Expat Guide

Home and Family

Village houses

Home and family life in the UK is quite similar to the American lifestyles. The British go to work, go to the cinema, watch TV, cook, clean, love their pets, have parent teacher meetings, follow sports and so on. The differences are subtle. You might find it difficult to connect with the people in the UK region you're living as they may not be as open or friendly as where you might have lived before. Your office colleagues may regularly go to a pub for lunch and have an alcoholic drink with their midday meal. UK employee rights are much better than in the USA, there are mandatory paid holidays (over 5 weeks) and paid maternity leave.

On TV there will be British sitcoms, drama and soap operas, with a sprinkling of imported American TV, though it has grown over the years. Most of UK cinema experiences are the top American films, with a few British films as well. We cook different recipes and some things have different names or are pronounced differently. Cleaning, well, it's just as tedious anywhere, but you may struggle to find some of your favourite products.

The top sports are football (soccer), rugby and cricket, instead of NFL, basketball and baseball. You can still find some American sports, but not as much, they're not as popular.

It's normal not to have a car, but instead take the bus or train, cycle and walk. Most of the product brands will be unknown to a newcomer, it makes shopping an adventure. If you have one of the common small fridges (dorm size), it's a daily adventure.

Children and Parenting

These days you can find most information via the Internet.


The structure of the education system in the UK is a bit confusing to a parent moving from the US, it is slightly similar to the US system, but in many ways very different.

Furnishings & Appliances

Though for the most part the appliances and furnishings are the same, there are a few differences that it helps to know about, like what the little cap is for at the bottom of the dishwasher, what


The UK healthcare system is entirely different to the US, there is a National Health Service operated by the government to provide medical care to the public.


Most homes in the UK are brick or stone. Most buildings are attached on one or both sides to another home.

Utilities - Gas, Electricity, Water, Phone, TV, Internet

Be forewarned, the utility companies such as electric, gas, and telephone, do go out of their way to get customers, and seem always to claim to be the cheapest.

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UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.