5 things that surprised me about Leeds

Brigette  O’Leary
International Core Curriculum LEEDS (hosted by Leeds Trinity University)
January 2018

The slang and accent: 
Studying Speech Pathology, I knew that coming over to England and traveling between the North and South would be interesting. The one thing we have all agreed on while being over here in the UK is that we all think we sound like “bogan Australians”. I tend to say “no worries” a lot, but it is very obvious here. The local Leeds greeting, which has stumped us all, is “you alright?”, as we can’t tell if the person is saying “hello!” or genuinely wants to know if there is something wrong with us!

The shopping: 
I thought that Leeds was a country town and that it might only have a few basic shops. Man, was I wrong! Trinity Leeds was the major afternoon attraction with heaps of the big English brands. I didn’t know that most of these existed until coming to England. Primark is a major brand, and in Trinity Leeds it spreads over multiple levels. The pajamas there are insane. It is like Kmart, but 1000x better.


The history:
England’s history is just incredible. We travelled for the afternoon to York, about an hour ride on the train North East of Leeds. We visited the York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. It had been first built in 627AD, and then again between 1220 and 1472 into the Gothic-style cathedral it is today. It amazed me that all the stained glass was still the original, maintained through all the wars. We also walked through the Shambles, which is an old, narrow cobble-stoned street, with large gutters. The buildings, leaned over the street, creating a dark atmosphere for the butchers that were once in the shops, and the gutters collected the blood from the butcher shops. “Diagon Alley” in Harry Potter was based on this famous street too! York really put in perspective how young Australia’s history is compared to England’s rich and old history.

That dinner was not always an easy find in Leeds: 
We all arrived at Leeds Trinity campus on a Sunday, and needing some dinner. However, all the food places on campus were closed. So we had to walk in the slushy snow for about 1km into town to the pub for some food. During the week, the dining room opens for dinner from 4:30pm-6:30pm. It seems that everyone likes to get in early since the sun goes down at 4pm!

The ease of adjustment to being overseas: 
The Core Leeds trip is my first trip away from home by myself. I had predicted that I would have trouble coping being away from home, but I am really surprised. I love this newfound independence, with the structure of having class each morning, and the freedom for the rest of the day. It has also helped that my Core group are an awesome bunch and I’ve made some great friends!