Tag Archives: foreign

A Poppy to Remember

12 Nov

You have probably seen people in Britain wearing paper poppies over the last few weeks and may have wondered why.

The poppies are a symbol of Remembrance Day which commemorates everyone who was killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts. It is held around this time each year because on ‘the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ (11 a.m. on 11th November) in 1918, the Armistice was signed that signalled the end of World War I.

To remember the dead, memorial services are held and there is a two minute silence, both on 11th November and the second Sunday of November (this Sunday coming) each year.   

But why wear a poppy? Well, it all comes from a poem written by a Canadian doctor serving in the army in WWI, named John McCrae. He wrote In Flanders Fields, which describes how poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields during the War and how, because of their bright red colour, they came to symbolise the bloodshed of the battles.    

 From 1919 onwards then, poppies began to symbolise the loss of soldiers during war and slowly, more and more people started to wear one to show their support. In the UK these days, paper poppies are sold by volunteers of the Royal British Legion (a charity dedicated to helping war veterans), for people to pin on their clothes. They have no particular price but are exchanged in return for any donation you like.

So now you know the reason for the poppies, why not donate some money towards a very worthy cause, wear a poppy on your chest and join the two minutes silence this Sunday.

New to the UK and want to learn about other British traditions? Have a look at our Guide to British Culture.  

Images: ahisgett and comedy_nose on Flickr


Are the Brits Finally Tired of Queuing?

5 Nov

The British are known across the world for our supposed love of queuing. At post offices, banks, supermarkets, airports, theme parks…the list is endless. However, a new survey shows we may finally be losing our patience.

A Payments Council survey has found that it takes 10 minutes and 42 seconds before British adults start to get fed up, though this figure varies depending on age and location. Surprisingly, Londoners are the most patient and are prepared to wait for over 12 minutes, whilst unsurprisingly, people over the age of 55 become restless the fastest.

To fight the one long queue that life can sometimes seem like, the British people have started to use ‘queue dodging tactics’ according to Sandra Quinn who helped carry out the survey. Such tactics include paying bills online, shopping at night and even taking time off work (!), though jumping the queue is of course never an option for us mild mannered Brits.

Personally, here at ForeignStudents.com, we still think that 10 minutes and 42 seconds still sounds like quite a long time, but then again, maybe that time can be used productively. Next time you’re in a queue, why not try making a new friend, coming up with an invention worthy of Dragon’s Den, or simply imagining you’re on a tropical beach. Anything to make the time go faster eh?

Is a love of queuing starting to become a misconception about the British? Read about some other common misconceptions in our light hearted guide for foreign students.

Image: Gadl on Flickr.

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