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Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Old Apr 7th 2008, 2:24 am
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Default Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

If you were giving information to a person who is considering moving to England and you wanted to prepare them for what to expect.

What are the best and worse things about living in the UK in terms of economics,culture,education system,dating relations protocal north uk vs south uk,driving and road conditions,food & drink,pub culture vs other social outtings,british opinion and reaction to foreigners living in the uk in the north uk vs south uk,the varying opinions on multi-culturalism in the north uk vs south uk,interracial dating in north vs south,level of anti americanism north vs south uk,level of multi-culturalism acceptance in Scotland vs north uk vs south uk?

Would a Black American stand out like a sore thumb and experience more racism or verbal taunts iyo in Scotland than north uk vs south uk,or based on what you've seen in the past this matter is a none issue?Are there any other realities a person should consider before deciding to live in the UK?BTW,I'm looking at a 12 month split of my time between the States and England.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences and hope you can appreciate that these questions represent my desire to learn and not meant to insult
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:14 am
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Hello Yankee,
I'm originally from Scotland so can only speak for there.
The Scottish are a friendly bunch to outsiders (except if you're English, which I find embarrasing!).
Any verbal/racist taunts you would get would be from idiots for example if you were walking home and someone shouted the "n' word at you the chances are they would also shout something derogatory to me too if I was walking past!
The UK has a rich and historic culture...castles, historic sites etc we're very interested in what the rest of the world is doing and very up to date (sometimes ahead of it) with music, movies, fashion etc
Dating protocol is the same as US, you see someone you like, you talk to them and ask them on a date!
Driving is OK but road rage (i.e. tailgating, blasting the horn and abusive gestures) is common, probably due to the crap roads and it being so busy. Food & drink is diverse and in my opinion very good. Pub culture is vibrant and enjoyable, whether it's a night on the town, after work drinks or Sunday lunch in a beer garden. Other social outings involve works night outs, birthday partys, Xmas partys, house warmings, dinner parties etc.
Multi-culturalism also depends on where you live and I've never known interracial dating to be a problem.

Other realities to consider before deciding to live in the UK
We have not seen a housing crash like parts of the US so housing is quite expensive compared to earnings ratio. Food shopping is fine we have Tescos (think Wal Mart) and Asda (owned by Wal Mart!) and Sainsburys (think better quality Wal Mart!). Depending where you are in the US, the weather in the UK can be quite bleak at times which affects the mood of the population, but when there is a nice spell of weather it shows as everyone is happy and there's a buzz about the country! Scottish weather is colder than South England weather.
Something that I never considered when moving to Australia is you won't know anyone and can feel lonely. What are you planning to work as? I find, in the UK, if you work in a company with like minded people you'll end up making friends with them
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 9:36 am
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Your questions suggest you have a choice of where you should be - which means you don't have employment.

My recommendation is go to London - it is cosmopolitain - one of the most in the World and you can get a job tomorrow. If you have a job then that deytermines where you will be.

Racist taunts - never heard them - it is no more an issue than in the US.

Social encounters are going to be easier in London / SE England than in the north just simply because the south has all of the money - but the British people in the north are actually warmer. Scotland is for specialists - I am from Glasgow and any city that is divided by football team support aligned on a religious basis - protestant / catholic may not be welcoming to blacks although there are huge Indian and Pakistani communities thriving there. But the country is beautiful and worth seeing.

A Black American would stand out 3 in London, 4 in SE england, 5 in N England and 7 in Scotland. (higher the number greater the visibility) The reaction would probably be neutral everywhere. Racism in UK tends to be anit asian rather than anti black but there have been two or three generations grown up in multicultural environments so it is a small issue. Britain is not anti American but we tend not to like George Bush. Some Americans feel the same way I would guess.

Anyway good luck - choose the summer to be in Britain and you will love every second of it
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Old Lob View Post
Your questions suggest you have a choice of where you should be - which means you don't have employment.

My recommendation is go to London - it is cosmopolitain - one of the most in the World and you can get a job tomorrow. If you have a job then that deytermines where you will be.

Racist taunts - never heard them - it is no more an issue than in the US.

Social encounters are going to be easier in London / SE England than in the north just simply because the south has all of the money - but the British people in the north are actually warmer. Scotland is for specialists - I am from Glasgow and any city that is divided by football team support aligned on a religious basis - protestant / catholic may not be welcoming to blacks although there are huge Indian and Pakistani communities thriving there. But the country is beautiful and worth seeing.

A Black American would stand out 3 in London, 4 in SE england, 5 in N England and 7 in Scotland. (higher the number greater the visibility) The reaction would probably be neutral everywhere. Racism in UK tends to be anit asian rather than anti black but there have been two or three generations grown up in multicultural environments so it is a small issue. Britain is not anti American but we tend not to like George Bush. Some Americans feel the same way I would guess.

Anyway good luck - choose the summer to be in Britain and you will love every second of it
Well, I am from Aberdeen and we hate Rangers/Celtic just for the sake of it, we don't need religion for that!!
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 11:03 am
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Worst...the weather
Best.....the rest of it
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by YankeemovingAbroad View Post
Would a Black American stand out like a sore thumb and experience more racism or verbal taunts iyo in Scotland than north uk vs south uk,or based on what you've seen in the past this matter is a none issue?Are there any other realities a person should consider before deciding to live in the UK?BTW,I'm looking at a 12 month split of my time between the States and England.
I believe that the UK are very accepting, in general, of a multi-cultural society. Most people will judge you on how you present yourself through your behaviour, manners and attitude, not on your colour or where you come from.

As an afterthought... maybe you would find this site helpful, if you haven't come across it already
http://www.uk-yankee.com/

Last edited by Emma M; Apr 7th 2008 at 12:53 pm. Reason: Added info
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

nice one
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

I might be biased but I think that the UK has a lot to offer and if you can split your time between the US and the UK till you have the desire to settle down on one side, if that is ever the case, it might be the ideal opportunity.

I've live both in the US and the UK and am originally from the UK.

In terms of economics, you really have to give more information. It seems that certain careers have better standing in one country and others the same. Career opportunities was really the main reason I came to the US. BTW taxes are alot higher in the UK.

Economics, as I said really depends on what your careers is. Other things though, you'll find that the cost of living is a lot higher than the US. For example doing the 2litre bottle of coke test, locally here in the US I pay about $1.50 in the UK it'd be closer to $3. As a driver expect to be treated as the lowest of the low. Gas is probably around $7, insurance is high as is road tax and generally everything to do with a car. Driving is generally more just being stuck in traffic, though I am a city person. Alcohol, smoking, etc is expensive. You get the picture.

In terms of multiculturalism, I think that it is how you present yourself. I think that you'll get idiots everywhere, but generally I never found it to be an issue. Though the 70's were a tough time.

The social scene is great, lots of opportunities and fun times to be had.

British opinions is about as wide and diverse as the population that lives there.

Lots of different sporting activities to watch and take part in. Football, Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Snooker, Darts, Squash, etc. Pick yourself a team and immerse yourself.

Generally I would say go for it, though before you do and especially as you are saying that you will be splitting your time between the two, look at the tax situation.

Good luck.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Nu-Shooz View Post
Worst...the weather
Best.....the rest of it
no probs with the weather in england, beats here anyday
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by YankeemovingAbroad View Post
If you were giving information to a person who is considering moving to England and you wanted to prepare them for what to expect.

What are the best and worse things about living in the UK in terms of economics,culture,education system,dating relations protocal north uk vs south uk,driving and road conditions,food & drink,pub culture vs other social outtings,british opinion and reaction to foreigners living in the uk in the north uk vs south uk,the varying opinions on multi-culturalism in the north uk vs south uk,interracial dating in north vs south,level of anti americanism north vs south uk,level of multi-culturalism acceptance in Scotland vs north uk vs south uk?

Would a Black American stand out like a sore thumb and experience more racism or verbal taunts iyo in Scotland than north uk vs south uk,or based on what you've seen in the past this matter is a none issue?Are there any other realities a person should consider before deciding to live in the UK?BTW,I'm looking at a 12 month split of my time between the States and England.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences and hope you can appreciate that these questions represent my desire to learn and not meant to insult
Good questions, but make sure you know that the entire UK is not only made up of England. I am not saying this to be rude, but I am from Scotland, and have had many, many people here in America say to me that Scotland is part of England (which it isn't of course).

You have some very good advice so far. If I think of anything else I'll post later.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Dave_Was View Post
........BTW taxes are alot higher in the UK.........
This is NOT true.

We pay at least the same and quite possibly more tax than we ever did in the UK.

And if you take the following into account, the cost of living turns out to be actually higher in the US:

- property taxes
- healthcare costs
- college tuition
- fresh produce, bread, milk and other basic food stuff

Petrol is cheaper, but you end up driving so much more that it really makes no difference.

Not to mention other important factors such as the lack of vacation time, absence of maternity/paternity provision and the fact that there is no safety net for people who fall on hard times...
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Dear Elvira,

I should have put it more like, in my case taxes in the UK are a lot more than in the US.

As with most things I should have said, depending on the circumstances, Taxes and the cost of living in the UK can be a lot higher in the UK than in the US, and it would be 'prudent' to investigate how your circumstances will affect your taxes and living expenses.

For me I drive a lot less in the US. I can actually afford to live 5 minutes from work. I rent in the US as I did in the UK and the associated costs for me are a lot less in the US. In the UK I had to fill the car up once a week. In the US once every two weeks.

Again for me my salary for working the same field is significantly more in the US than in the UK even with the terrible exchange rate.

Personal circumstances impact cost of living a lot and my reading between the lines of the OP, always a bad idea, was that he was a single person. My feeling again there would be that his cost of living will be higher in the UK.

As an aside, cost of living is not the whole story.. If I could get a reasonably secure job in my field of work tomorrow in the UK, even with a pay cut I would be on a plane soon after.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
This is NOT true.

We pay at least the same and quite possibly more tax than we ever did in the UK.

And if you take the following into account, the cost of living turns out to be actually higher in the US:

- property taxes
- healthcare costs
- college tuition
- fresh produce, bread, milk and other basic food stuff

Petrol is cheaper, but you end up driving so much more that it really makes no difference.

Not to mention other important factors such as the lack of vacation time, absence of maternity/paternity provision and the fact that there is no safety net for people who fall on hard times...
In principle I totally agree with you. But ... I have to say, this is regional. We were living in southern VA and looked at the possibility of commuting cross border from NC. The tax liability on the same income and assets was quite different. There definitely are places where the bottom line tax is less than your average person pays PAYE.

That certainly doesn't mean however, I believe the overall COL anywhere remotely near anywhere is less in the US. You will just often get more square footage for your buck.

The automatic assumption that US tax is lower bugs the hell out of me, but there are places where they take very little ... I certainly wouldnt want to live in the ones I know of though, they also provide sweet FA in return!

ABY, you'll just have to jump in .. If you have a means of getting to the UK to work, go, get a job and see for yourself. London is one of the, if not the, most cosmopolitan mutlicultural centres of the world. You can live on many different budgets without hardship and if you have the opportunity and dont take it, you may well reget it the rest of your life.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Dave_Was View Post
Dear Elvira,

I should have put it more like, in my case taxes in the UK are a lot more than in the US.

As with most things I should have said, depending on the circumstances, Taxes and the cost of living in the UK can be a lot higher in the UK than in the US, and it would be 'prudent' to investigate how your circumstances will affect your taxes and living expenses.

For me I drive a lot less in the US. I can actually afford to live 5 minutes from work. I rent in the US as I did in the UK and the associated costs for me are a lot less in the US. In the UK I had to fill the car up once a week. In the US once every two weeks.

Again for me my salary for working the same field is significantly more in the US than in the UK even with the terrible exchange rate.

Personal circumstances impact cost of living a lot and my reading between the lines of the OP, always a bad idea, was that he was a single person. My feeling again there would be that his cost of living will be higher in the UK.

As an aside, cost of living is not the whole story.. If I could get a reasonably secure job in my field of work tomorrow in the UK, even with a pay cut I would be on a plane soon after.
Funny you should say that, in working out our situation it was always the deductables involved in me not working and being dependant which swung the pendulum back a bit. As single people his tax liability was definitely as high as mine was in the UK. And I was on (relatively speaking) more money.

Where abouts are you Dave?
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Old Apr 9th 2008, 4:24 am
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Default Re: Best & Worse aspects when living in UK?

Originally Posted by Jumbo_Celcius View Post
Hello Yankee,
I'm originally from Scotland so can only speak for there.
The Scottish are a friendly bunch to outsiders (except if you're English, which I find embarrasing!).
Any verbal/racist taunts you would get would be from idiots for example if you were walking home and someone shouted the "n' word at you the chances are they would also shout something derogatory to me too if I was walking past!
The UK has a rich and historic culture...castles, historic sites etc we're very interested in what the rest of the world is doing and very up to date (sometimes ahead of it) with music, movies, fashion etc
Dating protocol is the same as US, you see someone you like, you talk to them and ask them on a date!
Driving is OK but road rage (i.e. tailgating, blasting the horn and abusive gestures) is common, probably due to the crap roads and it being so busy. Food & drink is diverse and in my opinion very good. Pub culture is vibrant and enjoyable, whether it's a night on the town, after work drinks or Sunday lunch in a beer garden. Other social outings involve works night outs, birthday partys, Xmas partys, house warmings, dinner parties etc.
Multi-culturalism also depends on where you live and I've never known interracial dating to be a problem.

Other realities to consider before deciding to live in the UK
We have not seen a housing crash like parts of the US so housing is quite expensive compared to earnings ratio. Food shopping is fine we have Tescos (think Wal Mart) and Asda (owned by Wal Mart!) and Sainsburys (think better quality Wal Mart!). Depending where you are in the US, the weather in the UK can be quite bleak at times which affects the mood of the population, but when there is a nice spell of weather it shows as everyone is happy and there's a buzz about the country! Scottish weather is colder than South England weather.
Something that I never considered when moving to Australia is you won't know anyone and can feel lonely. What are you planning to work as? I find, in the UK, if you work in a company with like minded people you'll end up making friends with them
Thank you for your informative post and thanks to all who have responded to this thread.Its nice to hear that you find Scotland a place where foreigners will feel accepted and maybe even embraced.I kinda felt dating in the UK is the same as here in the States but just wanted to hear the view point of someone from there.I don't plan to work in the UK,it makes more sense to maintain my business here in the States.

I've lived in New Jersey and New York city and allthough I'm not a big fan of snowy weather still believe I'm pretty adaptable.So I don't think the weather in the UK would turn me off.Of course I'm saying that from sunny florida and our 89 degree tempts.I'm curious,do you think Brits or Scots have a strong opinion of Americans and how close is that opinion to fact?

Last edited by YankeemovingAbroad; Apr 9th 2008 at 4:27 am.
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