The students in my class are intending to go abroad to study. Specifically, their course gives them the opportunity to do a year in England. As such, I wanted to give them some information about the United Kingdom and its culture that may not otherwise be familiar.

Whether your students are intending to go to the UK or not, this may well make an interesting lesson.

To start with, ask them to discuss the following questions in small groups and then report back. Obviously, don’t tell them too firmly that they’re “wrong” when they say something unusual, but it’s a good opportunity to gently correct any misperceptions that exist. For example, in China students tend to think that that all men from the UK are the perfect gentlemen… Yes, it’s a part of our culture, but it’s a generalization.

What is culture shock?
How can you cope with culture shock?
What do you know about British culture?
What do you think about British people?
What do you expect will be the biggest differences between Chinese and Western culture?
How can you cope with cultural differences?

Watch the video and make notes.
What do you find the most surprising?
How do these social rules differ from China (obviously change to your country)? 

Here, I give a PowerPoint presentation on British culture. I use this one. You might want to edit it. (EDIT 2018: I’ve updated to a newer version of this lesson and made my own PPT.) I tend to gloss over the ins and outs of the monarchy, which isn’t hugely important. Halfway through, after the “personal and intimate questions” part, I like to show this video:

UK Slang
Finally, I teach some British slang. My students are fairly mature and can handle slightly offensive language, so feel free to change any of the below if it’s unsuitable for your students. 

All right? – Hello, how are you?
Blinding – brilliant
Bloody – used to emphasize almost anything, also bleeding or blooming
Bollocks – describes something that is no good
Bugger all –used to be a more vulgar synonym for ‘nothing at all’.
Cheers – thanks
Cheerio – goodbye
Cock up – a mistake
Dodgy – untrustworthy
Fanny around – procrastinate
Grub – food
Gutted – sad
Kerfuffle – a small fight
Knackered – tired
Mate – friend
Not my cup of tea – not to my liking
Off your trolley – bonkers, crazy, mad
Smashing – terrific
Ta – thanks
Taking the piss – having a joke

In addition, it’s fun to show this final video if you still have time. As an add-on to the “slang” section it shows the range of accents in the UK, which certainly contributes to our culture.

** As always, feel free to use use the materials above. The YouTube videos were not, of course, made by me. Neither was the PPT. Please do comment below if you have any suggestions or ideas, and if you can, help share this website via social media.