United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  The UK has lively cities, peaceful country sides and mountains in the highlands.  Included in the program price, students can specify if they would like to be placed in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland.  For an additional fee (excluding 3 month program), students can choose a placement in Wales, or specify the region within England in which they would like to be placed.  There is no language requirement to go on exchange to the UK.

School

32The school year in the UK is divided into 3 terms. Autumn term is from early September until around 20 December. There is then a 2 week Christmas school holiday. Spring Term begins in early January and ends in early April. There is a further 2 week school holiday summer term  begins in late April and ends in late July when there is a 6 week summer school holiday.  Generally the school day starts at 9.00 am and ends at 4.00 pm but there can be additional activities or clubs in some school which run until after 4.00 pm.  There are various types of schools in the UK and they include: grammar schools, technical colleges, comprehensive schools (Years7-10) and 6th form colleges (Years 11-12).  In Year 12 students study for their A-Level exams where they can focus on as few as 3 subjects. The last weeks of the school are reserved for final examinations of grades 10, 11 or 12. During this time this time regular classes are no longer held.

Family

33The nature of the family in the UK has been changing for some time. Typically, in the past a family in the UK consisted of 2 parents with up to 3 children.  In particular there has been a rise in the number of single parent families.  Host families in Britain therefore are very diverse. Recent research has found that two-thirds of mothers of young children go out to work in the UK, often part-time.  Host families are therefore very busy with limited time and will expect you to help out at home with routine chores to keep the household running.  The UK has always welcomed immigrants and in the past 50 years numbers have dramatically increased. The biggest changes have been in cities but many small towns and villages retain aspects of traditional British culture. British culture means that the British, whatever the origins, all have a strong sense of humour with a fondness for jokes and witty comments. Many people make fun of the British fondness for a meal of “fish’n’ chips”. Other popular traditional examples of English food include the Sunday roast, featuring a roasted joint usually beef, lamb or chicken, served with assorted boiled vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy  and the full English breakfast—consisting of bacon, grilled tomatoes, fried bread, black pudding, baked beans, fried mushrooms, sausages and eggs.   The British are the world leaders in tea drinking and the “afternoon tea” or “High Tea” as it is sometimes called is also very popular with Britain. Small sandwiches, scones and other cakes are served with the cups of tea.

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