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What you should avoid saying to a British Expatriate

What you should avoid saying to a British Expatriate

Life as a British expatriate in America brings with it many challenges, joys and new experiences. If you come across a British expatriate, you may be tempted to say something that could easily be construed as offensive and inappropriate. There are many common comments that British expats may hear, not just once, but a multitude of times. Some can be quite amusing and can be easily brushed off with a smile and a witty comment in return. But other comments can be harder to digest. So what should you avoid saying to a British expatriate?

Life as a British expatriate in America brings with it many challenges, joys and new experiences. If you come across a British expatriate, you may be tempted to say something that could easily be construed as offensive and inappropriate. What should you avoid saying to a British expatriate? Ҭ

I Love Your Accent

This is the most common statement that British expatriates will hear from Americans once they move to America. At first, this can seem rather amusing to a British expatriate as they are treated like British royalty and stopped every time they visit the supermarket, bank or mall. But after a while, it suddenly dawns on many British expatriates that this is not so complimentary after all. To be constantly told that you have a nice accent roughly translates into: "You're foreign because you talk differently to me".

Many British expatriates find it very difficult to assimilate into the American culture when they are constantly reminded that they are different. In reality, British expatriates do not want to be known as "Joe from England", but as the neighbor from across the road.

Do You Know John Brown from London?ӬӬ

Many British expatriates are asked questions from strangers about whether or not they know so-and-so from a region of the UK (usually London). Although the United Kingdom is a small island nation that does not mean to say that every British citizen or resident knows one another! It would be quite hard to know all of the 8 million people who live in London!

You Must Really Miss LondonӬӬ

It would not be bad to say this if the person with whom you are conversing is actually from London. It is a very kind gesture for people to take note of the fact that British expatriates are often very homesick and miss the comforts and familiarity of home. But if the person with whom you are speaking is from another region of the UK, they will usually find this to be a very amusing comment! Rather than put your foot in it, do not assume that every British citizen you come across is from London. Ҭ

These are some of the most common comments that British expatriates will hear, not just once, but a multitude of times once they move to America. Some can be quite amusing and can be easily brushed off with a smile and a witty comment in return. But other comments can be harder to digest and simply highlight difference, rather than show true acceptance of another culture. 

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