What’s with the Weather?

Vera Iwankiw
October 16, 2013

This past weekend the weather changed to what you would probably consider to be more “normal” English weather, as in cold, dreary, windy, with a bit of drizzle thrown in. And I had been preparing myself for this change for quite some time now, but now that it’s here, I’ve noticed some important things. Buildings here do not have central heating. People tend to use space heaters. This is a huge concern of mine as we go further into the winter months. And people here really do talk about the weather quite a lot. It’s not just a stereotype. I was at my service learning placement the other day, and every time there was a gradual change in weather, it was noted. Every time we stepped outside, the weather was discussed.

One of my professors described discussing the weather as a very cultural thing in England. He said that in America, with such a large country and so many different types of people there, people had one thing in common: family. Everyone had a family or friends. In England, the thing that everyone has in common is experiencing the drastic changes weather. One of the many little cultural differences I’ve experienced.

Another funny one was when I was made fun of for not wanting coffee and actually wanting and preferring tea. I was told I was being very un-American and that I was trying too hard to be English. Go figure.

Anyway, this past weekend, I went on the IES sponsored trip to York. We got a walking tour of the city, which included walking around the surviving Roman walls. We then had some free time to walk around the city. I discovered that York is famous for chocolate? I had no idea. We then went into the York Minister- I spent about 2 hours exploring that church. There was so much to see and a museum to learn about its history. The hostel we stayed in was much nicer than the one in Bath, so that was a huge plus.

blue-hued stain glass windows

The next day we drove out to the coastal city of Whitby, which apparently was the inspiration for Dracula. You learn something new every day! There was a cliff you could walk up to see the surrounding view of the city and ocean and it was beautiful. It was incredibly windy and wet there, but I think it almost added to the charm.  Next we drove through more of the moors and the weather improved drastically, just in time for our visit to Castle Howard. It is the home of an old aristocratic family, and it is the epitome of opulence and extravagance. Their grounds were huge and had rare artifacts from around the world! I wish we had more time to explore, but we had to head back to London. Back to the reality that midterms are only a week away. I’m still not really sure how that happened, but I know I’m going to have to really buckle down this next week!

student in front of fountain


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Vera Iwankiw

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I was born and raised in Chicago, where I grew up learning about my Ukrainian culture and language. I currently attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and am studying Human Development with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. I play on the university&rsquo;s club water polo team and synchronized swimming team and am active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have traveled internationally to Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico for vacation and Cape Town, South Africa for a service learning trip. In the future, I hope to continue my studies in law school, with the hope of one day practicing as a family law or child advocate lawyer.</span></p>

2013 Fall
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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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