The U.K. is a country known for the Queen, fish and chips and endless amounts of tea, which are all aspects I have grown to love.
As someone who was born and raised in England, I have grown up in a culture where we despise traffic, we say sorry all the time, it rains 24 hours a day and tea is the answer to everyone’s problems.
The day I decided to study abroad in America, my parents said, “Make sure you don’t get fat,” “Don’t buy a gun,” and “Don’t hang around with drug dealers” (as if there aren’t any in England). I have been on family holidays to America before, but coming to a country by myself for the first time actually opened my eyes to embrace the differences.
While we may speak the same language, being in the U.S. has been a culture shock as the ever-increasing American culture shown on TV and in movies has proven to not be the same.
First, how does anyone finish a plate of food? The portion sizes are about the size of my whole body and I always end up in a food coma halfway through. No wonder there’s an obesity problem.
I asked for a regular meal at McDonald’s, and it felt like a meal for my whole family. Even buying produce at Walmart, everything is 10 times bigger than they are in the U.K. It feels like the food is going to swallow me.
Everywhere I’ve been, I haven’t seen any healthy options, so people basically eat grease daily which equates to heart disease and diabetes. Even trying to go on a diet and be healthy here is impossible when the cuisine is burgers, chips, waffles and milkshakes, which I can no longer bear.
Another thing that’s absurd is that Americans drive on the right-hand side, whereas in the U.K. we drive on the left. Whenever I get into my friend's car, I pray that an accident doesn’t happen.
Brits get mocked because we drive on the ‘wrong’ side, but in America, I feel like people just drive in the middle of the road turning left, right and center at every corner; especially with the four-way junctions and the stop signs around campus, which are ridiculous. Why do you need so many? No one is going to die if you’re driving 2 mph.
The good thing though is that Americans don’t have to suffer the pain of roundabouts, those devilish round fat circles plonked onto busy junctions that are supposed to alleviate traffic when all they end up doing is causing more accidents and building traffic where no one can get past.
Tipping is also something that I’m not used to, as we don’t tip in the U.K. (because Brits are stingy). It’s all well that we should provide extra for the service we get, but if the service is appalling, I’m not giving you anything; even if the service is out of this world, whether you sing to me, give me a discount or even give free drinks.
Tipping is a no from me. People may think I’m horrid, but I’m not giving away money when I’m poor and broke, I need it (to shop).
In the U.K., people swear all the time, and we insult people, but in a joking way. Americans are not people to give insults to as they often take it the wrong way, and I’ve noticed that people don’t swear as much.
Brits love to swear. It’s in our nature, as we use it for compliments. It’s just fun to shout out “f---, s---, bastard, tw*t, d!ckhead, pr!ck” to anyone who does the slightest thing wrong.
Sometimes we even call our friends these words since they just take it lightly. If I said any of these words to an American, I would end up in the hospital or dead in a ditch. While I’ve been here, I try not to say these words in public, but sometimes I cannot help it because it’s my forte.
Slang. American and British slang is so different. Sometimes I understand because I’ve seen a lot of American movies and TV shows from a young age; Nickelodeon and Disney Channel were my life, so I have somewhat of a grasp on them.
My favorite two words I have learned here are b---in’ and Gucci. Those are just fantastic words I will continue using when I go home where I’ll say, “That’s so Gucci” and “totally b---in’.” It’s great.
However, I have noticed that when I talk to people, I have to switch to the American term, i.e. petrol to gas, trousers to pants, trolley to shopping cart, biscuits to cookies, chocolate to candy; the list is endless.
I forget that I’m in another country and then people give me weird looks as if I’m talking Japanese. I have experienced this on various occasions; especially when ordering at fast food places.
Does anyone not understand what I’m saying? I know I’m British, but I’m not even posh because I’m from a ghetto part of England where everyone is so unposh, unclassy and we wear sweatpants and pajamas when going to the supermarket.
All Americans think British people are posh and drink tea all day like we haven’t got jobs to go to, and all British people think Americans are fat people who do f---. We all just love to judge one another; it’s not my fault we live in a world where we just look at someone and instantly see something wrong.