Reflections at lunch time

At the beginning of the month, I was comparing the main differences between Brazil and England, with a friend of mine. Later that same day, I realised how intriguing it is to analyse the cultural differences between here and any other country. For example, I’ve been here in the UK for approximately two years and it was the first country abroad that I’d ever been to, so I always had a limited mind-set due to my lack of experience. Everything I knew about the UK was from people’s view or facts.

As soon as I arrived here I had the opportunity to develop my critical thinking. I became deeply interested in politics, history and philosophy, which allowed me to have a bigger picture of why the world is how it is. Consequently, I became more critical of every aspect of life, since one subject connects to the other. Although I do not know everything, I am more willing to learn and to discuss.

Recognition and critique were also the actions that created the well-developed country that the UK is today.  People in modern society often forget to be glad for the positive aspects of living where they do. For example, England is considered one of the safest places to live and it has great public transport availability, however the people still sometimes complain about the facilities.

I believe one of the most powerful weapons a person can possess is critical thinking. People, especially the youth, like me, need to be able to analyse and judge the information they are been exposed to, so better life decisions can be made.

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Small city vs Big city

Hello everyone! This is my first blog post and I’m very excited about that. I would like to talk about the noticeable differences between living in a small city and in a big city.

I’ve been in Cheltenham (in the county of Gloucestershire) for 2 months now, so I could say that I’m already familiar with this lovely city. One of my favourite things about Cheltenham is that it is a small city but at the same time it has a lot of different supermarkets, shops, and events. The State that I come from in Brazil is the size of the entire UK, so it has been very different for me to live in a small city as I’m used to living surrounded by high buildings, a city that doesn’t sleep and the worst part: the traffic.

When I arrived in Cheltenham I was enchanted by the nature here. You can see trees and flowers surrounding the entire city, different from the big city that I used to live in, which is grey and there are more cars than trees. I’m pretty sure that my lungs are feeling very happy to finally have a break from the polluted air from the big city. So in this case it is definitely a point for the small city.

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When it comes to going out at night, going to restaurants and doing different activities, Cheltenham is not behind the big cities. Here you can find clubs, pubs, restaurants from all over the world, and there are a lot of festivals throughout the year. An example of the main difference between Cheltenham and a big city is that everyone here knows the exactly places to go at night, because there aren’t as much options as in a big city so you are most likely to meet all your friends in the club. In Cheltenham it is pretty easy to get where you want just by walking as almost everything here is close, but in the big city you’ll probably have to take a bus, metro or go by car. So in this case I think the small city and the big city are winning, and the reason for this is that in the big city you have more options for activities but in the small city it is easier to go to the places that you want to.

I had the opportunity to visit Gloucester, which is a city that is 30 minutes away from Cheltenham if you go by bus. It was different for me because I’m used to take 30 minutes to go to a different neighbourhood in the big city, and to go to the nearest city it would take about 2 hours. But this is definitely a positive thing about Cheltenham as it doesn’t take much time to go to different cities so you can always visit different places when you want to.

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(Gloucester Cathedral, where they filmed some of Harry Potter)

If you ask to any citizen of a big city at what time they usually go to the supermarket, they’re probably going to say that they go at night after they come back from work. But this is not the case here in Cheltenham where all the supermarkets and shops close early, around 6pm everything is closed already. I was aware of that before coming to Cheltenham because normally everything here in the UK closes early, so be careful about the time if you need to go for example, to the post office or shopping.

To sum up, I’ve enjoyed living in a small city and to be honest I don’t have a preference. Cheltenham has been a really cool place to study and live, and it has definitely exceeded my expectations!