>graduate school in England
Ooooh congratulations, sounds like quite the adventure, I bet your family are super proud.
I was actually studying with a girl from Texas at my university last year and one of the things that she commented on was that the educational system here expects you to conduct yourself a lot more independently than what she was used to back home, and you're given a hell of a lot more free reign in how you organise and progress within your work. Obviously they could have just been more strict in Texas but that's something you might want to prepare yourself for anyway. Something you're going to be very pleased about is that our grading system here is very generous, for example 70%+ is a 1st (A), 60-69% is a 2.1 (B), 50-59% is a 2.2 (C) and 40-49% is a 3rd (D). That could be because the work is harder here, but ofc that all depends on your subject.
>how's the safety there?
P. decent I'd say. I mean I've lived here for the entirety of my 25 years and I've never been mugged, robbed or assaulted before. Obviously with the higher populations down South there's going to be a higher risk of crime, but I think for the average person the greatest thing they fear day to day is pickpockets. Obviously if you're going on a night out different rules apply, i.e. always travel in groups, don't attempt to walk home alone whilst intoxicated or otherwise, never accept drinks off strangers, but really that applies all over the world.
Looking at the UNODC global murder rates (per 100,000 inhabitants) apparently in the UK it's 0.92, and for California it's 5.0, so you're a hell of a lot less likely to get murdered here at least ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
>are there a lot of gypsies?
Hmmm, well I live in the North, and whilst I can't I haven't encountered them, what you're going to see a lot more of are the Romanians selling the Big Issue magazine. There's one of them virtually every street within the city centre of where I live, and they're identifiable by their headscarves, long skirts and red, sleeveless jackets (picture related). Whenever they walk past you they'll push a stack of magazines in your direction and say "beeeg iishoo plz". The sheer quantity of them might alarm you at first, but you get used to them pretty quickly. They don't cause any harm and most everybody just ignores them, but I would personally never recommend buying a magazine off of them because most are part of rings where they're sent out everyday to earn money which they then bring back to their ring leader in exchange for housing etc. The only reason they get to stay here is because selling the Big Issue means they're technically classed as self-employed. You'll also encounter a lot of beggars, but I expect it's not so different in California. Again, they don't cause any harm, the quantity of them can just become irritating sometimes.
>is the food really as shitty as people say?
Do people say that English food is shitty lol, I've never heard that one before.
Personally it's hard to comment on that specific aspect because I'm a vegan which means I either eat out a lot or I cook all my own meals. British food in general has a reputation for being very stodgy, starchy and hearty, so you're gonna see a lot of potatoes, a lot of (British) chips, a lot of gravy, beans, rice and lot of curries etc. Obviously as is with everywhere you go when you're eating out food quality tends to stratify in line with cost, but assuming you're a student you're likely going to have to learn to cook anyway so I couldn't imagine this being a problem for you (although I've heard British McDonalds tastes better).
>it seems every other week there is a terror incident lately :/
Yeah to be honest this is something I've been concerned about lately, especially after the Manchester bombings because it kinda used to be a joke up here that nobody really cared about terrorist attacks because nobody gave a fuck about the North of England (still kinda true). You gotta look at it on the flipside though, because to us when we look at America we're like "my goodness Margaret those American fellows in the colonies do seem rather fond of their guns now. Why it seems as if there's a mass shooting every other day there, I say!", but obviously you understand the reality is that that is a threat that is unlikely to ever personally affect you. I think things like that always seem bigger when you're somebody that lives outside the norm. Also you have to remember that we have extremely, EXTREMELY tight regulations on guns, so at least
I'm trying to think of anything else to comment on, but all I can think of is the weather? We're having a heatwave at the moment and everybody is sticky and crying because of it (33°C / 91.4F in the South). It's a lot warmer down South compared with the North, but the Winters to get pretty nippy/biting sometimes, so obviously bring cardigans, cozy jumpers and a nice Winter coat. Oh and umbrella. Hope you like humidity and rain Anon.