International students often face a drastic cultural and social transition as they live in another country while pursuing their education. It is easy to miss out on the rules and feel out of place. The best piece of advice is to know the basics of social etiquette of the country where you plan to spend the next few years of your life. Following them will enable you to blend with the locals and settle into the new lifestyle.

If you plan to study in the UK as an international student, you can expect the guidelines to be complicated. From language to dining out, dressing, and addressing people, you have to be conscious about the way of life. You need to focus on politeness and good manners, and it will be a lot easier to embrace the British culture. Here is a social etiquette guide that will make your life a tad easier as you study abroad in the UK.


The British often address people by their first name, but avoid it when addressing an authority figure. You need to be conscious while conversing with teachers and people of an older generation. In professional situations, you must address a person, such as a doctor, by their designation and surname. You can expect people in the UK to over-apologise. From using your seat on the train to spilling your coffee, the person at blame will apologise for every small reason. You must learn to apologise when you need to and accept apologies gracefully. The British mind their p’s and q’s, so be sure to use please and thank you at the right time.


In the UK, you will see an orderly queue wherever there is a group of people. Random gatherings and crowds are seldom visible as people here like things to be in order. According to British etiquette, you must stand at the back of the queue and wait your turn patiently. Breaking the queue and pushing in is considered rude. Although the locals do not prefer to argue, they tale offence in such situations. It is important to follow the rule in public places to avoid any issues.


Social hugging and kissing are not common in the UK. Things are more formal in the country, so do not expect a warm hug from a stranger here. A handshake is an ideal greeting in professional situations. Holding hands as friends is not common. Male friends usually steer clear of physical contact, and female friends link arms. Holding hands is typically reserved for partners. If you are dating someone or in a serious relationship, you can hold hands. It is best to keep things under wraps and avoid undue attention in public.


Table manners make one of the most crucial elements of British culture. You may even find them complicated as there is a lot to learn for international students. If dining with a group, do not start eating immediately but wait until others have been served their food. Offer food to neighbours first and avoid filling your plate too much. Eat as silently as possible, and do not slurp your drinks. Burping at the dining table is the rudest thing to do.


Discussing money such as the price of something you own or your earning from an odd job, is considered taboo in the UK. Avoid talking about money and personal wealth when you have a conversation with someone new. Skip the financial questions unless the other person brings up the matter. Never brag about spending or earning money because it is considered rude.


Practice good manners in the classroom, respecting your teachers, and being gentle with peers at all times. Go the extra mile with chivalry because the British culture prioritises being nice to women. Pick your share of tasks and chores in the boarding house, and keep the place clean at all times.

British etiquette is all about politeness and following rules. Make sure you stick with them, and you will find it easy to align with the English lifestyle.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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