A move to another country is a big deal. There will be culture shocks, language barriers, and unusual climates. There is the added pressure of wanting to fit in, make friends and not offend anyone. As people, we want to do well and be accepted.
With moving comes other, more severe implications, too. Like ensuring you don’t get into any legal trouble.
Even with a country that speaks the same language as you, it’s possible to get mixed up with specific phrases and idioms that aren’t common at home. The UK is a perfect example of a complicated move.
Here are five things to consider when moving to the UK.
The weather is an essential topic in the UK. It’s a conversation that happens in almost every setting. Use it for an ice breaker, small talk, or an excuse to leave.
The weather in the UK is always unpredictable, so there’s always something to talk about in conversation. People complain about rain as equally as they complain about the sun. One is too cold, and the other is too hot. No matter what the weather is, you should probably find something to complain about. Don’t let the clouds fool you; sunburn is still very prevalent. And as soon as there is the slightest bit of sun, everyone goes crazy for BBQs and beer gardens.
Tips are a very American thing. Tips in the UK are based on the quality of service and nothing more. There is no standard 20% of the tax calculations or an expected amount. It’s usually no more than £5 and is limited to restaurant service only. Usually, there’s a communal tip jar, and employees have the choice to discreetly inform you whether or not the tip will go to them, the management, or everyone. You can then decide whether or not to tip. It’s customary to tip when you know it’s going to your particular server. Tips are also reserved for restaurant service only.
Do your taxes right
It’s important to consider your tax obligations when moving to the UK. Many taxes can catch you out and confuse you if you’re not familiar with them. In addition, other countries tend to make you do your taxes. However, most tax is done for you in the UK straight from your paycheck before it hits your bank account.
Another tax is council tax, but that is a separate tax based on where you live and what type of housing you live in. You will have to organize the payments for this yourself based on a letter you receive when you move in.
These taxes all contribute to different things. If you can, register to vote and decide how these taxes are spent.
The UK, Great Britain, and England are different things!
The names thrown around the British Isles may seem the same to others, but it’s a very personal thing to the British.
Great Britain is the island’s name, including surrounding islands like the Isle of Man and Ireland. The UK is political, consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Scots, Welsh and Irish all have their own national identities separate from the UK and Britain. Therefore, calling a Scottish person English or British is considered rude.
There’s a lot of political tension surrounding national identity, so prepare for some deep conversations at the pub.
How you make tea is crucial
There is a debate on how you make a cup of tea. But, as Brits, tea is essential. And people will judge you on how you make it, regardless of how you make it.
We all know we start with a boiled kettle. But the debate comes from what order it all goes in the mug. The most common way is the tea bag, water, milk, and sugar. But, you can mix up the order. Teabag, milk, sugar, water. Teabag, milk, water, sugar.
Many people outside of the UK don’t see the difference in any of these combinations. But within the UK, these differences are noticeable and the basis for a weighty argument. Don’t worry, though. Arguing about petty things is a form of endearment here.
When considering a move to the UK, think of the essential things, like taxes and the law, and fun cultural things, like how you make your tea.
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