Whether the pandemic turbo-charged your dreams of moving across the pond, or you’ve already been planning on living in the UK for the longest time, don’t be fooled by what seems like “cultural similarities” between the US and UK.
The United Kingdom is not the United States in any shape or form. The UK has so much more to offer Americans than you might think. So, if you’ve been researching the logistics of moving to the UK, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of everything you need to know about living in the UK with as minimal friction and issues as possible.
Living in the UK 101: Understand the Difference Between the UK and Great Britain
Let’s start with some of the basics.
Many Brits believe that “The United Kingdom” and “Great Britain” refer to the same location. This isn’t the case at all. The mainland of England, Wales, and Scotland make up Great Britain, whereas Northern Ireland makes up the United Kingdom.
This isn’t to argue that Northern Ireland isn’t wonderful; it just isn’t “Great.”
Take Advantage of the Good Healthcare Options
The National Health Service is the pride and pleasure of the United Kingdom. The British felt it would be a great idea to make healthcare available to everyone in 1948, and they accomplished just that.
The concept is still popular today, and the NHS offers health services paid for via income taxes. This implies that private health insurance is just an additional cost if you have the money.
The NHS, on the other hand, is becoming more overburdened. In the United Kingdom, there is a lot of discussion over whether it should be privatized, which would be a fantastic topic to bring up at your first British dinner party.
Be Aware of the North/South Divide
Except for individuals from the Midlands, who don’t really get engaged, everyone in the UK knows whether they’re a Northerner or a Southerner.
There are a lot of clichés about Northerners being more sociable and straightforward and Southerners being weaklings who can’t take the cold that you’ll probably grow tired of hearing about.
Get Ready for the Accents
Despite Hollywood’s best efforts, not everyone in the United Kingdom speaks the Queen’s English. People from the Home Counties (those in the vicinity of London) may have a posh accent, although every area of the UK has its own unique accent.
Brummy lilts (in Birmingham), Geordie drawls (in Newcastle), and Scouse twangs (in Liverpool) are among the sounds, not to mention the distinct voices of Glasgow and Belfast. Nod and chuckle if you haven’t comprehended someone for the third time.
If you’re someone who already faces difficulties with thick southern accents in the US, for example, you’ll want to dedicate some time to watching British telly. Also, you can look at more info here and take this quick test to figure out your preparedness level.
Imperial or Metric: It’s Both
The British haven’t decided whether to use imperial or metric units, so they use a strange mix of both. Although kilometers and grams are widely used, many traditionalists in the UK refuse to abandon old-fashioned measurements.
Feet, yards, gallons, acres, ounces, and pounds are all terms you’ll come across — and if someone asks how tall your horse is, you’ll have to answer them in hands.
Let’s talk about pounds. If you’re planning to relocate to the United Kingdom, you’ll most likely need to convert part of your money into sterling pounds.
Yet, you should avoid using high-street banks for this procedure. Since you’ll be charged a lot of money and won’t receive the best exchange rate.
Enjoy the Rural Charm
The United Kingdom has some beautiful towns and cities, but what lies between them really distinguishes the country. If you find yourself in need of a dose of nature regularly, the United Kingdom will be happy to oblige.
From the Scottish Highlands through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, down to the Pembrokeshire Coast, the Cotswolds, and the famous White Cliffs of Dover, it’s a country of woods, hills, mountains, and meadows. Just make sure you have a coat with you.
Turn Your Politeness On
If you’re arguing with someone in the United Kingdom, you’re doing it incorrectly. Nothing else matters in English except the word “sorry.” When two Brits collide, it’s a race to see who can apologize the most.
Everyone is very apologetic to each other for everything, and they enjoy it that way. You should also be wary of self-praise; if you go too far, you’ll be accused of “blowing your own trumpet,” which means that others will despise you. Keep your ego in check.
Queue for Everything
Queuing is an important element of the British etiquette code. If two or more parties are waiting for anything, they will form a line and create an order right away.
When additional people come, they will join the line without hesitation. You don’t want to be too near to someone, but you need to be close enough to demonstrate that you are in the line.
Cutting the line is a horrible thing to do, but no one will tell you that. But you’ll be feeling the glares for sure.
Moving Abroad: Simplified
Whenever we start thinking about moving, we start getting overwhelmed. You can multiply these feelings of terror when you’re planning on moving abroad.
Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on how unique and different living in the UK can be. After all, nothing can help with feeling secure in your planning than doing your research. This way you can live in the UK with no fuss.
And, if you enjoyed reading our article, you’ll want to check out our additional tips and tricks. All will be available in our lifestyle and travel sections.