How To Get FREE TV

40854025_239718670047988_5278440134482591744_n.pngIn the US free television no longer really exists. You can get PBS and some channels, but only if you have a satellite or an antenna. And you know what I mean by antenna, the two metal rods that sit on top of your TV and you point them in a certain direction to better reception.

Well, in the UK there is so much free TV! Honestly, I don’t think people need to pay for cable in the UK because the free channels have so much to offer. Channel 5 plays drama, movies, cooking shows. Channel 4 has reality tv, documentaries, and soap opera. BBC has movies, documentaries and obviously some of the worlds best news. All 3 of these channels (and several more) are all free! Once a year you do have to pay for a tv license, which is basically to have access to anything on your tv. But the cost is minimal, I don’t know any household that doesn’t have it. Stations like Channel 4 or ITV are able to keep the cost to consumers so low by charging for commercials and some brand endorsements. Certain shows will say they are sponsored by a toilet paper brand or beer.

Why is it that the UK can offer so much free entertainment, but the USA can’t? America is supposedly a very wealthy country, we can afford to have the world’s largest military. But simple thing like health care or TV can’t be free? I can’t find any  logic for why the UK offer’s its residents so much and the US offers so little.

So, do you want to find a way to get these free channels? Most of them offer their shows online with streaming. You can gain access to all of them (except BBC) by creating an online account with your social media like Facebook. They might have a lock for people watching from outside the UK, but you can easily get around that by using a VPN. A VPN is basically a work around where it tricks a website into thinking you are in the UK or a certain country, when you really are not.

I’ve included a list of the free channels you can check out below, and some of the shows I like on them.

BBC: I love the docuseries on here! The Sex in Britain one is very compelling.

ITV: It is terrible, but I love to watch Bridezilla’s.

Channel 4: You have to watch the Great British Bake Off! It is homely cooking with friendly competition.

Channel 5: Rich House Poor House is such an interesting show! It forces two families to swap lives for a week so the rich can see how it feels to live on the bread line.

Crucial Advice If You Are Going to University

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I started university earlier than most, I had my first uni class at 14 in China. I officially started studying uni in America at 16, three and a half years later I had my first degree. Now, I have 2 degrees and have attended 4 different universities all over the world.  I’ve lived on and off campus, taken out student loans, paid tuition, and pulled all night study sessions. Suffice it to say, I am an expert at university life. 

In all my experience at universities, I’ve been given massive quantities of advice. Don’t drink on a Sunday, hand write your notes, focus on studies, maintain a side job. The suggestions never end. And NONE of it has helped me in the real world. No one warned me that university is the easy part of life, that studying is for an exam is relaxing compared to job hunting. No one said student loans would make me suicidal. No adult has ever given me worthwhile advice about university. 

So, I’m going to do every student the favor I was never given. There are only 3 things you need to know about university. Live by these rules, and life will be simplistic. 

  1. Unless you are going to Yale, Cambridge, Harvard or some other Ivy League, NO job will ever care where you got your degree from. They WILL NOT care if you went to your local college or a state university. (Honestly, a lot of jobs won’t care if you went to an Ivy League either). So, DON’T take out more $$ and debt to go to a fancy private school across the country. Go to the school that is the cheapest for your chosen major. 
  2. Your grades/marks DO NOT MATTER. At the end of the day, on your resume/cv you will put down that you graduated from X university with Y degree. I’ve had dozens of interviews and an employer has never asked me what GPA was, they don’t care if I got honors. An employer cares if you got the physical diploma and THAT IS IT. Therefore, don’t drive yourself crazy at university to get the perfect scores. Learn what matters for your chosen speciality, enjoy sports, party with friends and experience life outside the lecture hall. I promise that your marks/scores truly will not matter once you walk across the stage at graduation. Literally, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT GRADES.
  3. The real world and job market all rely on one skill. The ability to sell. If you can creatively interpret your skills and summer jobs on your CV so it matches for each position you apply for, then finding employment will be easy. Every job should have a personalised resume that uniquely sells YOU to that specific employer. This is all a nice way of saying, on your resume/CV and in interviews, YOU JUST GOTTA BULLSHIT. I’ve been hired for dog walking and teaching English, and my degree is in political science. How did I get those jobs? I sold the hell out myself. I am my #1 product. 

There you have it. These 3 things are the most important pieces of advice you will ever get. By following my words of wisdom, university life will be less stressful, you will get interviews, and most importantly, you will survive in the real world. 

(Please excuse my colorful language in this post, my goal is to get the point across as clearly as possible)

 

Are You a Racist and You Don’t Realize It?

RacismI was recently visiting some family, they are an elderly British couple. At one point, the husbands brother came to visit. We were all gathered around a sitting room, discussing my visa situation. I can’t renew my visa because I don’t earn enough money and this upsets the family. The brother said “I’m not racist but…” It is always the “but” that means something bad is coming.
“I’m not racist but… if you were Pakistani, you would be able to get a visa no problem. One neighbour I know brought 5 of them over, and the NHS get them a car to drive to appointments. If you were from any other country you wouldn’t have a problem staying in the UK”
I struggled to maintain my composure. I HATE when people are racist, especially when they have zero understanding of the incredibly difficult and complicated process ANYONE goes through to live in the UK, regardless of skin color. Additionally, I took affront to this words because my best friend’s family originally came from Pakistan and they have done nothing but add to the UK.  I don’t understand why native British assume that any foreigner is detracting from the country rather than giving to it.  Most foreigners fill jobs that would otherwise sit empty. The worst part for me however, was them attempting to negate their negative comments by saying “I’m not racist”.
No. There is no way to be kind of racist, or semi-racist, or make racist comments and not be racist. Racism is a black and white issue. Either, you are racist (which this brother definitely was) or you aren’t. You can’t pick and choose how to define yourself when it comes to being insulting towards other races.
I also found it disrespectful that they attempted to minimize my situation by putting it down to the fact that I am American and/or white. My skin color has nothing to do with my visa.. The country and skin you are born in DOES NOT MATTER. We all have the same DNA design, the same body parts, the same ancestors. Race isn’t important to what country you should be allowed to live. Racism is simple not ok in 2018.

 

Is Having a Good Work Ethic Connected to Having a Good Work Environment?

woman holding paint brush
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Research has demonstrated that employee’s who have a good working environment with proper benefits improve their productivity and get better results. However, what about research into working environments that are made a little too good? I know this will probably sound insane, but I think that if the working environment is too comfortable, productivity and work ethic can go down. I have one clear example of this.

In the UK, contracted employee’s get 25-26 days of mandatory leave plus holidays. They are allowed to call in sick and not lose pay or holiday days. They work decent regulated hours, and have huge levels of safety standards built in. All British residents get free health care, and if they lose their job they get government support. Maternity leave is usually about 6 months, father’s also get a bit of time off. Lastly, it isn’t easy to fire someone in the UK. You have to have a really good reason.
In the US employee’s aren’t so lucky. Maternity leave is 3 months, maximum. There are no paid sick days. If you are fortunate, you get a total of 10 days off work, plus holidays. Employers offer health insurance, but it will usually cost the employee an arm and a leg. Getting fired is easy, and if you want to claim unemployment, you can only do so for a maximum of 6 months and that is with a lot of paperwork involved. You are frequently expected to work a lot of overtime, without compensation.
Overall, the US work system isn’t the best. Especially with regards to time off and health benefits. However, I see a huge discrepancy between British work ethics and Americans. In America, people work hard at their job because they have no choice. If you slack, you are fired. And you have no government benefits to fall back on. Many people must work multiple jobs to make ends meet and cover all their expenses. In the UK, the government lends more of a helping hand. Rarely do people work multiple jobs in the UK. This is all fine until it leads to poor ethics in the workplace.
By being allowed to call in sick with no repercussion, I think it causes people to take advantage. I only call in ill if I am going to spread illness to others, or if I have a doctors note. I would say I take less than 5 sick days a year (usually). However, in Britain, I’ve seen people have more than a month off (with a doc note) and still keep their job and their pay! I truly believe this causes people to make every cold seem like a deadly virus. Furthermore, when you know your job is very protected, people get comfortable. They work slower, they don’t try as hard. Often it is in their benefit to work slower because they can get paid overtime.
In many ways as an American I am grateful for the good working environment in the UK. However, I treat my job as if it was in the US, which means I respect it. I believe American’s have been forced to have good work ethics. . Working in the UK is nice, but I think that the British have a poor work ethic because of it. There are other countries that have achieved a happier balance. In Japan, employee’s are expected to work upwards of 50 or 60 hours a week. But, they get extremely good salaries and built in company benefits. In Turkey they also work around 45 to 50 hours a week, but they get 20-30 days off and public health care. America needs a better work environment, and the UK needs to develop a way to keep employee’s incentivized to continue to maintain good work ethics.

Red Tape Connects You, Me, and Everybody

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If there is one thing I have learned from travelling the world, it is that somethings are the same in every country. A McDonald’s burger always tastes the same amount of greasy and wonderful. People universally dislike the average American tourist. Lastly, bureaucracy is a impossibly difficult no matter where you go. I speak from experience, I have dealt with governments agencies on 3 different continents.

In the UK, it is challenging because they want multiple documents for one thing. Proof of address for example, they want you to have at least 4 items, from different sources! This is especially challenging when most bills and mail are sent via email rather than physical post.
In China, they expect you to wait in massive, huge lines (queue’s). Upon reaching the front, the believe you should already know the paperwork, documents and information you need. There is no room or error or leeway. Everything must be perfectly in order to get what you need.
I think America is one of the worst locations of this. Trying to simply prove your identity is a chore. They want your birth certificate, passport, drivers license, social security care, and your left arm. This is just to prove you exist, to prove your address/residency is a whole other matter. Today, I attempted to get a driver’s license. As I have residency in two countries, having snail mail isn’t easy. But, I managed to round up several pieces of mail with my name and address, along with a title to the house I was in that also had my name on it. Yet, none of this was enough! Proving that I had a partial ownership of a piece of property in the state wasn’t enough evidence that I was a resident. My mother had to sign a legal form stating that I was a resident at the address. Then, they attempted to say our physical address wasn’t correct. Oh, the drama!! Then they charged me $70.
I shouldn’t complain. I recently discovered that in Turkey to obtain a driver’s license, you need to have a health examination to assure the government you have no health conditions that might impede your driving abilities.
I take comfort in the fact that bureaucracies are the same world wide. We might all live in different lands, but we can all unite in our loathing of the red tape.

Is Your British Neighbourhood About To Change in a BIG Way?

person covering the reflection of sunlight on curtain wall building at daytime
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Gentrification is the process that occurs when a geographical area goes from being predominantly lower class or impoverished to being an area dominated by upper middle class individuals, stores, and businesses. A common sign of gentrification is the introduction of Starbucks, Co-op’s and boutique cafes to an area. This is then followed by increased living costs and housing costs, which pushes the poor out and lets the rich in.

I recently had an experience with the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) that has made me question whether the UK is attempting a large scale gentrification process. I needed a prescription filled, which the pharmacy was unable to get renewed by my doctor. After a week of confusion, I spent an entire morning driving all over town, calling five different doctors in an attempt to find someone who would print me off a new prescription. I was refused by every single person, despite the fact that medication is something that I depend on to stay alive. Eventually, after crying in the middle of a crowded waiting room, I was given my medication.
Initially, I just attributed this clerical paperwork error to the under-funding that the NHS is currently experiencing. However, upon further thought, I realised that this under-funding to health services only effects one specific group of people, the lower class. It’s lower class individuals who go to the emergency room, and are being left untreated by the lack of staff. Frequently lower class individuals avoid going to the doctor due to work or other conflicts, so they end up in hospital because their illnesses have worsened to the point of an emergency. It is the poor who are stuck in overcrowded waiting rooms, and who are dying in the hallways of hospitals. The middle class and rich are able to either afford private health care, or live a higher quality of life that prevents illness or allows it to be immediately treated.
So, the government is under-funding the NHS, and it mainly effects the lower class of the UK. This doesn’t equate to a removal of these people, does it? No, but then I read that the government is also making huge changed to their car MOT process (this is when a car is tested to be road safe and environmentally legal). The changes will mean that diesel vehicles and older cars are almost guaranteed to fail their MOT’s (and they can no longer be driven). Who drives old cars? The lower class citizens who can’t afford to constantly upgrade or get new leases. When their cars fail, they won’t be able to work, or function.
If you combine the new MOT regulations and the under-funding in health care with the ramifications of Brexit, all signs point to the fact that the UK government is attempted to gentrify the entire nation. They are removing any working class immigrants, and refusing entry to new ones. They are causing the poor to suffer medically. Brexit is only causing housing to increase in price and get worse in upkeep. I used to believe that the UK had great social services, but I can now see that people who take advantages of these services are constantly discriminated against. More so than in the US and many other countries. The UK is trying to cut their social services as well, which only further supports my belief that the UK wants to be a country of only the well off.
Unfortunately, this aspiration is costing the lives of the lower class. They are being forced to live on the streets, die without medical care, or suffer in poverty. The UK is supposed to be a first world country, but I see that it is going down a path that makes the first world benefits only accessible to some. All are not equal in Britain.

The Forgotten Victims of Terrorism

“UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond echoed her call, saying Muslim countries had “suffered the greatest burden of terrorism”
-BBC “EU urges broad alliance on terrorism, at Brussels talks”
desert
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This quote struck a chord in me.  Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Westerners have tended to focus more heavily on terrorist attacks by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other militant groups committed in Western countries. In the aftermath of the Boston bombers, the American media could talk of nothing else. A similar situation is occurring in France.

Now, while these atrocities are horrific, and deserve widespread discussion/attention and to have efforts made to prevent them, I think that the world tends to largely ignore the terrorist attacks that are occurring in the Middle East. Arguably, the countries that are harmed the most, and victim to the most violent attacks are Middle Eastern states. However, media coverage on these attacks is negligible. A news story will pop up in the headlines of BBC, The New York Times, or any other major media source, but there is very little follow up or discussion afterwards or it is relegated to the little viewed sections.
 It is fair to say that these news sources don’t focus on these attacks because they report on American or UK news, but is it fair to solely focus on the terrorism that occurs on Western borders? When discussing ISIS in Afghanistan, it is usually in reference to the military attacks, how it threatens U.S security, and the involvement of the US army. It is not discussed from the perspective of ISIS continually inflicting terrorist attacks on the citizens of Afghanistan.
A prime example of the focus media sources take on Western based attacks is the school shooting that recently took place in Pakistan. 141 people were killed by the Taliban, most of them children. It was a top story for a day or two, then it was forgotten. In France, 12 were killed, and the attackers were found within days. In Pakistan, the terrorists weren’t found, and 120 more people died in this attack than in France.
I don’t intend to imply that the deaths in France mean less than those in Pakistan, or that those in Pakistan are worth more because more died. I just find it curious that in a world that is increasingly more global, and interdependent, media and politicians for the most part still focus on crimes committed in Western countries and push other crimes to the side. While Western politicians don’t have control of what occurs in Pakistan or Afghanistan, they most definitely could be more pragmatic and make more of an effort to support the victims of these attacks. If none of this can be done, then media sources could give more press to the attacks, so the suffering of the victims is known, and the hardships are acknowledged. No one wants to feel that their sorrow is silent, that the world doesn’t care about the pain that has been inflicted on them. I respect the UK foreign secretary for acknowledging that Western countries aren’t the only targets of terrorist attacks and I hope more acknowledgement is given to this in the future.