Customer service in the UK

The UK does not do customer service in the same way as say Canada and the USA where I remember buying some music for a friend and the response from the sales assistant being ‘I wish I had a friend like you’. You will find below a story that illustrates some of the British attitude. This is Kosta’s story:

I have several stories since I have arrived in the UK but there is one that has stayed in my mind since it happened a few days after I first arrived in UK (Wales to be precise) and was one of my first encounters with British culture. I had moved from Greece, to Aberystwyth in Wales to start my undergraduate degree at Aberystwyth University. I stayed a few days in a BandB and then moved in to my uni accommodation which is located in the student village. When I went in my room it was completely empty. As I had brought my laptop with me, and I could see the cable connection on the wall, I was wondering where the actual cable was. I was the first one to move into the accommodation but after 20 minutes another person arrived, so I asked him how I could get the cable for the Internet and he told me I needed to go to the accommodation reception to get the cable. So I headed to the reception, got the cable and then went back to connect my computer. I was very happy until I realised that I could not connect to the internet, even with my cable. I went back to the reception and they told me I needed the CD which would help me set up my laptop with the uni internet, which they gave me. I went back and set up my connection. After having completed, this I decided to get ready for freshers week. The problem was I had no idea what was the programme for the following week as they hadn’t informed us about it. Then I went back to the accommodation reception and they gave me the programme for freshers’ week. I asked them why they didn’t give me all of the information at once so that I don’t have to go back and forth. The guy in the reception replied “ If you don’t ask, you don’t get, mate!”

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Challenges when you come to the UK

Asking people who have immigrated here about the challenges when you move here,  people have told me that 3 stand out:

  1. How expensive accommodation is and that you might start out sharing a 3 bedroom houses with ten people.  The UK has a serious shortage of houses and so people are surprised that saying an engaged couple might not have their own place, compared to the spaciousness of accommodation in their country of origin.
  2. It can be really difficult setting up a bank account, you need an address but you need a bank account in order to rent somewhere so you need to find a bank that will give you an account without an address and then you can get an address.  One friend told me that if she returned to her home country, she would always keep her bank account in the UK open as it been so tough setting one up.  There are a couple of banks that will open an account without an address but you need to check this out.
  3. The challenge of getting your professional qualifications recognised here, you need to make sure all your certificates are together and to have kept close links with your home university or sometimes be prepared to study again in order to work in your profession.