How to adjust to life as an American in the UK

06.05.16
3 minute read
Tagged:

Making the hop across the pond from the US to the UK is an increasingly popular move.

In fact, it's estimated that there are almost 200,000 Americans currently residing in the UK. It's not that surprising - we all speak the same language (kinda), have a love of sport - and Americans just love the rain (that last one might be a lie). TransferWise has offices in London and New York, and we have Brits and Americans working in both. So, we grabbed them all for a chat and found out what their biggest surprises were when they made the move to the UK. From setting up a bank account to not getting burnt when you wash your hands - here are some obstacles you'll meet as an American in the UK:

What the faucet?

It's the classic complaint. Why does the UK have separate taps for their hot and cold water? Do they like getting scalded? Or frozen? It's unclear, something to do with 'period charm' apparently. One suggestion from our team was to quickly wash your hands under the hot tap before the water hits full temperature. (And if you get burnt, use the cold tap to remedy the situation). Practical.

Late night drinks

While Britain is famed for its pubs (rightly so) - finding a drink past about 11pm is almost impossible, unless you want to hit a club. Even in London. Strict licensing laws mean that many places call last orders early(ish) - so keep an ear out for the barman and make sure you drag out that last round. If you're on the hunt for great places for a pint, check out our post on the best apps for getting setup in the UK here.

What's with the lack of dryers?

Britain. One of the dampest countries in the world. And yet, while they have washing machines just like the US, they rarely have dryers. So if you're renting a new place - ask the question, or check out your local laundrette. (Or go to work damp).

Opening a bank account? Good luck.

The biggest pet hate of all of those we asked. "You can't open a bank account without an address. You can't get an address without a bank account." Banks make you jump through plenty of hoops when getting setup in the UK. If you've just moved (or plan to), check out our one-stop guide to opening a bank account in the UK.

Single glazed windows

As above. Britain is damp, cold, windy. Probably because a lot of the buildings are super old (but maybe because Brits just love complaining about the weather) a lot of the windows are still single glazed. Dreaming of a charming cottage in the countryside? Get ready for the drafts.

Riding the tube? Silence please.

One ex-Philadelphia resident was impressed by the 'etiquette' on London's public transport in the mornings. While there's plenty of overcrowding during rush-hour, Londoner's just aren't up for a chat on the tube. Apparently they just like to keep to themselves. Eye contact is best avoided...


Something we've missed? Let us know in the comments - or on Twitter.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more