Getting to Know Our Sisters from Across the Pond

{Written by British delegate Truly Alabi-Isama in collaboration with a Journalism I student}

“Did you see that peng boy in his jumper and trainers who was eating crisps in the canteen?”

What?  What does that mean?

Journalism I students in a recent press conference with 13 Ursuline Wimbledon girls visiting in late October can translate this British slang.

While word usage differed between the two groups, so did opinions on such things as daily appearance.

“You girls dress more athletically when you have dress down days; we have mufti days or dress up days,” Truly Alabi-Isama said.

Another big difference can be found in the grading systems.

Charlotte Smith explained while once they had an “A” and “B” type system, they now receive marks from “1” to ‘9.”

“Nine is impossible to get; it is like an A with two stars,” she said.  Only the top ten percent of the country achieve this.

By the time the girls reach 15-16, the number of academic subjects, which they call “lessons” are decreased, and they specialize in subjects they think they will continue to study in university such as math, science, English, a foreign language and history.

“Our classes are only 50 minutes long, and on Friday we finish at 1:35 p.m.,” Natasha Lees said.

Caitlin Aldous remarked that she found this schedule especially convenient when she was selected as a ball girl captain for the annual Wimbledon tennis tournament.

She described the selection and training process as extremely rigorous, involving instruction in both game strategy and rules.  She said the young men and women were eliminated weekly and could be eliminated even two weeks before the tournament began.

“I went every week to check the list of girls and boys on the Wimbledon Ball Girl and Boy website still getting to train,” she said.  “I would look for number 415, and I would hope it was there.”

Other sports available to the girls include netball, which is basically basketball without the backboard; football, which is US soccer; cricket; archery; badminton and rock climbing.

“We attend Surrey County tournaments and have a Netball Tournament every year,” Truly said, “Our Yesr- 10 netball teams came in first in 2017 and third in 2018.”

Our visitors, who took in many Dallas landmarks including the Sixth Floor Museum, The Perot Science Museum, Reunion Tower and the Bush Library, were quick to praise one of UA girls’ favorites, Chick Fil A, and its waffle fries as a tasty cuisine.

“Shake Shack was another favorite,” Eva Davies was quick to add, mentioning that a week-night family meal in Wimbledon might include roast beef, potatoes, carrots and cauliflower.

Speaking of food, an exchange of typical British and American snack foods ended the conference.  British girls said the snacks they brought would be served at children’s parties.

They included Maryland cookies (chocolate chip), Jammie Dodgers (strawberry shortbread biscuits), party rings (a circular biscuit with a central finger-sized hole topped with a layer of hard, colored icing with different colored wiggly lines and Jaffa cakes (a sponge-based biscuit with a layer of orange flavored jam and a chocolate coating).

Finally, as the British girls prepared to return to the Global Village, Truly translated the question with which the conference had begun.  It goes:

“Did you see that cute boy in his sweatshirt and sneakers who was eating fries in Haggar?

We all agreed that no further translation was necessary.




Send us your thoughts!