So, you’re moving to London from the US. Now that the decision’s been made, you should learn more about the city. Brits are different from Americans, and sometimes so much that culture shock hits. So, don’t go fully unprepared, and help yourself by reading about some everyday British habits.
Moving to London? Here Are Things to Know About the UK, the Land Across the Pond
Relocating to the UK sounds easy enough. They speak English, have a Queen in a palace, and drive on the left side. However, there are some quirks to learn about, too. So, before we get into some local habits, we feel it is vital to introduce the UK.
Some facts to remember are:
- The United Kingdom is an island nation in northwest Europe. It is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland,
- The official language is English,
- The capital city is London,
- The UK has a population of 67,886,004,
- Their government is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and they have a Queen (Elizabeth II) and a Prime Minister (Boris Johnson)
- The national currency is the British Pound Sterling, or GBP (£1 = $1,36)
- The climate is overall temperate, and temperatures in both colder and warmer seasons are low to average.
Questions such as, “is moving to London cheap” and “can I move to London without a job” are difficult to answer because a lot depends on your budget. When you know the climate is erratic, you can figure out what to pack, but buying and renting new accommodation in the city is best done with attention to detail.
Obtaining a work visa is easy when relocating for employment, and it could be easy with moving abroad for love and living with a partner. Still, for any information you need about immigrating, you can turn to the UK embassy for help.
Local Habits that Don’t Cost a Thing and Could Make You a Londoner Fast
When relocating to London, or any time we’re moving internationally, we need to get educated on some everyday things people do there. Since Brits are very different from Americans, it may be hard at first to live there and fit in.
Some stereotypes about Brits are actually common, such as tea time. Tea is free – in your or a friend’s house, and often very cheap in shops for taking it on the go. Coffee does exist in the UK; it is just not as vital as tea is. Find a flavor to your liking, and you’ll see how fast you’ll fit in with the new neighbors and co-workers.
Standing In Orderly Lines, or Queueing, Is a Thing. Really.
On the list of what to know before moving to London, this one might be completely new. Londoners don’t mind waiting in queues. If you’ve ever had someone pass you in a line, you know how annoying and unfair that feels. Well, when you move overseas to the English capital, that won’t ever happen to you. Just don’t do it to anyone else. We’ve warned you.
Moving to the UK Means Apologizing for Nothing In Particular
No, you’re not crazy; British people are sarcastic and ironic. On the other hand, a prevalent British habit is apologizing. They apologize when they pass each other on the street a little too close together, in conversation with a friend, or for the weather (at some point, apologizing for this will not be weird at all.) The quickest way to learn about living overseas is to learn etiquette, or in this case, saying ‘sorry.’
If a Londoner’s Habit Costs, It’s Got to Do With Pubs or Football (European Kind)
Americans often wonder if British people spend all their time in pubs, and the answer is a resounding yes. A study has found that an average Brit spends around 14 months and £90,000 in pubs during a lifetime. It’s where everything happens – food, beers, socializing, and football matches. As one of the best places to live abroad, the city can offer various pubs to choose from.
It is pretty easy to make friends in a pub, too, as the standard age group at the place is people aged between 25 and 44. As an integral part of British culture, some of the oldest pubs in the city date back to the 15th century. If that’s not a taste of tradition, nothing is.
Living There Means Accepting Their Love of Football
If you get roped into a discussion about football (which we in the US call soccer,) it might be better to say nothing until you’re fully immersed in that part of the culture. They have a song called “The Three Lions,” whose chorus says: “football’s coming home.” This chant always comes up whenever the English national team plays.
Modern football was invented in England in the 19th century, and the sport is so popular that entire families have season tickets. It is best not to challenge the usage of the phrase “football’s coming home” unless you want to be the one coming back home, too. If you wish to fit in, go to pubs and football matches. It might mean spending a lot, but that answers the question, “how much money should I save before moving to London?”
Londoners Can Seem Either Too Nice or Too Cold – Language Has Everything to Do With It
Figuring out how to move to London and live abroad seems easy enough because they speak English all over the place. However, they tend to use sarcasm and irony, which could make you feel like you’re going insane sometimes.
If you hear a Brit say: “Yeah, not bad,” it could really mean that things are going well, but it more often means something’s wrong. The same goes for “It isn’t quite what I had in mind.” This polite expression will often mean “what the bloody hell is this?!” than what it actually means.
British Idioms and Slang That Could Make You Work on Your English Again
Have you ever heard a Brit say: “Bob’s your uncle!” or “Everything’s gone Pete Tong”? Unless you have an uncle named Bob, in which case you might think the Brit you’re speaking to knows something they shouldn’t, having this conversation will feel as if you have to break the language barrier despite everyone speaking English.
Londoners also use Cockney rhyming slang, believed to have originated in the 19th century. The premise is to place in a sentence words that rhyme with the word you want to use. For example, “Everything’s gone Pete Tong” is a Cockney phrase saying, “Everything’s gone wrong.”
Here are some common idioms and slang you might hear:
- Bob’s your uncle – by ending a sentence with this phrase, you imply everything will be fine,
- Bits ‘n bobs – a random selection of things (“I may have some bits ‘n bobs in the fridge”)
- Chinwag – to have a long conversation (“We’ve just had a good old chinwag”)
- Mind your p’s and q’s – mind your manners (p’s and q’s are “please” and “thank you”)
- Nosh – food (“Call Josh for a nosh at the pub”)
- Porkies – Shortened from “pork pies” and used as Cockney rhyming slang for “lies”
- Rosie Lee – Cockney rhyming slang for “tea”
Two famous UK actors were asked to explain British slang to the magazine Vanity Fair. You can watch that video below to learn more about speaking like a Brit and impress everyone when you keep in touch with friends.
If You Want to Fit In With Londoners, Start Planning Your International Move
Moving to London from America is a marvelous opportunity, and we hope you’re ready for it now. An international moving company can help you with moving overseas and getting all your ducks in a row. They provide a packing service and anything else you might need out of relocation services of an overseas shipping company.
Why is it better to hire an overseas moving company anyway? Besides the obvious benefits like storage units to keep everything in or the added overseas car shipping, there’s the whole thing of figuring out the rest of your life in the British capital. If you follow our tips on common English habits, we think you’ll be the coolest American to live in England, ever.