After studying abroad in America for two months now I feel settled and used to the American customs and way of life. However, as much as I love it here, there are so many things from England that I miss. Here are my 10 things that I miss about England while studying in America.
1. The British Pound
American money is so confusing and I still haven’t gotten my brain around it. They have dollar notes instead of pound coins and there are so many different coins of different sizes with strange names like dimes, quarters and nickels. It’s so hard to pay that you just end up handing over notes and acquiring more change that you can’t spend. Sometimes it comes down to just handing over a load of change from the bottom of your purse and hoping that it’s right (it barely ever is).
2. British Pronunciations and Spellings
Us Brits really stick out when we talk in this country. On average you will hear “Oh my God, I love your accent!” at least once a day while studying here. It can be fun because so many people want to hear you say something and it’s a good conversation starter but sometimes it would be nice to talk without someone trying to copy certain words or phrases. Although we have the same language, we pronounce so many words differently like aluminium and basil. One very annoying part of studying in America is the different spellings of words over here. They miss the letter ‘u’ out of so many words like ‘labor’ instead of ‘labour’ and put a ‘z’ in place of an ‘s’ in words like ‘organization’. I still find myself using all the English spellings in essays and work because I can’t bring myself to spell words incorrectly.
3. British Food
As much as I love a good slice of pizza, having a constant supply of it available can be quite dangerous as it’s always a bit too tempting. There are also so many good places to eat here like Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Chipotle. However, most Brits miss a good roast dinner and some traditional fish and chips when they’ve been away for a while. Also, talk to most Brits about what they miss the most and it will probably be a good English cup of tea. Indian and Chinese takeaways just aren’t the same over here. Another hurdle British people must endure in America is the different categorisations of milk. Gone are the days of simply skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole. Here there are so many variations like half and half (I’m still not sure what this is!) and a lot of milk has a percentage like 2% which is equally confusing.
4. British Chocolate and Sweets
British chocolate deserves a section all on its own. Hershey’s chocolate just doesn’t compare to the delicious taste of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Galaxy. There also seems to be less choice of chocolate bars and sweets over here compared to the choices we have. All I want is a packet of Percy Pigs or some Fruit Pastilles.
5. Being Able to Go to Bars and Clubs
There’s nothing like the British drinking culture, especially at university. Whether it’s just a quiet drink at the pub, a delicious cocktail in a bar, or a full on night out at a club; we Brits know how to drink. However coming to a country that has the legal drinking age of 21 has been very difficult to get used to. No more socials at Coco Tang or a dip in the Ocean on a Friday. Instead all you can do to go out here is go to typical American house parties, which can get a bit boring after a while.
6. British Sense of Humour
Although we have quite similar cultures and watch similar comedy TV shows and movies, the British and American sense of humour are definitely not the same. We have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humour that just comes naturally to most of us and sometimes we don’t even notice that we do it. American’s do though. Sometimes they just don’t understand our sense of humour and take jokes literally which can problematic at times.
As a self-confessed beauty lover, going to Boots is one of my favourite pastimes while in England. Boots has everything you could need from makeup, to shower gel, to a meal deal for lunch on campus (sigh, those were the days). Although they have similar ‘drug stores’ over here like CVS, they just don’t compare to their great British counterpart. The worst part is knowing I’m buying things that I could be getting points for on my Boots Advantage Card.
8. British Television
The BBC, British soaps, Reality TV shows. These are just a few of the many wonders of British TV. They don’t even know what the Great British Bake Off is over here! Gone are the days of the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. As much as I love a good American TV show, sometimes it’s nice just to switch to Celebrity Juice, 8 Out of 10 Cats or Made In Chelsea for some light-hearted British humour.
9. British Manners
British manners are like no other. We apologise for everything, even if someone else is in the wrong. I can’t count the amount of times someone has bumped into me and I’ve said sorry. Americans are less concerned with manners unlike our overly polite ways. They don’t tend to say thank you a lot (which I’ve noticed a lot when using public transport) and they also definitely don’t apologise 50 times a day either for the smallest things.
10. British Clothes
One thing most British girls will miss while living in America is Topshop. Even if you just have the occasional browse in there, it’s one of those shops that is everywhere in England and usually has (at least) one item of clothing you’d love to get your hands on. There’s also no Primark for basics and last minute fancy dress ideas. Although America has a lot of clothing shops that are also in England like H&M, Mango and Forever 21, sometimes you just miss walking down your familiar local high street instead of going all the way to a mall for a specific shop. I can’t complain about the exchange rate though. I also miss the British sense of style that I never noticed we had before. Most Americans wear baggy jeans and sportswear (even if they don’t play sport). British students definitely make more of an effort with their style choices.
Edited by Caroline Chan
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