A Durham International Dictionary

A month has now passed since I first described the confused state of being an international student in Durham. Six weeks in, I have finally come to terms with many of the cultural differences between England and Norway. I have learned to be polite, I have learned to value tea, and I have discovered a liking for cranberry flavoured squash. So far, I am pleasantly surprised at my progress. That being said, there are still a few concepts of Durham University life I have not yet sufficiently familiarised myself with. Hence, I have created a little dictionary to help me and other international students to better understand our new daily life. Hopefully, it might make some of my readers´ lives easier.

So it goes;


Something most Durham students apparently do on a regular basis. Evidence of this can usually be found in any shower, tub, or kitchen sink in student accommodations. Not to be confused with rain, though both will evidently be pouring down outside your window at some point.


Adjective mostly used in sentences such as “your room is like literally so gapyah”. It refers to washed out t-shirts, polaroid-photos, festival wristbands, Buddha quotes, or people who just will not shut up about their travels to Turkmenistan.


A popular activity usually repeated up to five times a week. It involves downing at least six jegerbombs, dancing vigorously to “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, and a little crying session on a bench in the outside space of the club.

Urban Oven

A magical place which serves the hungry at night. The place to go when you don’t feel like quinoa and chick-peas did the trick for dinner. Inside, there is usually a lively mix of people, talking most eagerly about what “went down” in Loveshack a few hours earlier. Beware; if you join the queue at Urban Oven, your duvet cover will be covered with stains and crumbs the morning after.


Short for Deep Meaningful Conversation. A term closely connected to the above described “Kluting”. This occurs when you end up having a long conversation about deep feelings and family history with someone from your college that you never exchange more than three words with when sober. If this is repeated more than twice with the same person, you have officially become “drunk buds”. Beware of this consequence.

Rugby Lads

You wake up rested and happy on a Saturday morning, craving a moment of blissful equilibrium with a cup of tea in the floor kitchen, only to jump back in horror when a strong smell hits you five meters away from said kitchen. You dare to enter it, and see empty packets of crisps, half-empty bottles of Fosters, and an unidentifiable fluid all over the floor and table. No need to wonder any further, you know the Rugby Lads have been in the house. Solution; get out as quickly as possible, and take a long shower involving lots of soap.


A place one of the Rugby Lads who polluted your kitchen undoubtedly ended up in. It provides plenty of bandages and crutches to all freshers who have accidentally fallen down a few steps on a drunken night out.

Public School

If any other international student has managed to understand this concept; please contact me. As far as I know, these are private schools in the UK.. but they are public.. but paid for privately.. But they´re still public.. or private?? Anyhow, a large percentage of your UK friends have come from one of these mystical institutions. I should probably understand this by now…

Yik Yak

A form of social media making it difficult for the international students who have not got English phones (including me) to make it into the group of “cool kids”. It is exactly like twitter, only anonymous and exclusively for funny people. Often used for complaining about workload and lecturers.

Well, that will do for now. Feel free to use it as much as you might like, but for accurate terminology I would still suggest turning to the Oxford English Dictionary as a more reliable source. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to make a trip to Boots to get some polaroids from my Gapyah printed out. Until next month!


Sunniva Carlsen

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