Top Five Tips for Integrating With UK Culture
Ensure your transition to living in England is seamless with these 5 tips
Moving to any country is a challenging and sometimes frustrating experience. Whether you are coming to the United Kingdom to study, work, or with your family, you may be wondering how you can seamlessly integrate into British society.
Between learning British slang and trying to navigate being in an entirely different country, you may be extremely overwhelmed by the experience. Rather than feeling anxious, you should take this process one step at a time.
Slowly ease yourself into various British customs, colloquialisms, and habits. Then you can better understand the culture and the British people.
Below are the top five tips for integrating within UK culture.
One of the most significant differences that you may notice among various cultures is how people greet each other. While you may not think much of greeting a person incorrectly, you can often set the tone by the way you interact with someone for the first few seconds.
People in the UK are not very open in terms of how they interact with strangers. Most people are polite and pleasant, but they do not do much more than shake hands and say “how do you do” or “pleased to meet you” when they are encountering someone for the first time.
As you spend more time with people in Britain, you will come to realize they are very friendly, open, and welcoming, but you have to get to know them first. Then you can expect them to greet you with more emotion, and you can do the same with them.
2. Time and Punctuality
Some cultures do not put a great emphasis on timeliness. There are instances where people may think that arriving at 12:15 pm for a 12 pm meeting is being early, which is most definitely not the case in the United Kingdom.
If you are attending school in London or planning to work in a serious field, then you must understand that punctuality is critical. If you are attending a public meeting, church service, sporting event, class, or work function, you should be at least 5 or 10 minutes early.
If you are meeting someone for lunch, dinner, or another appointment, be on time. Do not think that you can arrive 30 minutes late and make a joke about how it took you so long to get ready.
3. Soccer, Rugby, and Cricket are Huge in the United Kingdom
If there are three sports that you had to pick in terms of their popularity in the United Kingdom, they would be soccer, rugby, and cricket. Sports such as tennis and Formula One racing also deserve a mention, as they can have smaller but very passionate fan bases.
The one sport that you should know about if you are moving to England is soccer or football as it is called in the UK and most of Europe. There is so much passion for football in the UK that you can find 20 or 30 different professional teams in London alone, with most of them having their own stadiums.
Knowing about football would help you make friends at work or school, as you would have an easy topic of conversation to break the ice when you are first meeting people. If you want to further immerse yourself in British culture, you should even think about attending a game. The Premier League is the top football league in the country, and their games run every year from August to May, with each team having an average of a game a week.
4. Body Language and Dress Sense
Public displays of affection are not common in Britain. Even though you can sometimes see couples kissing or touching each other suggestively, these sightings are far less common compared to other Western countries. People in the UK value their personal space, and they prefer to adopt reserved body language when they are in public.
Unless you know someone very well, do not stand on top of them when you are in a public space. Leave them some room, and others are going to extend you the same courtesy.
In terms of your outfits, dress smartly for every occasion. You do not have to dress formally to go watch a movie or run errands, but people in bigger cities do tend to dress better in general. In terms of must-haves for an outfit, jeans, dress shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, and rain jackets are a must for men.
Women in the UK can wear similar clothes to men, depending on their personal style. They can also wear dresses, mini skirts, sleeveless shirts, and other such outfits should they wish to do so.
5. Respect Your Elders
British people are incredibly serious about how much they respect their elders, both within their family and in public life. If you are ever on a public bus or train, you must give up your seat if there is someone disabled or elderly standing in the same area. Even if there is no rule about such behavior, you will be harshly judged by everyone else on the bus if you do not get up.
Similar respect for elders is expected anywhere you go, such as restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, and other locations. If someone sees you treating an elderly stranger with respect and kindness, they will immediately think highly of you.
Make a New Home For Yourself
Leaving a country where you have spent most of your life is one of the hardest decisions you can make. You are leaving what is familiar, comfortable, and understood for an entirely different world.
Acknowledge that you are taking a significant step and cut yourself some slack if you do happen to encounter any problems during your first few weeks or months in the United Kingdom.
By reading the five tips above, you should have a much better understanding of the British people. You can use this information to better integrate into society when you land in the UK.