Life in the UK with Anastasia Semeniuk

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We’ve been asking our International Outreach Ambassadors some questions to find out how they’ve adapted to life in the UK. Anastasia is currently doing a MSc in Applied Clinical Psychology but was also an undergraduate in the Department of Psychology.

What is the biggest similarity between your hometown/country and Bath/UK?

I would say that the biggest similarity is how beautiful the architecture is and having many green spaces around it. My hometown, Kyiv is full of many beautiful parks where I would always go with my family and friends, and I am glad I can do the same in Bath. Also, just like Kyiv, Bath is very hilly. Sometimes it is not my favourite feature of Bath, but it definitely keeps you fit! Also, the architecture in Bath is just breathtakingly beautiful. It is such a quaint, historic city, just like my home. It helps with enjoying university life more when you live in such an amazing place.

 What’s surprised you about moving to/living in the UK?

I think I was surprised by many things, so it is difficult to pick one. Firstly, I was surprised by how polite people were (in Ukraine strangers do not smile at you on the street) and how much support there is for students. Also, this one is a bit random, but it was definitely a bit of a cultural shock to see that the taps for hot and cold water are often separate! Lastly, I was very surprised when I found out that it is okay to wear shoes in the house as in Ukraine it is absolutely not okay!

What do you miss most about your home country? How have you overcome this, was there a positive outcome?

I really miss having seasons which are very different in terms of the weather and the temperature. The weather in the UK is a popular topic to discuss and it did take me some time to get used to it. Specifically, I really miss having heavy snow in winter and consistently warm summers. To overcome this, I have been trying to go home when I could of course, but also go to Scotland in winter for the snow and try to make the most of warm days during the summer by having lots of BBQs and picnics.

What are your top three things to do in Bath?

For me, it is going to a café to study as there are so many lovely cafes to explore in Bath and it really helps me focus. I particularly recommend Waterstone’s café in town. Also, I love charity shopping. I have found so many nice things in charity shops in Bath including clothes, books, and even Halloween and Christmas decorations. Lastly, for an activity, I really enjoy going to the cinema or playing mini golf, just depends on whether you want something relaxing or something more active.

 Are you part of any clubs/societies at Uni or in Bath?

I am not in any society at the moment, but I was on the committee of the Student Minds Society last year which I really enjoyed as I was able to make a real difference in student life and also meet many interesting and inspiring people.

What do you love most about living in Bath? 

I love that Bath is a city so there’s a lot to do but it is still cosy and quaint so not as overwhelming as bigger cities. I think I still haven’t explored all of Bath even though I have been here for more than four years, so it is difficult to get bored of the city which I really like.

What’s your favourite place to eat/favourite takeaway in Bath?

Taka Taka is probably my favourite takeaway but for a meal out, I’d recommend Bath Pizza Co or Thai balcony restaurant. Bath Pizza Co has jazz nights on some weekdays which I have enjoyed, and it also has deals for cocktails. It is also just a very nice place to go to with friends or with family when they visit, it has a very cosy atmosphere. As for Thai Balcony, I discovered it recently and I had the best Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup I have ever had there.

What’s the best or worst thing you’ve eaten since being in the UK?

I think the best thing I have eaten is definitely Sunday roast. It is such a heart-warming and comforting meal and also a lovely tradition to have which makes a regular Sunday quite special and exciting. As for the worst, it may be controversial, but it is cream eggs. I still do not know why they put so much sugar in those that they are so sickly sweet, and the texture is not my favourite.

 Is there somewhere in Bath/UK that you’d like to go but haven’t been yet?

I would love to try out axe throwing in a bar that has recently opened near the Odeon cinema and also do the Skyline walk (can’t believe I haven’t done that one). I would also like to go to Weymouth as it is not too far by train, and I have heard that it is very nice. Lastly, I would love to explore Scotland more and go to Northern Ireland as I have never been.

What’s your favourite or weirdest UK tradition you have learnt about?

My favourite tradition is probably how in love British people are with Christmas and that Christmas decorations go up as soon as Halloween ends which is so early! A weird one for me is that Easter is all about chocolate in the UK. In Ukraine, it is quite a religious and family holiday, almost like Christmas, so I still find it a little strange that in the UK the only tradition is to eat lots and lots of chocolate for Easter!

What’s your favourite British slang/word?

Probably ‘fair enough’. It is such a useful expression, but also, I think it really fits British culture. Sometimes I wish that we had it in Ukrainian as it is the perfect response in many conversations.

What’s your top tip for International Students?

Try not to feel worried about not understanding certain things about British culture, I’ve been here for nine years and still do not understand some things sometimes! Just be curious and always ask for help if you need to, everyone at Bath is very approachable and willing to help.

 

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