Moving To the UK – What To Expect As A New Expat

There are many good reasons to move to the UK. Despite being such a small island, it has one of the largest economies in the world, which continues to witness steady economic growth, translating into lucrative employment and business opportunities.

Some of most highly regarded universities are located in the UK, such as Oxford and Cambridge. The country’s National Health Service is considered an excellent example of a universal healthcare system on which many other countries have based theirs.Since the UK comprises such a blend of ethnic communities, it has developed a culture that is rich and interesting. Another great benefit of living in the UK is its geographical location, which makes it possible to travel to other countries easily and to reach mainland Europe quickly.

Here are some of the things that new expats in the UK can expect.

Unpredictable weather
The weather in the UK can be unpredictable. Rainfall is not restricted to any one season: any day, during any time of year, can be a rainy day. Some days may begin with pleasant sunny weather, only to turn windy and wet as the day progresses. It’s a good idea to have an umbrella with you, even during the summers.

Tea culture
The UK is a land of tea-lovers. There are numerous different types of tea to choose from, but if you ask for just ‘tea’ in the UK, you are likely to get traditional English breakfast tea. The popular custom of afternoon tea began as early as the 1800s as a way to connect the gap between lunch and dinner. Another typically British tea custom is to dunk biscuits in tea before eating them. Tea is such serious business here that research has even been done on the right amount of time to dunk a biscuit in hot tea.

Recreation on a budget
As a new expat in the UK, you will find that there are plenty of things to do for leisure, and the best part is that they usually cost very little. The country is dotted with museums and art galleries, most of which allow free or affordable entry. If like many expats, you live or work in London, head to the British Museum, the Science Museum or the Natural History Museum, all of which offer free entry.

The art of politeness
In the UK, politeness is taken very seriously. Manners and social customs are an important part of the culture and you are likely to hear a great deal of polite small talk, and repeated apologies and thanking. There is also often a concerted attempt to avoid any awkward silences in conversations. British people may be alarmed by bluntness or straightforwardness in social situations, but they are a friendly and well-mannered lot and are not quick to take offence.

British humor
An extremely likable quality of people in the UK is their ability to laugh at themselves and not take life too seriously. British humor is also very witty, making for interesting conversations and interactions. You will also be treated to some great comedy in films and on the television when in the UK. The typically British brand of humor and comedy has been popular across the world for generations.

All things royal
For those born and raised in the UK, the monarchy has always been fascinating. It’s nearly impossible not to be interested in the royal family, since they form such an integral part of the country and its culture. Every royal event, from marriages to births, is celebrated with great fanfare and is covered extensively by the press.

Sunday roast
If you’re new to the UK, don’t turn down an invitation to a Sunday roast. This weekly gathering of families and friends to feast on a variety of dishes, especially meat dishes, is a longstanding tradition in the UK. Restaurants also serve their own versions of the popular meal. The best part of about a Sunday roast is that is actually continues throughout the week in the form of leftovers. Remnants of the Sunday afternoon meal are used to make other typically British foods like ‘bubble and squeak’, sliced beef sandwiches and vegetable soups.

Have you moved to the UK as an expat? What did you find surprising or challenging? Let us know in the comments!