University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

A Quick Guide to International Living in Brighton

Robyn Cowie

ByRobyn Cowie

Oct 9, 2021

Words by Tillie Lam, Staff Writer

Now that you get your UK telephone number, GP and a UK bank account, you may wonder, “How and where do I get my food for my self-catered accommodation?” If this is your first time living in the UK, and a quarantine has stopped you from learning about the basics of Brighton, we got you covered.

Transport

If you are in a hurry, a train will be the best option for you. With an addition of a 7-minute walk from the Library Square to Falmer Station, in 10 minutes you will find yourself travelling from trees and bushes into the heart of Brighton. Do get yourself a round-trip ticket in Falmer station if you consider buying groceries near the city centre. Not only does it save time but also a bit of your money. If you consider yourself a regular passenger of the train, you may want to get yourself a 16-25 Railcard via the National Rail website. This is going to save you quids if you travel around by train.

However, the train does not cover many areas of the city, so buses may be your lifesaver when it comes to getting around Brighton. A single journey on the bus may be pricey for some, so do get the Brighton & Hove Bus mobile app prior to taking the bus. You can buy a bus saver ticket on the app, then travel around Brighton and Hove by bus for as many times as you want in your designated duration. Route 23, 25, 25X, 28, 29 can get you from Falmer Station bus stop to Brighton city centre within 30 minutes, with 25 to Old Stein the most commuted bus route of Sussex students.

Riding a bicycle may be good for both your body and environment, but not so much for the bicycle itself when you have a bulky bag full of groceries with you. Leave cycling with your friends next time when you want some companions to explore the city at your own pace.

Necessities

Grocery runs are a must-do when you live in a self-catered accommodation, but some may find it hard to make their choice clear as the UK has many brands of supermarket to offer. 

Depending on your budget, ASDA, Co-operative Food, Morrison, Tesco and Sainsbury’s should work for most students, whereas Iceland is worth visiting too if you are looking for frozen food or discounted family pack ice cream. If quality of food is a major concern for you, Waitrose and M&S would be feasible choices even if their products are priced slightly higher than their counterparts. Unfortunately if you are tight on budget, no-frills supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl will be your best friends. Quality of products may vary, but they do have attractive deals. Most of these supermarkets have membership or loyalty cards to apply for, you can use them to get discounts or special offers while saving some money for your budget.

Do you miss your home cooked dishes, but have no idea where to find the exact ingredients? Try hunting them down in supermarkets with a target ethnicity. Asian supermarkets in Brighton include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino supermarkets. Turkish, Halal and Polish supermarkets are also available in Brighton and Hove.

If you are looking for home supplies like power boards or lightbulb, Poundland and Robert Dyas should do good. As a dollar store, Poundland also has some range of sanitary products, but for a more complete collection of items you should go and check Boots and Superdrug. 

As temperatures are changing with season, you may realise you have not brought enough winter clothes with you to the UK. In this case you may want to go to TK Maxx or Primark to get some affordable winter garments, hoodies or sweatshirts. If none of them fits your taste, do check out small shops throughout the city.

Water

Not much pays attention to this delicate detail, but in fact much of the East and Southern England runs on hard water, and Brighton is no exception. Hard water is high in minerals, specifically in calcium and magnesium. Which means if you boil or drink tap water directly, you will find either unwanted residue in your kettle or a slight metallic taste in your cup of water. 

Large bottles of distilled or natural mineral water seems like a quick temporary solution, soon you will find yourself wasting money on buying water, tired of dumping plastic bottles into the recycle bin once per few days, or you start to feel guilty about hurting the Earth with excess plastic products. 

So in the long term why not invest in a water filter jug? Just pop the water filter cartridge into a specially designed jug, and you get a decent and less odoured supply of water. Be aware that you need to change the filter every month, yet depositing a plastic-made cartridge once per 28 days sounds a tad more environmentally friendly than throwing out a plastic bottle once per 72 hours. If you cannot get them in a major local supermarket, you may want to find them on the internet.

British slangs

Have you ever eavesdropped locals on the Brighton streets but had no idea what they were actually talking about? Here are a handful of beginner British slangs and phrases to help you make things easier, especially when you talk to your British counterparts.

Mate – Friend, acquaintance

Alright? – “How are you?”

Give somebody a bell – Call somebody on the phone

Pint – Informal saying of alcohol or alcoholic drink

Chips – French fries

Crisps – Potato chips

Rubbish – Equivalent to garbage and trash in American English

That’s rubbish – “I don’t believe you!”

Quid – A British pound 

Fiver – A five pound note

Tenner – A ten pound note

Bloody – Very

Tad – A little bit

Dodgy – Suspicious, shady, sketchy

Bonkers – Someone who acts silly or crazily

Gutted – Sad, disappointed

Pissed – Drunk

Fancy a cuppa? – “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Not my cup of tea – Not of someone’s interest, or something that did not bring pleasure to one

Piece of cake – Easy, not a big deal

As you get the hang of the Brighton basics, you are encouraged to further explore the city, whether on your own, with friends or family. There might be a coffee shop or art gallery waiting for you to discover them! Whilst at Sussex, may you enjoy and make the most out of the harbour city of Brighton.

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