Last month we spotlighted the wonderful Courtney, from AlkeksAbroad, where we heard about her take on being an American expat living in Brisbane, Australia.
This month we’re hearing from another American who will share her take on what it’s like to be a New Yorker living across the pond in the United Kingdom. Julie Smith, from Drive on the Left, is this month’s Expert Expat Spotlight. She still tries to head home a couple times a year to see friends, family, and take advantage of some shopping opportunities but loves her new life in The UK.
Lets hear what else she has to say:
What initiated your move abroad?
My company asked me to move from New York City to the UK to help out with a big client there. Initially, I said no. I had already committed to a different role and didn’t want to let people down. Some things got shuffled around at work and a month later they asked again. This time we happily said yes!
What do you enjoy most about being an expat?
I adore living in London. I had visited previously as a tourist but that doesn’t prepare you at all for being a resident. I have enjoyed becoming friends with other international expats and also traveling extensively around Europe.
What’s the best part about living where you live?
The weather. London is much less rainy that most people may think. It’s mild, I haven’t been in a snowstorm for two years, and there is much less rain than in the movies. Plus, I’m trying to get the hang of a British accent (definitely not working yet!)
What’s the hardest part about living where you live?
It took us a while to get used to a different type of customer service. It took us probably 8 weeks to get all of our utilities and internet up and running. The bureaucracy here is serious business and it takes a high level of patience to navigate. It took my husband the better part of a year to get his drivers’ license thanks to the huge amount of red tape!
What was the biggest culture shock of your new location?
Just because we all speak English doesn’t mean we all speak the same language. I’m still learning new words, and I have to be careful using sayings or turns of speech that are common in the US because they may mean nothing here! I also now say ‘Cheers!’ when I leave a store or pub. It’s a quick way to say ‘Thanks’ and ‘Goodbye’ all at once.
Would you live abroad again? If so, where?
Definitely! I think this experience just made us more excited about the prospect for living abroad for much longer. It’s almost like we took a relatively easy step this time so next time we could make it a little harder – maybe Asia? Or a country in Europe with a high language barrier?
Pepsi or Coke?
Coke Zero 🙂
Savory or Sweet?
Dogs or Cats?
Dogs – we moved our lovely beagle over to the UK with us. He adores it!