Expat Chat: Living in the UK vs the USA!

We chat to Jenna-mae White and Ben South about the differences between life in Britain and life in America.

4 minute read

Today, we’re chatting with two Brits living in America, about the unique experiences that come with having lived in two different countries, with two different cultures – and very different foodie traditions!

Our guests host The British Tea Party podcast, where they share their insights and experiences of living in America as British expatriates. The podcast hosts also sit down with some of the most successful and interesting British professionals who are currently making their mark across the pond!

Hi guys! Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself! Where did you used to live, where do you live now, and how long have you been living there?

J: My name is Jenna-mae White and I was originally born and raised in Northampton, England and I now live in Los Angeles, California in the US. I moved out here when I was 18 to attend University - meaning I have now been here for 4 years! It feels like a very quick 4 years, but also my whole life at the same time.

B: I'm Ben South and I was born in Surrey, England. The home of the greatest movie 'The Holiday' and to Mr. Harry Potter himself... I moved to Los Angeles when I was also 18 to attend University, so I have now been here for 5 and a half years! Crazy!

Beside the glorious weather, what would you say are the main differences between life in the USA and life in the UK?

J: There are so many differences between the USA and the UK. We talk a lot about them as they pop up on our podcast. The food is a big one, we had to adjust to the very different snack options and restaurants around. We are lucky that in LA you can pretty much find any cuisine you fancy. That changes the further away from big cities you go... then everything becomes American BBQ!

B: We would also have to say the way people interact with each other. We were shocked by how friendly and sharing people are in the USA. I think as English people, we can be quite reserved and it can take us a minute to open up and trust one another (we like to leave a seat between each other on the tube, for example) - it's definitely not like that here. You'll end up going for dinner with someone you met in the queue at the post office.

What would your top tips be for anyone who is taking first-steps to move to America from Britain?

B: Our advice would be to research as much as you can. Everything you are nervous or worried about, someone else has been through and figured out. There is so much information out there that can make the whole transition so much easier.

J: Remember, you are not alone! It can feel lonely at times but that is totally normal when you change everything that is familiar to you. As each day goes by, it gets easier and easier. The further outside your comfort zone you go the more you will grow!

Do you have any British foodie traditions that you’ve brought across the pond with you? Are Sunday roasts still on the menu, for example?

J: Oh my goodness. We have had so many roasts over here. We have basically turned Thanksgiving into a giant Sunday Roast. We both cannot live without Marmite and beans, so Marmite on toast and beans on toast definitely feature many times throughout the week.

B: We also can't give up on Crisp sandwiches (preferably Quavers). Oh and a classic English Breakfast is our go to - except we still haven't found any American sausages that are as tasty as those good old British pork sausages.

Lastly, let's talk snacks... Now that you're miles away, what top five British snacks do you miss the most?

J & B: We could write a list as long as our arm about snacks we miss. However, discovering British Corner Shop has meant that we actually don't need to suffer, and can get whatever we're craving to have a bit of home away from home. BUT if you told us to list the top 5 snacks that we couldn't live without they would be:

  1. Marmite (if that counts as a snack!)
  2. Heinz Baked Beans
  3. Cadbury Dairy Milk
  4. Walkers Quavers and Wotsits (we couldn't agree on one...)
  5. Milk Chocolate Digestives

Thanks for chatting with us!

Making the decision to move abroad is life-changing and the advice from other expats is invaluable during this time. If any readers wish to learn more about life as an expat in the United States, or general tips for Brits looking to move abroad, we're loving The British Tea Party Podcast! Jenna-mae and Ben share so many fantastic tips and chat to other British expats who share their words of wisdom, too. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Music or wherever you usually listen to your podcasts.

Plus, you may find a sneaky little discount code for British Corner Shop hidden in the episodes...!

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Author: Gabby Wood
Gabby is British Corner Shop's very own Marketing Executive. If you follow us on social media or receive emails from us, you'll likely see…