If you ever decide to experience your education abroad journey in England, you will definitely encounter interesting cultural qualities of the country. During my stay in England, I learned the important role that pub life plays in English culture and how much the British embrace it. I experienced pub life on many occasions and it is one of the significant memories of my stay abroad.
When I would think of a bar, there are certain negative thoughts that I associated with the place. Drunken behavior, recklessness, alcoholism, strange people, bar fights etc. are just some negative and stereotypical thoughts that come to mind when I think of a bar. Though this is not the overall perception of what most people think of a bar, the thoughts express that bars are not your typical family affair atmosphere. The same thing can be thought of English pubs. If you have seen the movies that are based in England or Ireland that show scenes in pubs, you usually see a lot of drinking, singing, and all out drunken fun. But if you actually go to pubs around England, you may or may not witness the stereotypical pub behavior.
When I first went to a pub that was in the city of Preston, England, I went with the Christian Student Union on campus. It’s a funny story of how I found out about the group. I was walking around the city and I saw a billboard poster that invited people to come to the Christian Union for worship. It also invited anyone interested to come along with them to the pub that they go to every time after worship. When I read this, I was surprised and found it humorous. I have never heard of people in America going to church or bible study and right after heading straight to the bar. This is what enlightened my knowledge about pub life in England. I learned in one of my English History classes that historically, pub life has always been a community affair that encourages socialization. So individuals or groups of all different social backgrounds go to pubs because it is a place that brings everyone together.
Based on my previous stereotypical perception of bars and pubs, you probably can tell I am not a drinker or a person who even thinks of going to those places. My first time setting foot in a pub was an eye-opener. I was surprised at how calm the atmosphere was, or at least on the night that I went. It was as if I were walking into a small restaurant. Thought the first pub that I went to had this atmosphere, not all pubs are the same. One pub was very popular and felt like a club. Another pub felt like a nice modern country club. One pub smelled like a toilet and I hardly could spend five seconds in it. It just showed me that it really depends on which one you go to. My experiences in pubs will always be in my thoughts. From participating in pub trivia to actually singing a Beatles song for Karaoke night in an English pub (amazing), I definitely enjoyed my time experiencing pub life.
By: Maame Bassaw
Maame is a senior History major and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador at UK. She studied abroad at University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England through the exchange program.
For more information about the program that Maame completed, follow this link to the program page.