If you are moving from the UK or moving overseas from Europe to the USA, there are a few cultural differences you may find. From Baseball, Nascar and the NFL to Thanksgiving, Mexican food and pizza everywhere, UPakWeShip thinks you should know these things before we move you here.
1/ Healthcare isn’t free, in fact it’s very expensive
There is a different approach to healthcare than the Brits and Europeans are used to. You will not be paying any income tax for healthcare, but in return, you will have to take out private medical insurance. The best way to do this is through your employer. The first thing you will be asked if you need treatment is your health insurance info so keep it in your wallet at all times. Many policies will not cover you for everything so even with insurance, be prepared to pay out of pocket for some expenses.
2/ The food portions are large.
It is hard to maintain a healthy weight and diet if you eat out regularly. It is so easy to be the wrong way around on calories in compared to calories out. Cheese is served on many things, which I love! The steaks and burgers are so good in America. You can order a salad here and it still will be over 1000 calories!
3/ Thanksgiving is huge here.
Talking of food, the mother of all meals is Thanksgiving! This all stems back to 1621, some British (I believe) pilgrims invited some Native Americans for a feast to thank them for their help with the harvest, and since then America has celebrated it. They celebrate every year on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving in America for many is bigger than Christmas, with the country’s two busiest days of travel each year happening the day before Thanksgiving and on the first Sunday after. Turkey is an absolute essential in any Thanksgiving meal, with sides of stuffing, potatoes, sweet potato pudding or yams, green bean casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread rolls, followed by pumpkin or pecan pie! With me being a Brit, we sneak in Yorkshire puddings into this menu as well!
4/ Patriotism is a big deal
The national anthem is a big deal over here. At any main event like a sporting game, you should stand up, face the flag and put your right hand on your heart. Join in with the words!
5/ They still use the Imperial system
Welcome to the land of pounds, feet and inches! The USA twins with Myanmar and Liberia who do not do the metric system. Instead, they use the rather old imperial system, inherited from the Brits all those years ago. The conversion rates are not so easy and it takes some time to get your head around them. Having said that when I move back to Europe some day after 25 years here, I’m going to find it hard to get into KPH, liters, meters and kilos!
6/ Guns are everywhere in the USA.
Nearly 250 years ago, Americans were given “the right to bear arms”, and most still practice and believe in this even now. The level of gun ownership across the country is frightening, and most people have at least one in their homes. Be careful whom you argue with and do not trespass on someone else’s property here!
7/ Tipping is not a place in China
Serving staff are not paid much in America. They do not even get the minimum wage, so tipping is an important source of income for them. You are expected to leave 15-20%. Of the bill.
If you like your holidays, moving from the UK or moving from Europe to the USA might prove a bit of a shock to your system. While you might get at least 4-6 weeks off every year (plus numerous public holidays), in the USA many people only get 2 weeks paid vacation a year. You might be able to take more if you are going back to Europe to see family but it might have to be unpaid. Flights are no longer cheap in the USA compared with Europe.
9/ Sales tax gets added on top.
Do not be deceived by the prices in the shops; that is not what you actually pay. Across the US, retail sales tax is not added until you pay at the counter. The rate differs from state to state, so it is impossible to quickly hand the right money for your coffee and bagel to the cashier.
10/ People do not care about cricket, rugby and in many cases soccer!
Americans love their sports and soccer is slowly catching on but not nearly as popular as American football, baseball and basketball. Golf and tennis is also popular. College sports really matter here as well and its big business! Some of the college stadiums are larger than the top NFL professional teams!
10 ½ . You drive on the right; you cannot drink until you are 21. Christianity is very important and many people still go to church. In some areas, you cannot buy alcohol on a Sunday or you cannot buy it after 7pm. Where I live in SC, you have to buy beer and wine from a different store than spirits.
I hope these random facts give you a flavour or in America “flavor” of American culture, it can however vary from state to state. Enjoy and have fun here and do not eat too much like I do!
Don’t forget to ask UPakWeShip for a quote for moving and shipping to the USA from either the UK or anywhere in Europe. UPakWeShip has you covered with personal control, all inclusive pricing and offices in the UK, Europe and USA.