England 101

When it comes to describing America vs. England, I think the jock from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure said it best: “Everything is different but the same… things are more moderner than before… bigger and yet smaller… it’s computers… San Dimas High School football rules!”

To help you keep track of what is different but the same, bigger and yet smaller, we’ve compiled this guide.

1. Prepare for the plumbing

The sinks here are different. Look.


Most likely, you will not be washing your hands or face in warm water the entire time since it’s usually a choice between scalding or freezing water.

Also the toilets are pretty much the same but slower. Some of the toilets have these fun tanks that take a bit of time to fill up. Enjoy.

2. Some foods are different but good

Try the following foods:

  • Sticky toffee pudding. It’s good; trust us.
  • Chip butty. No description necessary.
  • Cream tea. *Fun fact* Cream tea is not actually a type of tea. It’s a scone served with clotted cream and jam, alongside a tea of your choice.
  • The dozens of different jams. *Pro tip* British jam = American jelly, British jelly = Jello, British preserves = jam with seeds.
  • The black currant flavour. Black currant soda, black currant Skittles, black currant jam, black currant anything.
  • Bourbons. *Fun fact* This is a biscuit, not alcohol. *Pro tip* Pronounce it as “bor-bin” not “burbin” to avoid odd looks.
  • Fairy cakes. They’re cute.
  • The Morrison’s discount aisle. Sure this isn’t a specific food, but it’ll bless your life. Sometimes we get days worth of food for 15p. Like I said, it’s a blessing.

*Pro tip* Give up on reading the nutrition facts. They make no sense.


*Extra pro tip* Don’t try to buy your food in the American section just for the nutrition facts. The facts that make sense are legitimately covered over by confusing ones.


3. Fire safety is kind of a big deal

Almost all of the doors are labelled as fire doors, there are signs everywhere in all the buildings, and you have to sign in and out of work in case there’s a fire.


This sign even glows in the dark.

4. Most words are the same, but some are different

You know lots already from pop culture and whatnot, so we’ll skip the basic ones.

[British word = American word]

  • Trousers = pants while pants = underwear. To avoid odd looks and confusion, start practising saying “trousers” now.
  • Hob = stove/range.
  • Faff [n or v] = an ineffectual activity or spending time doing an ineffectual activity. Plus it’s really fun to say.
  • Cheers = thank you/expressing good wishes at the end of a conversation.
  • You alright/okay? = How are you? *Pro tip* Just respond by saying “Yep. You?”
  • It’s alright = you’re welcome
  • Tea = a drink, dinner, or time of day. Context is everything.
  • Petrol = gas. *Fun fact* The prices are in pence per litre if you’re ever wondering why a price might have three digits before the decimal point.
  • Chips = thick fries while fries = thin fries. They’re different.

[These are chips]


[These are fries]

5. Outlets are different


You have to turn the outlets on with that switch there.

*Pro tip* Bring a converter, so you can plug stuff in.

*Extra pro tip* Don’t bring a blow dryer, curling iron, straightener, etc. The voltage is different, so even with a converter, bad things could happen.

6. Cities are pronounced differently

  • Stratford-upon-Avon = generally most people say “Avin”
  • Warwick = “War-ick”
  • Warwickshire = “War-ick-shure”
  • Alcester = “All-ster”
  • Leamington Spa = “Lem-ington Spa”
  • Reading = “Red-ing”
  • Leicester = “Lester”
  • Edinburgh = “Edin-bur-uh”
  • Marylebone = “Mar-le-bone”
  • Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch = just listen to this song. Also maybe we’ve never actually needed to say this or use this.

7. The floors are different

What Americans would call the “first floor” is called the “ground floor” and often labelled with a zero. So though we live on what is labelled the “second floor”, we’re really on the third floor. This knowledge will help you not end up on the wrong floor when someone asks you to meet them on the “first floor.” In this case, you’d go to the zeroeth floor [just kidding. Nobody actually says that. It’s just the ground floor].

8. There are cool places to visit

Here are some of our favourites:

  • London (obviously)
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • The Lake District
  • Cornwall
  • Oxford
  • Highclere Castle

9. The keyboards are different


Don’t ask why the quotations marks are with the 2 while the @ sign is with the apostrophe. I have yet to find a satisfactory answer. You’ll get used to it.

In conclusion, England is a great place. Enjoy your time here.


England really looks like this.

The end.

With lots of love,

Maren, Grace, and Amelia

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