I read an article the other day about 50 things that are different in the UK compared to the US, and honestly, most of it was stupid things, like people in the UK don’t use umbrellas. Spoiler alert, they do. Some of the list was legit, but most of it seemed to be a way to make the UK exotic and mysterious. As an American ex-pat, it annoyed me because one of the best things about moving to the UK was the lack of culture shock. Sure they drive on the left and they call it ‘maths’ instead of math, but things really aren’t that different from the states. So, I am making a list of all the things (at least the ones I can think of right now) that are similar or the same between the UK and the US to celebrate shared parts of our cultures.
1. Chain restaurants and coffee shops – Pret is to the UK what Starbucks is to the US.
2. Everyone still passes on the left on escalators and sidewalks. God forbid you should be standing on the left, you might as well have kicked a puppy.
3. The money is just as intuitive, or not, depending on how you view US currency. There are bills with numbers to tell you exactly how much the bill is worth and the coins come in different sizes, just like the US.
4. Kids keep coming up with slang words I have to learn and I blame social media. As soon as I have learned what “rock up” means suddenly Twitter has invented “bomboclaat”. Am I getting old?
5. Everyone loves Nike, Adidas, and Lululemon – big brands are still all the rage in UK fashion. Yes, VSCO girls exist here too.
6. People are divided over the leader of their government (Boris is a second hand Trump).
7. There are massive protests for climate change because people care about that no matter where they are from.
8. Hamilton. The Brits love Hamilton. Color me shocked, but apparently there’s no bad vibes from Brits about the Revolutionary War and they love making fun of the monarchy as much as the next country.
9. Similar to above but the general shopping is the same – H&M, Topshop, Gap, etc. You can shop in British brand stores as well, but if you’re homesick H&M is always here for you.
10. Domino’s is still the best delivery pizza. And they do the same deals as the States. College kids need not fear.
11. Speaking of takeout – Uber eats is a thing here along with Deliveroo (Postmates equivalent). And there’s a filter for “American” cuisine.
12. Like New York or DC or really any city with public transport, don’t talk to anyone on said public transport. This is a no socializing zone.
13. Some of the houses in London are painted all sorts of colors, reminding me of big cities like San Francisco where the residents often do the same.
14. You have to pay for plastic shopping bags in grocery stores, just like in America. (P.S. please have reusable bags on hand, the environment appreciates your effort)
15. Different parts of the country have different accents.
16. There are multiple grocery stores, but as in the US, there is Aldi and Whole Foods.
17. Chipotle has made its way to London.
18. Flights get delayed or canceled just as often in London as they do at any major airport in the US (thanks British Airways, American Airlines, United, etc.).
19. Everyone talks about the weather when they have nothing else to say to you.
20. Brits are as obsessed with their sports as Americans. Rugby/Soccer is to Brits what Football/Basketball is to Americans.
I’m sure the list could go on, and feel free to send me your favorite things that are the same between the UK and the US. I also know there are quite a lot of differences – ‘jumper’ means sweater and ‘trainers’ are sneakers, two things that would have made a couple parts of Harry Potter make more sense to me. But, I like focusing on the aspects that are similar because it keeps away the homesickness and reminds me that while I may be an immigrant, I can fit in pretty well in my new home.