Living in London is fun! Everyone has really cool accents, there are double-decker busses everywhere and the London underground is speedy. But there are a few things to expect/be aware of before you cross the pond (moving abroad tips here), especially if you’re moving from the United States. More about the Visa Process here.
Related: Thirteen Tips for Applying for a UK Spouse Visa
Here’s What to Expect When Moving to London
- It’s cheap to get to other countries like France especially if you use Snap Eurostar
- Transport can be expensive depending on what zone of London you live in
- Don’t expect people to talk to you on the Tube aka underground
- You MUST have tube-quette
- Being aggressive on the tube sometimes may be necessary
- You can use your contactless bank card to get on public transportation. It directly debits your account.
- Be prepared for peak and off-peak hours on the tube. Cheaper during off-peak hours
- When your transfer on the bus you have to pay again, but they’re trying to sort that out.
- You have actual privacy in restrooms and none of the little gaps like in American restrooms where everything is exposed
- No typical flushers in the bathrooms either but rather buttons
- No Walmart or Target. They’ve been replaced by Tesco’s, Asdas, Sainsbury’s.
- Confusing crosswalks
- Seeing a stop sign is very rare
- Lots of roundabouts
- Right-hand drive
- Tea all the time. I’ve been on the tube late at night and this guy told his friend I can’t wait to get home and have a cuppa tea. Lol
- Pants are trousers. Pants here are underwear.
- Z’s are replaced with s’
- How are you is replaced with “you alright”?
- Hugs are given with kisses
- People don’t really smile or make eye contact in public
- Lots of random gambling shops
- Long phone number!
- Off licence = liquor store
Related: An Expat Guide To Working in the UK
- Laundry takes forever due to front loading washing machines. My typical wash is at least an hour
- Dryers are also rare
- Your US appliances may not function even with a converter
- The water is quite hard so your hair and skin will need a different regimen
- Bathrooms often don’t have plugs except for shavers
- Plugs have on/off switches so when you think you charged your phone and it’s not charged you probably didn’t turn the plug on. oops.
- Finding stick deodorants are hard to find since they like their aerosols here. So stock up.
- Contactless bank cards mean you can tap your card to pay for things at restaurants and stores. But there is a limit on how much you can use per day before you are asked to enter your pin.
- Your pin can be required for credit card
- It’s really hard to open a bank account here and you will need lots of proof of address. Before you move change your address to your UK address if you have one or change it ASAP upon arriving.
- Free Health Care
- Free birth control
- Less access to counseling. Not as common as the US
- Stock up on contact lenses before you arrive since an international contacts prescription is often not accepted. Otherwise you can get a cheap eye exam at SpecSavers.
- Eggs will not be found in the fridge at the grocery store
- Biscuits are called cookies
- Courgette is a zucchini
- Food has a shorter shelf life here. All vegetables, fruit and meat have expiration dates on them and often don’t last more than a week and sometimes a few days
- Food that is near the expiry date will go on sale so if you’re looking for a last minute deal on something you can get food for cheap
- Grocery stores sell ready-made Indian food. I barely had a curry before moving here
- Pizza is NOT the same but you do have sausage rolls
- Loads of late night food options
- Sunday Roasts and Afternoon Tea!
FOR ALL THINGS LONDON CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING POSTS:
Five Things to Do in Notting Hill
How to Spend a Day in London
What It’s Like to Apply for a UK Visa
How to Spend Ten Days in London
What It Was Like for Me to Move to London
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