american Culture Shock in the UK

8 Things That Cause Culture Shock For An American In The UK

Always make sure to mind the gap!

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I am currently spending a month in London for a study abroad dance program and I've noticed a lot of differences between the US and the UK. Even though they speak English in the UK, it was still somewhat of a culture shock coming to my first European country.

Here are 8 big things I noticed that are different.

1. Iced coffee doesn’t exist

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As an avid Dunkin' drinker, I was determined to find the best iced coffee when I got to London. I went to Pret A Manger for the first time, one of London's chain coffee shops, and ordered an iced coffee. After a few seconds of pause, I could tell the man was very confused. I asked if they served cold coffee and apparently that isn't a thing across the pond.

So, I've been substituting my fix for an "iced Americano," which is basically iced espresso with milk... cue the shakes.

2. They drive on the left side of the road

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Okay, this was the definitely the most confusing thing for me once I got here. I was expecting to see all different models of cars than I'm used to in the US, but I recognized a bunch of them. However, driving on the left side of the highway from the airport was the weirdest experience. Every car I looked at out the window that didn't have a person in the left front seat gave me a mini heart attack. I definitely thought there was no one driving a few cars because I'm so used to the driver being on the left side. I had to trick my brain into not panicking when I saw no passengers.

3. You can go to bars and clubs at 18

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Getting into bars and clubs with my US ID is definitely a treat since I can't legally drink in the US with it. The thought of bringing my passport as a backup form of identification to a bar is a little terrifying but you do what ya gotta do. I've already been to a few pubs where I've been asked to immediately show my IDs because I apparently look like I'm 12. Jokes on them because I'll be celebrating my 21st birthday while I'm across the pond.

4. Water is nowhere to be found

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One might ask, "How can you survive without water?" Well, IDK myself but the people here somehow do. Public water fountains are nowhere to be found. As part of a study abroad program for dance, I am drinking as much water as I can whenever I can. Water is also enjoyed at room temperature. Iced drinks are rare to find.

5. They use pounds and everything is more expensive

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Pounds, confusing right?!? I've never used anything besides American dollars so I knew it would take me time to get used to a different currency. If you thought things in the US were expensive, the value of a pound in the UK is much higher. It took me a few days to realize that 1 pound isn't a bill, but rather a coin. The smallest bill is 5 pounds.

6. Tipping at restaurants and taking home leftovers are not a thing

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In American culture, we're used to giving a 20% tip on top of a bill at a restaurant. Well, here they don't do that. Instead, you pay a service fee, which is included in the total cost of the bill. Also if you don't finish your meal, you won't be asked if you want a to-go box. The meals are portioned a certain way so they're manageable for a single person and food is wasted.

7. No air conditioning

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I have had the opportunity of experiencing some of the most beautiful weather in London over the past few weeks with bright blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. With this beautiful weather comes the heat, which leads to a lot of sweating. Most homes, restaurants, pubs, and shops don't have air conditioning due to the cost.

8. Military time is the main notation for time

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24-hour notation is widely used in the UK for things such as timetables and technical applications, however, 12-hour notation is used more in everyday life in conversation. Since I've never followed the 24-hour notation, I'm constantly subtracting 12 from anything past 13:00 to make sure I'm on time for scheduled events.

Cover Image Credit:

Lindsey McEvoy

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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7 Things Never To Do While Visiting London

Abandon all hope, ye who use public transport during rush hour.

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As I've said before, London is an interesting place to be, however, there are a handful of things that should be avoided. Of course, mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned, but maybe if you read this, you'll know better faster.

1. Do not stand on the left.

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... of the escalator. Some people prefer to walk down to their train, and if you're in the way, it's as if you were sent from hell itself, especially during rush hour

2. Do not take the Central Line.

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Unless you're going to the Museum of London or St. Paul's. Or you're into weird smells and clinging to the pole because there is no such thing as a smooth ride. To each their own.

3. Do not attempt to get anything to eat in Leicester Square after 4:30.

Tenor

Leicester (pronounced like "Lester") Square is one of the best places to grab some grub in Central London because of the sheer amount of choices. Just plan to eat early because everyone else knows that very thing and you'll end up waiting an eternity for a table, then food.

4. Do not rely completely on an app.

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It's totally fine if you have no clue where you going or how public transport works, but once you get the hang of it, you're allowed to trust your own judgment. Maybe you don't have to get off the train then switch twice before getting there instead of riding a few stops more and switching once.

5. Do not attempt to take the Tube during Rush Hour when you have other options.

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Just take the bus if you have to to the national railways. The SWR trains are slow, but at least you're not packed in like sardines and there are usually open seats.

6. Do not forget to check for student discounts and bring your ID.

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Remember this when you go to the palaces, it could save you six pounds and make a real difference if you're going with others.

7. Do not let anything ruin your day.

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There will be a lot of things that will try to ruin your day... Like people who intentionally break some rules above, lines (Sorry, queues), poor navigation skills, etc. Still, you're in London. Savor your visit, and don't let any mistakes or people without common decency ruin your visit.

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