meetings in order to set up bank accounts, decorate our rooms, and of course shop. We try not to be lumped in with Freshers so much; it feels too weird and we feel beyond it having already spent two years at university.
That being said, it has been a really fun week. The two bops that I went to were a blast, and I love how the guys here may hit on you but they don’t harass you. You can politely turn one down and they simply walk away with no awkwardness and no hard feelings. Everyone also dances a lot more…how to say it…PG-13 than most Americans. It explains why many of us will get a weird look at least once in a night. I prefer it though. The parties seem more civilized and less raunchy and more fun. They are even more fun when the guys are all wearing ties for the “Back to School Bop” and you spent most of the night stealing ties from random boys (returning them later of course).
NEW BRITISH TERMS
bop: school dance basically
fancy dress: costumes
quid: equivalent to US term for a dollar, buck
toilet: restroom. I know we say that too, but toilet sounds too vulgar so I will stick with the looks and continue to say restroom or ladies room
diary: day planner
time table: schedule
pants: underwear (so don’t tell a British person that you didn’t wear pants until 2nd grade)
mobile: cell phone