What Stands Out About the UK?

Connor Scott, Plus3 UK Summer 2022

When I traveled to Birmingham in the United Kingdom, I expected the university and the culture of the city to be different from here in Pittsburgh. However, once my group arrived, two things were different to me right away. The first one was that even though the university was in a city, it was a more vibrant and colorful university compared to the color and vibrancy here in Oakland. The second one was how the interactivity between the younger and older generations in everyday life felt like it was more real compared to back home. 
Let me start with the university. The university itself is called Birmingham City University South since there are other campuses in the city. When our group arrived the first day, I was taken aback with how much greenery and light there was. While the Oakland campus certainly has lots of greenery for an urban university, BCU had 10x more. There were tall trees and flower bushes around every corner I came across while walking around the campus. There were also some vines growing over some of the brick walls that lined the university edge with the street that I just adored. Inside BCU, there were lots of large windows that brought in lots of natural light to many of the classrooms. I felt more productive because of the natural lighting being able to reach me in the classroom. Many of the walls were also painted or had decorations on them. To me, that helped brighten up BCU even more when combined with the natural lighting. 
There is also the interactivity between the younger and older generations that I felt was different as well. Whenever a group of us went out to get our own meals on certain days, there were places that we went to that I initially thought were more “hip” and for “my generation.” I discovered right away that was not true at all. My initial shock came when a group of us went out to dinner at a place that felt like it was meant for younger people. When we went in, there were people our age who we expected to be there. However, there were people who were in their 60s or 70s, mingling away with the people my age like it was an everyday thing. I know that I see that here back home, but it felt more real and like it was no big deal when I was over in Birmingham. The FA Cup Finals were being played while my group was in Birmingham and when I went to a place to watch the game, the older folks were mingling away with the younger folks like it was no big deal again. 
Truly, these two things alone are just two things that stand out in a plethora of items I could have said. But to me, these two stand above the rest.