When it comes to UK citizens moving abroad, one of the most popular destinations is, of course, the USA. Embarking on a new adventure so far away can be a huge decision, whether you’re choosing to follow a dream, a career, or simply search for some more sunshine. And with little in the way of a language barrier to contend with for us Brits, the United States is a dreamy destination.
However, with every big decision, you must first do your research. The USA is a huge place, so the considerations are endless even once you’ve selected the country. It’s critical to contemplate every area of your life abroad as an expat, from your hobbies, friends, job opportunities and lifestyle choices.
Pros of Living in the USA
There are a whole host of reasons why the USA could make a fabulous new home for you when moving away from the UK.
The Climate of Your Choice
The sheer size of the USA makes it very different to the UK in a number of ways. One of these ways is the weather. If you’re hoping to move somewhere with a completely different climate, the United States offers an abundance of options. From California, where temperatures can reach almost 60℃, to Alaska, where temperatures can reach negative those of California, you’ll have your work cut out for you deciding where to move!
No Language Barrier
Besides the occasional Americanism or strange spelling of a familiar word, it’s very rare to encounter any kind of language barrier as there might be in other countries. That makes all kinds of administration and making new connections once you’ve settled that bit easier, increasing your chances of building a happy life for yourself and your family.
Minimal Culture Shock
Whether due to the exposure to American culture through media or its similarity to the UK, people that move across the pond often report little to no culture shock. Compared to entering a new life in central Europe, Asia or further afield, you’ll find settling into life in the USA a breeze.
Again, due to the size of the North American continent, there is no shortage of things to explore. Want to live by the sea? You got it. Would prefer living under the shelter of mountains? They’ve got plenty. Or perhaps big city life calls to you? The USA really has it all.
Excellent Education Opportunities
If you’re looking to move internationally with younger or even older children, schooling will, of course, be a priority for your decision-making. Luckily for you, the USA is renowned for having an excellent standard of education, both for middle and secondary schools and in their many prestigious colleges (universities).
Due to its history, the US truly is a historic melting pot of different people and influences. This makes it simple to find different celebrations, foods, and communities that fit your background. What’s more, it makes life in the USA exciting, with influences from across the world in everyday life.
On average, though this does depend on exactly where you choose to move, houses in the US are more affordable and more spacious than in the UK. This makes finding the right accommodation that suits all your requirements easy, especially if you’re looking to move with a big family.
Cons of Living in the USA
As with every location, not everything is sunshine and roses. Here are a few downsides to moving to the USA as a UK expat.
This is a downside to the USA’s size. Compared to the UK, you’ll be travelling a lot further between cities and airports, making travel last a lot longer than you’re used to. If you’re used to living in London and having 3 international airports within reach, this might be a bit of a shock, depending on where you choose to settle.
While college education is of high quality in the US, it’s important to note that it doesn’t come without its costs. This isn’t like in the UK either – costs are extortionate in some cases, particularly if you’re hoping for an Ivy League education. Be prepared to have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a reputable college education for your older kids, when the time comes!
Work-life balance can be a tricky thing to master, particularly with the USA’s annual leave policies. On average, you’ll receive a lot less annual leave allowance than back in the UK, and maternity and paternity leave can seem stingy in comparison too. This is a generalisation, however, and with research and patience, it is possible to find companies that are more lenient and place a higher focus on employee wellbeing in these areas.
This is the big one, a real deal-breaker for some people. With no NHS to speak of, healthcare in the US is all private, and with that comes a big price tag. Without health insurance, you could face huge repercussions for using basic healthcare in the US. This should be a huge consideration for those with underlying conditions, for whom costs could become extortionate.
In recent years, in particular, this is another high-profile deal-breaker for those looking to move to the US. Gun control is lax, and depending on where you live, you could be likely to see regular civilians carrying guns out in the open. While this might not be an everyday thought, it is a risk that should be considered before moving to the US from the UK.