19 Strange Things All Americans Will See If They Take A Trip Across The Pond

19 Strange Things All Americans Will See If They Take A Trip Across The Pond

Prepare to be properly gobsmacked.

Last year, I was lucky enough to study abroad at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England. I had the experience of a lifetime but it definitely took a bit of time to get used to the differences in their culture.

1. They ask everyone "are you alright?"

Whenever you have any sort of interaction with an English person, they will almost always start the conversation with "you alright?" For the first couple of weeks, I thought everyone was concerned for my wellbeing when in reality it is just their way of saying "how are you?" like we do in America.

2. Eating baked beans with literally every meal

Brits will put baked beans on anything that's edible it seems. They eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A traditional English breakfast isn't complete without baked beans!

3. They celebrate the 5th of November by having their children build a man and set him on fire

Every year, on the 5th of November, Brits celebrate the capture and death of Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes was working with a Catholic group of men to kill King James I. They had a plan to blow up Parliament with copious amounts of gunpowder when King James I would be visiting on opening day (November 5th, 1605). Their plan was foiled and Guy Fawkes was caught in the act. He was then tortured and executed. Now to celebrate the holiday British children will build an effigy of Guy Fawkes and have a bonfire to burn him. Fireworks are also optional!

4. Being obsessed with Donald Trump

Every single time someone heard my American accent the first thing they asked me was what I thought about Donald Trump. They seem to talk about him more than anyone in the United States does.

5. Not understanding the greatness of ranch dressing

The entire time I was in England I couldn't find ranch anywhere. Even at McDonald's!

6. Calling all desserts "pudding"

Pudding has so many different meanings in England. It can basically be used to describe any "sweet or savory" dish. So the possibilities are endless.

7. Only having pancakes a certain time of the year because they are "seasonal"

I was really craving pancakes one day so I went to a Tesco and they told me that they didn't have any pancake batter because it is only "seasonal." I have no idea when that season is but don't expect to eat pancakes any other time.

8. Saying "cheers!" can mean several different things

In England "cheers" can be used in a couple different circumstances. It can mean "thank you," "goodbye," or it can be used as a sign off in email or letters.

9. Having two faucets at one sink

I'm really not sure who thought this was a good idea. You can either pick from burning hot water on one side or on the other side freezing cold water.

10. Their love for fried chicken

If you ever go to England you will definitely run into multiple fried chicken restaurants. The Brits LOVE their fried chicken, especially KFC. Recently a bunch of KFC restaurants in the U.K. had to close early because they ran out of chicken!

11. Putting zig-zagged lines on roads

The first time I saw these zig-zagging lines on the road I was very confused. I had never seen anything like it. The zig-zag lines can be seen at crosswalks in the U.K. to warn drivers that there could be pedestrians on the road.

12. Their love for Robbie Williams

Ever heard of Robbie Williams before? Because if you're going to the U.K. you will be sure to. Robbie Williams is nearly as worshipped as the Queen over there. For some reason this guy is like God to them.

13. Give you a "Sprite" when you order lemonade

The typical lemonade we are used to drinking in the U.S. or selling at stands as kids is non-existent in England. If you order a lemonade they will give you something that tastes closer to sprite than lemonade. Lemonade is also usually clear in England which was shocking as well.

14. Having their washer and dryer in the kitchen

If you ever go into a British home and can't find the washer and dryer you will have to check the kitchen first.

15. Also somehow the washer and dryer are one machine?

I don't know about you but I've always been used to having a washing machine and a separate drying machine. Honestly, this is probably a good idea I'm not sure why we haven't adopted it in the U.S.

16. Never refrigerating eggs

This was another shocking sight for me. It felt very weird buying eggs that were just on the counter and not in a refrigerated area.

17. Their equivalent to Dollar Tree is called Pound World or Pound Land

Big fan of these for their low prices but there were a lot of sexual jokes surrounding these two.

18. Having an "on" and "off" switch on all electrical outlets

Not going to lie, I did forget to turn on the switch sometimes and thought my charger was broke forever when it wasn't working.

19. Paying extra for grocery or shopping bags

The bags only cost a couple cents, but I found myself balancing all of the groceries in my hands a couple times if I forgot to bring a reusable bag with me. This is a great idea to save plastic, but I was definitely confused at first.

Spending a semester in England was the best decision I have ever made. While it took some getting used to, I came to love the different experiences England had to offer and I cannot wait to go back and visit sometime!

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Clayton

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

4 Ways To Be Present While Traveling

The intangible, yet most important, part of traveling.


In the summer of 2017 I left the country for the first time. I spent two weeks on the island of Java in the country of Indonesia, and I fell in love with the new-ness of culture, people, language, and food in a way that I didn't previously believe was possible. I have fallen in love with every place I've visited so far, and each country and city has taught me something different. Each one has taught me to love a new location, to be okay with a new bed (if there is one), and to eat what's given to you (no matter how strange).

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live here in Missouri, I love being in a comfortable home, and I'm a picky eater, but the adrenaline rush of being in complete oblivion of a place unknown to me is so addicting. Since my trip to Indonesia I have also traveled to England, France, and Jordan. All are beautiful in their own way, and I don't have a favorite (please don't ask me to pick). My tips about immersion will all be based on my first trip – to Indonesia. These five tips on how to truly be present in a place you're traveling to are not about things you can buy, or tours you pay for, or even the luxury of places you stay, but instead are focused on the intangible things such as friendships, language, and change of the heart.

1. Stay a while.

No one is asking you to stay forever, but spend enough time in one place that you are able to make a friend. It could be the barista at the coffee shop you go to, or someone at the park, but at least a week is enough time to make this happen. One week will allow you to see the way the local people live, as well as give you time to see all that there is to see in your travel destination.
I stayed for two weeks in Indonesia, and volunteered at an English Center where I made friends that I will have for a lifetime. I was able to go on gelato dates with my new friends, and still have time to see a volcano, go on a float trip, and conquer my fear of heights (kind of) by jumping off of a 35-40 foot cliff into water. Anything is possible to explore if you stay long enough.

2. Find the little things.

This is when knowing local people comes in handy. Your new local friends will suggest the best places to eat, tour, take pictures of, and where the best local coffee shops are. Don't fall into the trap of your own imagination or the trap your own taste buds, step outside of yourself and live like a local.
On the island of Java there is bound to be great coffee (I mean…there has to be, right?) and some of the best coffee I found was actually in my hotel. None of the "chain" coffees came close to the taste of the tiny espresso-sized mugs of coffee I got at the hotel's breakfast.

3. It's not about you.

You're soaking in a new experience, not being your own experience. So many times I see travelers and friends leave the country expecting to change the world with their presence, but they're not letting their presence be changed by the world. When you travel to your next location, look for ways you can be educated about the place you're in, listen to your new friends and strangers, and find every excuse to spend the most time outside of your hotel room.

4. Rest.

You aren't going to remember your trip if your mind isn't rested enough to store more memories. Long flights and travel wear people out very quickly, and your excursions aren't going to be as exciting if you're not awake to remember them. However, if you need to adjust to a large time difference, don't go to bed until 8 pm the first day that you're there. That will allow your body to readjust to the time zone quicker so you'll be more rested for the days ahead.

Wherever you're going, I hope you learn the most you can and that you immerse yourself into a beautiful culture. Even if you don't understand it at first, allow yourself to be open to differences. Stop comparing your destination to "what's back home" and just let yourself be! Travel is meant to be an addition to your cultural portfolio, not a comparison. I hope these tips help you to have a better understanding of how to venture into a new culture. Have a great trip!

Related Content

Facebook Comments