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Indian student studying in the UK? Keep in mind these etiquette & manners


If you’re ever invited to an English home for a meal/ dinner, ensure that you keep the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right.

Once you’ve got a seat in university/ school in the UK, it is quite important that you get familiar with the British way of life as well as the basic etiquette and manners. One of the most important advantage of studying abroad is the opportunity you get to learn all about a new country, its culture and to adjust to the new environment. So make sure that you don’t start off your first days at college offending people, even if it’s not deliberate!


The British have traditionally been known to have a “stiff upper lip” (i.e. they were perceived to be quite unemotional), but that’s not really the case. In fact, they’re quite friendly but maintain a great level of politeness, have a great sense of humour that is usually directed at themselves and love to talk about the weather (so rainy, so cold, so hot, so dry!)

The Handshake

A handshake is the most common form of greeting among the English and British people and is customary when you are introduced to somebody new.

The Kiss

It is only when you meet friends, whom you haven’t seen for a long time, that you would kiss the cheek of the opposite sex. In Britain one kiss is generally enough.

Formal greetings

The usual formal greeting is a ‘How do you do?’ and a firm handshake, but with a lighter touch between men and women.

Informal greetings

  1. Hi – Hi or hello
  2. Morning / Afternoon / Evening (Drop the word ‘Good’ in informal situations).
  3. How’s you? – Fine thanks. You?

Thank you / thanks / cheers

We sometime say ‘cheers’ instead of thank you. You may hear ‘cheers’ said instead of ‘good bye’, what we are really saying is ‘thanks and bye’.

Visiting people in their houses

When being entertained at someone’s home it is nice to take a gift for the host and hostess. A bottle of wine, bunch of flowers or chocolates are all acceptable.
Sending a thank you note is also considered appropriate.


British people eat in continental style, with fork in the left hand and the knife in the right..

Dos and Don’ts


  • Do stand in line
  • Do take your hat off when you go indoors (men only)
  • Do Pay as you Go:
  • Do say “Please” and “Thank you”:
  • Do cover your Mouth (When yawning or coughing always cover your mouth with your hand)
  • Do Shake Hands:
  • Do say sorry whenever necessary
  • Do Smile (A smiling face is a welcoming face)
  • Do Drive on the left side of the road.
  • Do open doors for other people.
  • If someone is blocking your way and you would like them to move, say excuse me and they will move out of your way.


  • Do not greet people with a kiss other than close friends and relatives.
  • Avoid talking loudly in public
  • Privacy is highly regarded
  • Do not ask a lady her age
  • Do not pick your nose in public:
  • Avoid doing gestures such as backslapping and hugging
  • Do not spit on the street is considered to be very bad mannered.
  • Do not burp in public
  • Do not pass wind in public.
  • It is impolite speak with your mouth full of food
  • Do not ask personal or intimate questions
  • Never eat off a knife when having a meal

In all countries in Britain

Women in Britain are entitled to equal respect and status as men (and indeed vice versa) in all areas of life and tend to have more independence and responsibility than in some other cultures. Women are usually independent and accustomed to entering public places unaccompanied. It is usual for women to go out and about on their own as well as with friends. Men and women mix freely.

  • It is ok for women to eat alone in a restaurant
  • It is ok for women to wander around on their own
  • It is ok for women to drink beer

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