Expat Guide

Life in the UK

Despite speaking the same language, the culture is more different than one might expect. It is a separate country with just a few American things. They have their own brands, stores, and products you may have never heard of. The entertainment industry overlaps slightly, but the bulk of the television programming and music industry is British, most celebrities and sport stars you probablly had never heard of before.

The shops are not open the extended hours we're used to, except for a few if you’re lucky enough to live near one of them. Terminology is different, some spellings are different and so are some pronunciations. Basic everyday life has subtle differences and the attitudes are also different.

Some things you will have to relearn, so it helps to approach it as an adventure, that sometimes never seems to end. You'll need to relearn handling money. Imagine walking into a supermarket and not recognizing 90% of the brands, guessing which toilet roll, or cleaners are best. Recipes will be given in metric, weighing your flour on a scale in grams instead of levelling cups. The controls on the appliances will look foreign, you'll almost need to relearn to use a washing machine, a dishwasher, or the heating system with no thermostat.

See our forum Discussion of Pros and Cons, USA vs UK.


Finances & Money

The official currency in the UK is the British Pound Sterling (GBP), and is decimal based like the dollar, there are 100 pence in a pound. The coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2. The notes are in demonations of £5, £10, £20, and £50. You won’t often see the larger notes any more to combat loss to counterfeits.

Home and Family

Village houses

Home and family life in the UK is quite similar to the American lifestyles. The British go to work, go to the cinema, watch TV, cook, clean, love their pets, have parent teacher meetings, follow sports and so on. The differences are subtle. You might find it difficult to connect with the people in the UK region you're living as they may not be as open or friendly as where you might have lived before.

UK Culture

Nothing defines a country more than its culture and traditions.

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UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.