USA to UK relocation guide

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  • cherub

    Is anyone considering taking the plunge? Although I'm writing this from the US perspective, I reckon it could be useful to others wanting to relocate to the UK.

    I just got back from spending 5 months in Wales and I was so impressed I can't wait to go back. It's truly a step up in life quality, at least for me it was.

    So I could cheat and copy a guide off reddit but nah, not my style. So anyone wanting to move to a foreign country will first want to do two things: First, visit prior to moving there if possible. Second, do all the necessary research and preparation. For now, let's start with the first one.

    You need a valid passport to enter the UK from the US but not necessarily a visa if you are only visiting as a tourist. You can stay 6 months, and don't make the mistake I made- even though you can go through the E gates at London Heathrow, you should let them stamp your passport instead.

    The cheapest flights are from Boston, and the 2nd cheapest are from the NYC area. I paid about $470 for a round trip from Newark to London on British Airways pre coronavirus.

    First time in the UK, you'll do alright provided your debit card works. They use a contactless(bump and pay) system over there. Upgrade your card before you fly.

    There is much less daylight in winter due to being much closer to the north pole.

    Phone numbers and dates are in a different format. Will confuse you at first.

    Even if only going for a visit, you'll want to know how to speak like the locals. I was in Wales, but here is a list of slang I made that should help you.

    toilet = bathroom
    loo = also the bathroom
    rubbish bin = garbage can
    queue = line
    fag = cigarette
    footy = soccer
    mobile = cell phone
    quid = pound (sterling)
    mind = remember
    holiday = vacation
    trousers = pants
    pants = underwear or panties
    knickers = panties
    posh = rich / fancy
    fancy = want / like
    uni = university
    have a go = take a shot / come at me bitch
    kicking off = starting up / get going
    crack on = keep going
    meant = supposed
    tea = brunchtime, lunchtime, or dinnertime
    take the piss = make fun of
    garden = yard (front or back)
    slapper = whore
    cuppa = ???
    cheeky = I have never understood this word bcuz it's used far too often to keep track of all the uses.
    housing options = there is no American equivalent
    mp = member of parliament
    ap = assembly member
    The 4 nations = Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, and Wales

    Fact: The 4 nations all have devolved governments except England obviously because it has OG status with respect to government.

    Key thing to remember, european way of thinking and sensibilities are much much different.

    Anyway, if this is too long, I apologize. Just trying to help. If I missed anything, or if I can improve my USA to UK translations please let me know! Cheers

  • MrT0

    Cuppa = cup of tea.

    I’ll put the kettle on.

    • 2 sugars and 1 milk please.... aka two and a moo :)cherub
    • Seems so odd that America does not use tap to pay for debit / credit ....get with the times! ;)Static_Line
    • Yes we do. It’s just not adopted by every purveyor yet.monospaced
    • Yes many do :) - I also know some retailers have it and do not know they have it... used tap in Philadelphia and the guy at the counter was mind blown!Static_Line
  • kalkal0

    kicking off = starting up / get going - Also arguing or starting a fight

    Cheeky - going a bit too far with either humour or a request for something that might not be deserved. Two very different uses.

    Housing options? Never even heard this myself

    Mind - as in "mind yourself"? because this would be more like... "watch yourself"

    Not sure what relation meant/supposed are supposed to have either.

    • Mind as in, "mind you don't drive to fast down this road."cherub
    • Meant as in, "We were meant to stay at the pub until 1 but it closed early.". In American english we would say "supposed" right there, not meant.cherub
    • We might also say "mind you" as an alternative to "on the other hand" too :)kalkal
      Obviously slightly out of date, I like to think it's quite relevant still though...
    • "Mind" is starting to get awkward to think about in my mind... oof so awkward and I realize you're right. It's not remember.cherub
    • It sticks out in my memory because my ex used to say it constantly.cherub
  • dyspl0

    « Phone numbers and dates are in a different format. Will confuse you at first« 

    Im not good with numbers to begin with, but the date thing is a struggle. Even after almost 10years in the US I’m still not used to it.

    • I'll never understand the MM/DD/YYYY formatkalkal
    • did you feel like you were sucked back 200 years in time when you starting hearing the words 'miles', 'pounds' and 'inches'?PonyBoy
    • ^it takes me 5 takes to measure anything: 5.8/11inch... WTF?!dyspl
    • It's very typical of this country that we still don't use the Metric system.CyBrainX
  • cherub0

    Time. How could I forget time. I switched my mobile to 24 hour format when I was there, and kept it that way after coming back so I don't have to get disoriented all over again when I go back.

    • I don't think this one is universal tbf, more so on mobile phones if anything. Ain't no one gonna be like "let's meet for tea and biscuits at preciselykalkal
    • thirteen hundred hours. Pip pip."kalkal
    • Uk websites use 24 hour format, and the train times are too. But come to think of it, I never heard a person say 13 hundred. They would just say meet me at 1.cherub
    • Honestly thought this one was an Americanism which we'd adopted, don't remember seeing this format much in the 90'skalkal
  • utopian6

    Brexit = Fucked!

  • shapesalad0

    What you looking at = I’m about to kick you in the head.

    Bain = baby.

    Your kid = your brother.

    10 foot = back alley behind row houses.

    Gives a croggy = allow one a ride along side you on your bicycle.

    Please may I have... = Give me a....

    Tar = Please / thank you

    • Bairn
      just to be pedantic
    • That's not being pedantic.Nairn
    • these are all regional slangkingsteven
    • bairn is gaelic/norse - it's child in irish too. they wouldn't have a clue what yer talking about south of the pennines...kingsteven
    • The more I look at this the wronger it is. Bairn = kid. Wean = baby.
      "I'm about to kick your head in"
      "Giz a.." not that I agree with that either
    • Also, in Barmanthorpe, 'croggy' = blowjobNairn
    • Yikes.MrT
    • Stonking: very good.CyBrainX
  • raf1

    > Even if only going for a visit, you'll want to know how to speak like the locals. I was in Wales, but here is a list of slang I made that should help you.

    That's mostly true for non-English-as-their-first-langu... speakers.

    Learn that shit, of course, understand it and use it but bear in mind Americans are perfectly understood in UK and Ireland. They sound ridiculous when trying to blend in too much.

    More importantly, do not change your accent. That will only lose you respect, on both sides of the pond. You will get stuck in an accent limbo — will never sound like them and will sound ridiculous to your folks.

    You don't want to sound like Madonna.

  • raf8

    Also, a tip for Americans visiting Ireland:

    Never, ever mention there that you're Irish, or part Irish. They know. They assume every American visiting them has Irish ancestry and they don't give a bollix.

    You're not Irish, you're a Plastic Paddy to them if you pretend to be.

    Conversely, you will gain respect for restraining yourself from mentioning it, especially if your surname is Irish.

    • Wow.monospaced
    • "so, what do you do?" another favourite american conversation starter that may not go down well.kingsteven
    • I like thati_was
    • Vulgar Americansi_was
    • lol, my girlfriends family is this exact type of person.section_014
    • Is Conan moving? I always liked his jokes.SimonFFM
    • Weird, when I go to Italy they treat me like I'm part of the gang. I even got free healthcare with someone else's ID.zarkonite
    • @zarkonite - as an irish american?Nairn
    • hehe I meant as a neo-italian. It's weird to me that the irish would reject their diaspora like that.zarkonite
    • They're not rejecting them, they just messin'raf
  • monoboy2

    Welcome to Blighty (UK).

    When you cross the border to the nice part – Scotland, be prepared to adjust your ear to the accent. It'll feel like a different language at first. As do other parts of England.

    They actually speak a different language in North Wales (Welsh) and remote parts of Scotland (Gaelic).

    Top tip, don't mix us up. We all hate each other. Calling a Scotsman English is like calling them a peado. Unless they're unionist ultras.

    Which brings me nicely on to sectarianism. Avoid mentioning Irish heritage to anyone in Glasgow or Belfast. It's not worth it.

    The number one universal thing you must learn is pub etiquette. Buying rounds is how we do it. Everyone in the social group must buy a round of drinks. Even if there's 20 of you. You will then have to drink 20 drinks of high strength alcohol in one evening.

    Stopping to vomit, fight, or to knob some tart (lady of loose morals) in the bogs (toilet) is perfectly acceptable. Just get tested afterwards.

    Lastly, we think we're the most important, most advanced country in the western world. But nothing works.

    • Oh, and the school you went to as a child dictates your social status and job prospects entirely. Ability isn't a factor at all.monoboy
    • And bring some of that orange powdered stuff from Texas you put on BBQ meats. It's witchcraft.monoboy
    • what is it about the scots and orange chemicals?hans_glib
    • An American Werewolf in London wasn't fiction btw.monoboy
    • I'm afraid I have but the one upvote.Nairn
    • In LDN you can strategically buy rounds, missing out outliers and uninvolveds. It's not correct, of course, but Southerners can be totally tight shit smears.Nairn
    • In general, the farther north you go, the harder the accents are, at least for this bloody Yank.CyBrainX
    • hmmm, south western and Brummie accents can be quite thick. The UK is a heavily regionalised place (as Kingsteven mentioned above)Nairn
    • you can have accents that are entirely different across a mere few tens of miles - between Manchester/Liverpool it gets really crazyNairn
  • Fax_Benson1

    You don't need to tip everybody - just for table service, which you generally don't get in bars and pubs. Actually, I wonder whether that may change now with covid. Outdoor table service is going to be a thing.

    • tipping at bars is optional but most decent drinking folks do it...kingsteven
    • Tipping at bars is optional? As in pubs or clubs? Literally never tip unless you're eating a meal lol.kalkal
    • no tip jar in your local? its optional, always tip good service especially on a round...kingsteven
    • avoid implying that people aren't decent, or proper drinking folk, because they don't adhere to a custom that doesn't exist in most parts of the countryFax_Benson
    • @Fax Benson: here in the states they've started something called "curbside" for picking up orders. You pop the boot and wait in the car. They put your order incherub
    • That's not for pubs of course. But yeah I guess they'll do outdoor table service.cherub
    • After noticing kalkal was from derby I asked one of my mates from derby and it turns out tipping in belfast was a culture shock...kingsteven
  • hans_glib4

    remember to drive on the left and don't do a runner if you forget and accidentally kill someone

    • too soon?hans_glib
    • As a motorcyclist myself. No.monoboy
    • reversed version of this is truly a nightmare.sted
  • kalkal1

    If we're talking about mixing in btw, drop the whole shire thing. I mean like when you might say Derbyshire or Nottinghamhshire. This isn't lotr, don't pronounce it like "spire". Say it like "sha" - Also Derby isn't like desrtruction derby, it's like darby... so Derbyshire is "Darbysha" - Nottinghamshire is "Nottinghamsha"

    • And it's not 'Ed-in-boro', but 'Ed-in-bruh'.

      And anyone that pronounces the word niche as 'nitch' gets sparked pronto.
    • Em-brahNairn
    • C'mon. We aren't savages.

      Hullo. Youd've had yer tea.
    • Luckily this didn't come up. But if it did, I would FOR SURE have walked right into some shite! lol. Because I didn't know any of this.cherub
  • breadlegz0

    If you're a Peaky Blinders fan, come to Birmingham... we still dreess and talk like Thomas Shelby.

  • Nairn1

    I'm still trying to get my head around how Wales could be better than Texas.

    • It's greener, for sure.Nairn
    • maybe he's sick of sunshinemoldero
    • I gave up after reading
      "the nice part – Scotland"
    • that wasn't op, tbf raf.

      you well? how's the lil'un?
    • I don't know much about Wales, but I know it's not Texas.CyBrainX
    • Thanks, fun and dangerously smart, Nairn.raf
  • fadein113

    If you get homesick, just visit Stratford upon Avon, fully of yanks any time of year.

  • cherub0

    "I'm still trying to get my head around how Wales could be better than Texas."

    Wales is the butt of every joke, and I tend to side with the underdog in a David and Goliath type way.

    Besides, for someone from the states all the castles are kinda rad. I like the idea of walking around Dr. Who's stomping ground lol.

    Took some photos. None of England tho, I never got to see England while I was there except paddington. I'm still upset about that.

    • first couple of pics are proper wales alright: green, grey, rain.hans_glib
    • My missus would apologize incessantly about the weather. Once I adjusted to it, I grew to like uk weather. Now I miss it.cherub
  • Beeswax0

    Wales means Ian Rush for me

  • Doris_McSquirter1

    Portmerion is nice.

  • cherub0

    I figured out why the British love drinking tea so much. I mean, besides it being delicious, it was once a luxury that could only be afforded by the upper class.

    • Hmm, not sure about that - beer and wine have been drunk in Northern Europe by commoners for at least a thousand years.Nairn
    • the brits have always loved any foreign comestibles - tea, coffee, wine, lager, curry, basil, pineapple, sugar, pepper, etc etc.hans_glib
    • if you go to northern scotland, you can see why - pre funny forinn food it was all turnip, swede, grass....hans_glib
    • were those foreign foods traditionally more expensive?cherub
    • Wales had leeks as their native vegetable and leeks make me wretch lol.cherub
    • yeah, maybe best not to say that in waleshans_glib
    • I wouldn't, but they take rugby more seriously than any other thing. I tried to buy tix for judgement day then coronavirus struck.cherub
    • It was also brought to Britain from the portuguese... from Catherine of Braganzashapesalad
    • fuck's sake - whe I read this this morning, i absolutely read 'booze' not tea. Wtf?Nairn
  • cherub0

    I was told by my American friends who had traveled abroad, that the uk would be prohibitively expensive. In my experience in southern wales, that for the most part was not true... at least when compared to prices in the US.

    There are 4 things that I noticed that were outrageously expensive in the UK. If you can dodge buying these 4 you'll be alright.

    (In order of outrageousness)
    train tickets
    football tickets

    Keep in mind. I'm not a native, so go easy on me. But this is what I noticed.

    • I wrote "football tickets" but I meant rugby tickets.cherub
    • Train tickets can be cheaper if you buy in advance. Buy on the day though and yeah - outrageously expensive.Nairn
    • I imagine you found food more expensive too? I get the impression food in America is super-cheap.Nairn
    • Also, your experience in Wales would be different to that of the typical tourist going around London and Edinburgh, neither of which are particularly cheapNairn
    • And you've hit upon exactly why I didn't go to London or Edinburgh. My heart was saying go to London! go to Hyde Park! Go see the Scottish coast! But my walletcherub
    • was saying Go chill with the sheep in Wales! So I went with the sheep lol.cherub
    • Next time, do Edinburgh if you can - it's a very European-feeling city. LDN's a 'global capital' which .. well, has its negatives.Nairn
    • Friend of mine who moved to the US some years ago wants to move back to the UK but doesn't see how due to cost of housing here & some US medical debts they havewebazoot
    • Rural Wales is certainly cheaper in pubs and for eating out compared to most of the UK.webazoot