What is it like to move from the USA to the UK? When posed that question, many expats have many different responses. Overall, most would advise you to KEEP CALM AND MOVE ON. Here are some tips and pointers on making the move across the big pond:
Weather: Despite the movie depiction of England, it is not all teatime and roses in England. Many transplants refer to the weather when discussing this less rosy version of living in the UK. Often described as cold, damp, and gray, England can be a bit of a shock for those relocating from sunnier climates, such as California.
Living: Homes are often smaller in England and more of a townhome style, as opposed to sprawl and space of the American version of single-family homes. Do not be surprised to share a wall, or even a yard, with your neighbor. Homes typically do not have dryers – so hanging your laundry out to dry will perhaps become a new chore.
Politics: Monarchy and Parliament rule in England, whereas in the U.S. political parties tend to spar with one another all the time. The brits love their Queen and Buckingham Palace is highly revered.
Money: The cost of living in England is much higher than that of many cities and areas across the U.S. Be prepared for less income and having to stretch your dollar (ahem, Pound) a bit further.
Health: The National Health System is what many expats praise as one of the biggest advantages of living in England. No paperwork, no payments, no hassle.
Culture: Pubs are everywhere in England and it is expected to meet your friends and co-workers there from time to time for socialization. Be prepared to meet up with your mates more frequently in the UK! Moreover, be prepared to watch soccer, not American football, when you turn on the sports channel. When not putting back a pint, there are many great museums and cultural hot spots to explore, some teeming with centuries of history.
Jobs/Employment: Work visas are extremely difficult to obtain. If you are being transferred for work, you are in luck. Your spouse or partner might not be as fortunate. The government maintains a Shortage Occupation List that posts jobs qualifying for work visas, such as engineers, nurses, special education teachers, and graphic designers. Brits do get more time off from work, with five weeks being the norm.
Travel: Being so close to many great European countries puts residents of England at an advantage. Visiting another country is easy and train travel gets you all across Europe. Experiencing another culture can be accomplished without experiencing jet lag.
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