First Week Shenanigans: Spirit
The Drinking Culture
I ran into a student from the University of Manchester who told me that she had studied abroad at Cornell. I asked her how she liked it and she paused:
“Eh, it was…alright”
Before any Cornellians get offended, keep this in mind: She came to Ithaca, New York (not New York City!!) from a big city like Manchester, as a 20 year old (before the US legal limit) and there are only two bars Ithaca…
Okay, yeah, so it’s not the liveliest party scene, but there are still ways to have an amazing time there, I know from experience! Never in my LIFE have I ever seen so many bars. Probably the biggest culture shock was seeing a bar right in my residence hall, called the Grove, a small pub that serves beer, wine, and cocktails for less 3.50 pounds or less! The drinking culture is certainly alive and well here, making America’s bar scene seem almost dormant. I took a tour with the Business Program around Manchester and we stopped by a local pub at 2:00 p.m. to have a drink. This seemed abnormal to me. Drinking alcohol before 6:00 p.m. in the evening seemed to be the habits of a budding alcoholic, but here its perfectly normal to have an afternoon beer. Let’s just hope that my American liver will adjust soon!
Drinks on me?
There is a bar in residence at my hall called The Grove which serves a variety of good drinks for cheap prices. For any finger-wagging adults out there, yes I am of legal U.S. and U.K. age, so no illegal activity going on here! I went with a couple Dutch friends in my program, one of them kindly asked each one of us what we wanted to drink, when I pulled out my wallet to pay back, he looked puzzled. His friend told me that you don’t pay back for drinks, it is normal for friends to spot each other. Note to self: When they pay for your drinks, you are officially a “part of the crew.”
At the end of our Business induction week we had an end of the week social in the Alliance Manchester Business School, with catered food and, wait, get ready for this…beer. Actually wine, beers, and ciders. Me and another American girl were in awe of how much readily available spirits there were, this would never be allowed in U.S., even at events with 21 year olds, they usually put a cap on how many drinks you can have. I could have sworn I saw a couple students shove bottles into their bags when the caterers weren’t looking. I guess it makes sense to have a new student event provide alcohol, some are meeting each other for the first time, its awkward. For some, a little bit can be the antidote to mild social anxiety, it loosens everyone up to mingle and schmooze.