How to adjust to life as an Australian in the UK

12.05.16
3 minute read
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Making the hop from Australia to the UK is an increasingly popular move.

In fact, it's estimated that there are almost 113,000 Australians currently residing in the UK. It's not that surprising - we all speak the same language (kinda), have a love of sport - and Australians just love the rain (that last one might be a lie). So, we grabbed some Australian TransferWise customers and team members for a chat to find out what their biggest surprises were when they moved 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 Australian in the UK:

Park nudity

At the slightest chance of sunshine, Brits head to the park. And strip off.

Now Aussies love to sunbathe (or in ‘Australian’ sunbake), but at the beach. Obviously. The Brits are more than happy to get down to their swimwear in the park. It takes some getting used to.

And if it gets above 15 degrees you can be sure they'll be BBQing as well. Toasty.

Riding the tube? Silence please.

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. Unless they're saying sorry, they say that a lot. Eye contact best avoided...

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.

Beer (and drinking in public)

There are two points we have to cover here:

  1. Warm beer: Most things in the UK are cold. The climate particularly. Perhaps in an effort to make up for that, the beer just isn't cold enough. Brits love an ale - traditionally served just below room temperature (cellar temperature, in fact). Basically, it's warm. _

  2. Drinking in public:

"Drinking, on the street, in the park, on the train. In Oz we can’t drink in public. It isn’t just that, it's that a pub will let you take glasses out on to the street, across the road to your flat, just to grab your jacket before tottering back across the road and rejoining the 500 person party on the street."_

Bank details, on bank cards

Since the dawn of banking Australians have been memorising their BSB and account numbers.

The Brits have found a simple solution.

They put them on your bank cards. Genius.

Washing Machines. In the kitchen.

There's not much more to say here. It's just weird.

(Although on reflection, practical if you want to wash your clothes while you cook dinner).

Alright, mate?

One of the biggest points of confusion for Australians in our London office. 'Why does everyone keep asking me if I'm alright?'

Well, they don't mean it literally. From cabbies to waiters to the Queen (probably) - it's just a British way of saying hello.

(And bizarrely, the video above is a great explainer of nailing the phrase).

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.

Parking against the flow of traffic

Yep, in the UK you can park facing against the flow of traffic.

Doesn't sound like a massive deal (although it's weird) - but if you're a cyclist expect regular panic thinking your cruising the wrong way up a one way street. This applies to footpaths as well. There doesn't seem to be any convention on avoiding others. Keep to the left!


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

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