15 Things I’ve Learned From Moving From The UK To The US

Updated 2 hours ago. Posted 3 hours ago

In short, tater tots are great.

Hello! My name is Natasha and it’s now been two years since I moved from Bath, England to New York City, baby.


BuzzFeed / Natasha Jokic

So glad the only photo of me by Lady Liberty is this travesty.

As anniversaries have a habit of inducing, I’ve recently been mulling over my time here. So, whether you’re also an expat or someone considering making a big move, here’s a couple of things this idiot abroad has learned:

1.

First, there’s approximately a billion tiny, cultural differences that I had zero clue about.


Ken Cave / monitor6 / Getty

That’s even with moving to a place with the same language and a relatively similar culture to that which I’m from. Examples include: Thinking that a “cup” in an American recipe just meant “any cup in your apartment” and not a specific unit of measurement.

2.

Getting adjusted to a new place takes time.


BuzzFeed / Natasha Jokic

With social media, it’s super easy to look at someone who’s moved and think, “Man, they’re living the life!” For me, it was a little more complex. My life wasn’t void of fun before this, but it definitely took around six months to feel even partly settled.

3.

It’s hauntingly easy to accumulate a LOT of stuff…


BuzzFeed / Natasha Jokic

When I first moved here, I only had three suitcases and a head full of dreams — now I have an apartment full of crap.

4.

…But making home feel personal and comfortable is really important.


BuzzFeed / Natasha Jokic

I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but combining a few trinkets from the UK with a few of the nice things I bought here immensely helped turn my first room from “weird, cold dorm in weird, new place” to just “my room.”

5.

Making an entirely new set of friends is hard, but not without its rewards.


Warner Bros.

Things are pretty easy when you’ve known someone a few years. There’s the underlying assumption that you actually like each other and will continue to meet up. I found having to try again with people to be super exhausting (no shade to my friends back home), but it means that the friends I have here are probably a better reflection of who I am at this moment.

6.

Seeing how people live here has widened my perspective and made me a lot more creative and confident.


Natasha Jokic / BuzzFeed

This is a profound way of saying that I now frequently go out in a fully bedazzled, neon outfit because it’s what some people in Brooklyn do and I love it.

7.

You can’t fix an internal problem by moving.


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Obvious in hindsight, sure, but moving just meant the same issues in a different country. If anything, it meant I had to really confront what had been bothering me — and I’m all the better for it.

8.

Code-switching can get real confusing.


Tero Vesalainen / Getty Images

For clarity and to avoid the barrage of “OMG, is that a British thing?” I say a lot of American terms and soften my accent. This invariably leads to double the mental gymnastics when I’m speaking to a fellow Brit and I have to remember which country I’m in and what I’m trying to say.

9.

I miss the smallest, weirdest things.


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Any time I’m back in England, I insist on going to Nando’s. Was Nando’s something I cherished when I lived there? Nope!

10.

Foreign food is sometimes weird but usually amazing.


Bhofack2 / Getty Images

Again, I realize I’m not exactly pushing the culinary boat out by moving to the US from the UK — but I remember the day I had my first tater tot, and it was glorious.

11.

So, so many things about visa types and immigration policies.


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When I rattle off different visa letters and numbers, I swear it sounds like I’m speaking a different language.

12.

I’m actually pretty okay with my own company.


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Even though I know I’ve found a community here, the feeling of going out on my own has stuck with me. I’m way more down to explore the city and travel by myself than I was before.

13.

Finding a support system of other international people is super valuable.


Disney+

By this, I don’t just mean other Brits! Literally just having a space to be able to share your feelings with other people going through the same thing is, of course, incredibly comforting. As well as my IRL buddies, I’m also part of some Reddit and Facebook groups.

14.

Major life decisions can make it feel like you’ve split into two timelines — the actual one you’re living and your imagined one where things went differently.


Fox Searchlight Pictures

I can get sucked into imagining an alternate universe where I stayed in England. Certain relationships worked out, I was there for major events, and so on. Personally, I try not to entertain this too much because I have actually zero clue how things may have gone, but I do know that I’m happy where I am now. This is all to say that…

15.

Finally, I will always miss home — but that’s okay!


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I miss something about England every single day. I used to think the goal was to try to get rid of that feeling, but now I’ve learned to just live with it. I’ll always be a little homesick, but that doesn’t mean that moving here wasn’t 1000000% worth it — because it definitely was.

Are you also living in another country with your own take on life abroad? LMK in the comments!

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