The Ins and Outs of British Culture

When I first came to London, I didn’t expect to encounter many differences between American and British culture because they both speak English and seem fairly similar. However, British culture varies from American culture in multiple ways that are noticeable in daily life after living here for a little over a month. Things like transportation, word choices, living styles, and community norms are all very different from my life in America but have been interesting to learn about and adjust to.

One of the most challenging aspects of the culture in London to adjust to is the constant use of public transportation. The Underground, or the “tube,” is the main mode of transportation for Londoners since it is very efficient and easy to use for locals. For non-locals, the tube is very daunting at first. There are over 10 lines, each with many stops and diversions off the main route. When I first started using the tube, I was always nervous to pick the right train, the right direction, and the right stop. Over time, I have become much more comfortable and confident with using the tube. It is still an adjustment to always rely on public transportation as opposed to walking or driving like I do at home in America. Another challenging aspect of London culture to adjust to is the language. Even though everyone speaks English, most Londoners speak very quickly and use unfamiliar words. This can be especially confusing with my internship when it is important to be able to receive directions and understand what needs to be done. It is also challenging simply in conversation with locals or ordering food at a restaurant. Throughout my time here, I’ve gotten to know the language and word choice differences through always asking questions and learning to understand the culture.

For my internship, I am working for a football club called London Rangers as a social media marketing intern. In this position, I design graphics for the football team’s social media pages to promote their events, and I promote multiple events for other branches of this organization. I work almost entirely remote except for one day in the office every other week. Therefore, I rely solely on email and Microsoft Teams calls for communication with my supervisor and the football team’s staff. This can be very challenging as it is difficult to get responses in a timely manner. To navigate this situation, I remain on top of my emails, send follow-up emails if I haven’t heard back in a while, and ask for a Team’s call with my supervisor every other week.

Living in a city as large as London has been an adjustment. London is two times the size of New York City. This is somewhat overwhelming since I have limited time here with so much to see. However, this is a good problem to have, and I have enjoyed navigating it. I plan short day trips to popular parts of the city all throughout the week and I go out to eat at new restaurants or pubs in new areas with my friends so I can see more places. This has allowed me to get to know the city and walk all throughout its unique boroughs.