I'm about to finish up my second year living abroad, and its made me think about my time here and all I have learned and the struggles. Living abroad in London is the best thing I’ve ever done, and I wouldn’t want anyone to-be scared off by this, but there's a lot of things that change. Some things don't come up when just visiting a city or staying there for a while.
Tv It's funny the little things that take some time to get use to. Finding channels that you like if you're in a country that doesn't speak your language that will probably be CNN as its the only way to hear English. In England, I watch a lot of E4 as big bang theory is almost always on and if not there're other American sitcoms. Otherwise, I watch a lot of channel 4 for some hgtv type shows (yes I’m a dork). I also watch a lot of tvs online I keep up with my favorite us shows and have added some UK to my weekly shows (cuckoo, salvage hunters, grand design, call the midwife)
The brand game We all grew up with our favorite brand of blank, whether its food or its jeans abroad things change more than you would think. For starters, some brands have different recipes so you might be lucky enough to kind your favorite brand of potato chips or chocolate, but it just doesn't taste the same. Other times you just can’t find your favorite flavor for instance pop tarts I can get in cinnamon, but they don’t make s’mor (I just found out s’mor only came to England within the last 2 years. crazy right?) Luckily they sell it in the American section at Tesco's and Sainsbury's (I also buy Kraft mac and cheese). Lastly you just can’t find your brand it seems American companies dominate the world but you quickly find not everything is the same. Even on the high street, you think of something you need to buy maybe jeans, and you think oh ill go here, and it quickly becomes apparent that's not the place to go.
the flights The flights suck. No matter what you can’t change that. My advice is to find seats you like it's totally worth is for economy plus (if I could afford it I would only fly 1st class internationally unlike domestic its an entirely different experience). I like windows of bulkhead you can sleep against the wall but still get in and out without bothering the person next to you.
healthcare I’m so against British health care its crazy but I registered, and you have to know that going to the hospital will be the worst experience you ever imagine. If you can afford to get a platinum Amex you get into 1st class lounges, but more importantly, you can call them, and they’ll set you up with a private clinic and the right doctor.
a job This is weird because I don’t think of it tell I moved here at all, but 1st of all my visa only allows 21 hours that's pretty standard for a student visa. The other thing is in the US we think of our social security as our identity number I never really thought of what a social security number was until I moved away. Anyways in England, you need a National Insurance Number, which you need to apply for it, and then you can apply for jobs.
transport I can’t drive and not dare to learn here so its public transport uber bus, and the tube. I find that it was very easy and.
yelp- no one uses it so it docent really work I still haven’t found an alternative and rely on magazines and referrals (old fashion).
Deliveroo- my favorite British app you get food almost anywhere, and it takes around 20 minutes on average and all on the app
being an outsider
you’ll miss American holidays everyone has a day off and you're in school or your off from school for what feels like no real reason. Thanksgiving is the hardest I want to be home a lot of people celebrate Thanksgiving now in London but it's not the same.
- time change sucks my advice you live life like it's not going to happen and just take it in stride. The worst part is no one feels bad in Utah I tell them I’ve just gotten back from London, and people say oh poor baby and in London, I say I just got back from California and the same reaction
this is impossible everyday purchases I suggest not converting Starbucks prices will just give headaches, but you’ll need to take a step back and think about it when shopping.