/ / / 13: Life As An American Expat In London

13: Life As An American Expat In London

Podcast guest Amelia shares about moving to London from the United States, adjusting to the differences of life in Europe, and the perspective shift that comes from living in a new place.

a woman stands close to a man holding a small girl in front of stone wall. A stone castle sits in the background.

In this episode, I talk with fellow Harry Potter fan, Amelia, about their experience moving abroad to England, some of the similarities and differences between the US and the UK, and that crazy British weather. We both moved abroad at similar times and have spent a great portion of our abroad experience during this crazy pandemic!

Their journey has been a little easier than ours since they haven’t had to navigate a new language but there are still plenty of new things to get used to.

Want ideas on how to teach your children to be respectful when learning about the cultures of the world? See my guide on how to teach your children to become world explorers for tips and tricks!

Where are you from and where else have you lived?

Amelia spent most of her childhood in the western United States, specifically Utah and Arizona. She first traveled internationally while she was doing her undergraduate in dance, and she went to China as part of a study abroad. She also served a mission for her church and she lived in Poland for 18 months. These experiences, both in China and in Poland, started her thinking about living abroad in the future. After she finished her schooling in Utah, Amelia and her family lived in Texas, Mississippi, and Washington DC. Then they realized that her husband had opportunities to live abroad as part of the U.S. army. When a chance arose to move to England, Amelia and her husband jumped on it. 

What are some things that are similar in England to living in the United States?

Living in Washington DC helped Amelia and her family adjust to living in England. They were already used to living in a small apartment (or flat, as it’s called in England), and they were familiar and comfortable navigating public transportation. Communication is also very nice because even though in England people have an accent and have some different vocabulary, Amelia is easily able to talk to people. 

There isn’t a great selection of Mexican food, and certain American cuisine, like macaroni and cheese, is difficult to find in England. Fortunately, Amelia found a warehouse near her flat that sells real corn tortillas, and she buys her mac and cheese from Amazon. Some food has been difficult to replace.

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What do you love most about living in England?

Amelia loves how easy and cheap it is to travel. Despite being an island (without island culture), England is very connected with the rest of Europe. It’s amazing to be able to fly to Italy for only 40 pounds a person. 

The amount of history is also very interesting. Parts of the Tower of London were built by William the Conqueror in 1066. Compared to this type of history, the United States is such a young country. 

What’s been the hardest part about living abroad?

Life moves at a slower pace in England than in the U.S., especially when taking public transportation and walking to the grocery store. Amelia says it takes time to get errands done and it seems weird not accomplishing very much in one day.

What do people need to know before coming to visit or live in England?

You’re going to walk everywhere, so bring good shoes! 

England is very different from the United States (or wherever you’re from), so don’t judge it by the same standards. What seems unkempt and dodgy to you, may just be everyday city life. And remember, especially if you’re living abroad, to not focus on what you miss and instead focus on the amazing adventure you’re on. 

How has living abroad benefitted your family?

Amelia’s child has an increased desire to learn about different countries. Before the lockdown started, they visited Portugal and Italy. Amelia’s daughter noticed how the language and architecture were different, she learned a few phrases in their language, and she asks questions about places all around the world. Since Amelia didn’t have this realization until her time in China as a college student, she is grateful that her daughter is getting these experiences from such a young age. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Happy exploring!

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Follow her expat adventures: @thebramesabroad 

Follow her photography instagram:  @emersonannephotography

Guest Bio

Amelia is originally from St. George, Utah. She has since lived in Poland, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia and now England. She has a Masters degree in Dance Education and LOVES to move and teach creativity in K-12 public education, but is currently on a hiatus while she enjoys her stint abroad. She is passionate about photography and runs a small business on the side. She loves to find beautiful places around the world to capture, be outside, tease her five year old, watch Netflix with her husband, and eat all the European chocolate.

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