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25th September 2012

Student 101: Northern monkeys and southern fairies

The divide between students from the North and South was obvious after just a couple of weeks at university.

Before I came to university, I found it almost impossible to distinguish between the Mancunian, Liverpudlian and Sheffield accent. It wasn’t until I unconsciously offended someone that I realised that accent and identity had such great importance. After just a couple of weeks at The University of Manchester, another thing was obvious… a clear divide between students from the North and South.

Overseas students evidently find it difficult to understand our rivalry (and our accents!) In all sincerity, if asked, I would not be able to pinpoint the exact source of this unexplainable divide. Assuming it was simply based on old stereotypes, I took to social media to find the real reason behind ‘northern monkeys’ and ‘southern fairies’.

According to my northern friends on Facebook, southerners are stuck up, more competitive, over- sensitive and arrogant. Northerners, according to my southern friends, are unhygienic and borderline alcoholics. What on earth were these views based on? Shameless and the people on Jeremy Kyle ?!  As for southern competiveness, I can quite honestly say that I have never experienced a rivalry as strong as the one I have experienced first-hand between Manchester United and Manchester City football fans.

Fortunately, the majority of these views are said by students in a light-heartedness that doesn’t affect their choice of friends. I have met people over the duration of my course from all areas of the country who I will undoubtedly be friends with later down the line. If anything, students should take advantage of coming across the nation’s ‘mini cultures’ at university, an opportunity that many of our parents and grandparents have not had and thus become ignorant towards ‘the other side’.

With the celebratory feeling brought upon us by both the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics this year you’d hope that the country’s unity would be stronger than ever. And I’m confident that it will be, despite not knowing where is “rate” good to visit in Sheffield or that “nowt” matters when it comes to your accent.

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