Author Topic: Before you move: Things to really think about **2006 UKY Topic of the Year**  (Read 35036 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PrincessJuls02

  • *
  • Posts: 664
  • Joined: Apr 2004
  • Location: Essex
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2006, 11:45:37 AM »
Great thread!  ;D

Its funny as a future expat, because I'm reading these things and I'm checking them off in my head "no Target? yup I'll survive" "realistic perception? yup been back and forth a lot in 7 years etc" but I know when I get there things will be weird and I feel out of place and not until then will I truly understand the full impact of this thread  ::) Thanks though  ;)
Juls xx

Arrived in the UK on spousal visa: 19/08/06
Posted ILR Application 23/7/08
ILR app arrival at UKIBA & Fee Taken: 24/7/08
ILR issued: 29/8/08
ILR arrived here: 03/09/08

Offline Cadenza

  • *
  • Posts: 2187
  • Joined: Mar 2006
  • Location: Abertridwr, Caerphilly, Wales
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2006, 02:07:22 AM »
I agree, this is a great thread and is very well thought out.  I'm just going to add a few thoughts.

What about faith matters?  For many of us that are religious, this can be a central factor to adjusting to a new land--positive or negative adjustment.  Some aren't religious and may not have thought of these aspects as much, but even then it can be an adjustment and should be considered. 

Do you understand that you are moving to a country that has a much more central religion than the US has?  Are you prepared to be in the minority with your religious beliefs? Can you handle your children being taught religious principles in school that differ from your own (this does happen; read some other posts).  Do you realize that even if you are Episcopalian, there are often significant differences in the US and UK Anglican communities?

Do you know how to connect with a new church body?  Are you in a relationship with someone who will respect and support your belief system?  When children come, who's religious beliefs will be primary?

Offline sweetpeach

  • *
  • Posts: 6667
  • Joined: Sep 2004
  • Location: York
  • Gender: Female
    • York Interweb
  • Liked: 1
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2006, 08:10:44 AM »
I agree, this is a great thread and is very well thought out.  I'm just going to add a few thoughts.

What about faith matters?  For many of us that are religious, this can be a central factor to adjusting to a new land--positive or negative adjustment.  Some aren't religious and may not have thought of these aspects as much, but even then it can be an adjustment and should be considered. 

Do you understand that you are moving to a country that has a much more central religion than the US has?  Are you prepared to be in the minority with your religious beliefs? Can you handle your children being taught religious principles in school that differ from your own (this does happen; read some other posts).  Do you realize that even if you are Episcopalian, there are often significant differences in the US and UK Anglican communities?

Do you know how to connect with a new church body?  Are you in a relationship with someone who will respect and support your belief system?  When children come, who's religious beliefs will be primary?

Great post. One thing I wanted to add is, are you prepared to move to a country where there is no separation of Church and State. Where religion is taught as part of public education?  If you are not Christian, can you deal with living in a country where your religion is considered second best? If you aren't moving to a large city like London,  Birmingham or Manchester, can you handle not being able to find prepared food that meats your dietary requirements, or even a place of worship in your town?

Offline HME

  • *
  • Posts: 652
  • Joined: Mar 2004
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2006, 09:11:45 AM »
are you prepared to move to a country where there is no separation of Church and State. Where religion is taught as part of public education?  


But also, to a country where you may be confused to find that despite this lack of separation, Anglicans are generally far more secular,church attendance is very low compared with some parts of the US and religion is seen as a private affair (as I understand it, speaking as a Brit).
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing

Offline sweetpeach

  • *
  • Posts: 6667
  • Joined: Sep 2004
  • Location: York
  • Gender: Female
    • York Interweb
  • Liked: 1
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2006, 08:44:01 PM »
But also, to a country where you may be confused to find that despite this lack of separation, Anglicans are generally far more secular,church attendance is very low compared with some parts of the US and religion is seen as a private affair (as I understand it, speaking as a Brit).

This is true as well, and could be a problem for people who are used to being very outspoken about their religious beliefs.


Offline sweetpeach

  • *
  • Posts: 6667
  • Joined: Sep 2004
  • Location: York
  • Gender: Female
    • York Interweb
  • Liked: 1
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2006, 08:07:27 AM »
How important are public holidays to you?  Can you get used to the fact that on the days when your friends and family in the States are celebrating, for you it will be  just another day, when you may have to work or take care of other responsibilities.

Can you adjust to a different set of public holidays? Can you get used to fireworks in November instead of July? How about giving and/or receiving a Mother's Day card in March instead of May?

expat_in_scotland

  • Guest
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2006, 08:47:09 PM »
If you have kids, they are not going to be American.  And you cannot recreat the 'American Experience'.  It doesn't exist and you're just going to make everyone unhappy with all your comparing.
 

I wanted to bump this, b/c it's SO, SO incredibly important.

This can, in some ways, cause your heart to ache a bit.

Their world view will be different to yours b/c they are English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, etc., not just their accent.

The way they see the world is shaped by you, of course.

To some extent, but the impact the society in which they grow cannot be underestimated.

YOU are the foreigner, not them.

Offline Eire

  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: May 2006
  • Location: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2006, 05:20:27 AM »
*Are you comfortable standing out and drawing attention or does that make you feel uneasy?  Being American in the UK will automatically make you stand out at least somewhat both to strangers and friends/family.  Like it or not, you'll often be out of the loop.  You'll be questioned about your accent, your nationality, your previous way of life, your decision for moving to the UK, on and on.  It can be fun occasionally to get attention simply for being American, but it can also be annoying in daily transactions when all you're wanting to do is go to the store for a few groceries and suddenly don't want to speak so as not to get drawn into a conversation by a stranger who wants your life story.  Be prepared to be looked at as a foreigner.  All of your actions and words are stereotyped as being the way all Americans are, and vice versa.. a lot of what you say and do is judged and expected to be what Brits know to be stereotypically American from TV and films.  No matter how much you try to integrate and feel you've adjusted.. a lot of the time it may still feel as though you're wearing a sandwich board that says, "I'm American."

Really.. what I would say is.. it helps to be confident in yourself and your abilities because moving to a new country can quickly eat away at that.  I think knowing yourself and being adventurous are probably the two most helpful traits.

Offline Eire

  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: May 2006
  • Location: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2006, 05:28:24 AM »
Another thing..

*If you're moving to the UK knowing it's only temporary and intend on moving back to the states at some point in future, or even just to return for occasional visits.. be prepared to feel as though you no longer quite fit in back in the US either.  During your time in the UK, you probably picked up a lot of British traits and ways of doing things that your AMERICAN friends and family will think of as being foreign and odd.  You may begin to feel like you don't properly fit in in either country.  You may find your return to the states doesn't feel like 'home' anymore either and can take just as much adjustment. 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2006, 05:39:00 AM by Eire »

Offline Carrie

  • *
  • Posts: 1625
  • Joined: Jan 2006
  • Location: Bristol
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2006, 08:40:46 PM »
I thought of one more thing to add here.  I don't think anyone has said it yet. 

If you have a UK spouse/partner who has spent time living in the US, be prepared for him/her to feel confused and lost when he/she returns "home".  I think my husband is stuck in an eternal identity crisis after just 4 years in the US.  He didn't feel American in the US and now he doesn't feel English in England. 

Offline WashuHakubi

  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: Jan 2007
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2007, 08:03:32 PM »
Thank you for this thread, I just wish I read it before I moved here!

Offline west_0515

  • *
  • Posts: 127
  • Joined: Dec 2006
  • Location: Virginia
  • Gender: Male
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2007, 08:34:07 PM »
I wanted to bump this, b/c it's SO, SO incredibly important.

This can, in some ways, cause your heart to ache a bit.

Their world view will be different to yours b/c they are English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, etc., not just their accent.

The way they see the world is shaped by you, of course.

To some extent, but the impact the society in which they grow cannot be underestimated.

YOU are the foreigner, not them.

I just wanted to bump this up again.  As I prepare for my first move over (and my mother hounds us about whether we are going to have kids over there) I found this to be pretty profound. 

I know my wife, being born in Switzerland with a Swiss father, didn't consider herself American just because her mother was.  And when they made the move over and she spent much of her life here she has the same problem of "I don't feel Swiss or American" that many mentioned here.

Now we are moving to England and if we have kids there...they will be British.  Not American/Swiss/British......just British.

I actually don't want to have kids there as my mother would kill me for making her get on a plane...hehe
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"

Offline tina.the.llama

  • *
  • Posts: 115
  • Joined: Nov 2006
  • quizzical llama
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2007, 09:44:00 PM »
thanks to Mindy for one of the all time great threads. To add a few to think about:

*(on religion) If you are a devout Christian, think about what it means to live in an extremely secular nation (even despite the lack of a Church/State split). If you're Jewish, think about what it means to live in a nation where the general tendency is towards support for the Palestinians and there is a great deal more criticism of Israel than is so in the US.

* If you've visited England before, was this only London? Keep in mind that just as NYC and LA are very different from the US, the same is true for London and the rest of the UK.

* Can you recognize that coming to the UK means not only having to learn another culture, but also learn to negotiate a culture that is itself in a process of great transformation? Despite it all, life in the UK is rapidly changing and so are people's perceptions. Not too long ago, Brits rarely shopped or lived on debt: all different. Not too long ago, homophobia was tacitly acceptable, no more, etc. You might be looking forward to coming because of happy memories from 10 years past. This might be impossible to recreate because those days are gone for the locals as well.

* How computer literate are you? If not very, then try to learn, since there's so much of US culture that is available in ways that weren't before - newspapers on the web, tv shows streamed or gotten via bittorrent, net phone calls. If very, then also keep in mind that net culture works differently here than the US.

* Can you also recognize that you're not only moving to the UK, but to Europe as well, and that you're not only going to be integrating to one national culture but a newly developing nexus of many?

* Can you differentiate criticism of the current US govt from anti-Americanism? This is a great roasted chestnut on the forum, but generally most people here think poorly of the US govt, but also differentiate it from their perception of Americans and American culture.

* Can you understand the difference between other expats dislike of some things American and their appreciation of others?


expat_in_scotland

  • Guest
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2007, 10:52:44 PM »
I actually don't want to have kids there as my mother would kill me for making her get on a plane...hehe

And she might not even come across but once in a blue moon, particularly if she has a very active social life.

Part of this expat life is also being pretty much on your own when it comes to family support with your children, at least from your US side.

You'll need to make your own network of support or be easy about support from your ILs if they're there and take it on the chin.

It's possible your children will not have a close relationship with your family in the US - mine will go two years without seeing their US grandparents in person and many without seeing their aunt. 

I have two work colleagues who have Canadian parents who've been here for 30+ years, married to UK spouses.  They don't know their Canadian relations all that well.  In one instance, my colleague's father is Quebecois.  Most of his family doesn't speak English and she doesn't speak any French.

If this is something that's going to break your heart, think long and hard and long-term about your expat life here.

I won't lie, it can be hard.  But for me I'd never have had any children at all if it weren't for Scotland, so it's worth it.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 10:59:03 PM by expat_in_scotland »

Offline monikuddle

  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: Jan 2006
  • Location: London
  • Gender: Female
  • Worse is the Sign It's Nearly Over
  • Liked: 0
Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2007, 10:05:12 PM »
Another thing..

*If you're moving to the UK knowing it's only temporary and intend on moving back to the states at some point in future, or even just to return for occasional visits.. be prepared to feel as though you no longer quite fit in back in the US either.  During your time in the UK, you probably picked up a lot of British traits and ways of doing things that your AMERICAN friends and family will think of as being foreign and odd.  You may begin to feel like you don't properly fit in in either country.  You may find your return to the states doesn't feel like 'home' anymore either and can take just as much adjustment. 

Sooo true!! All my American friends made such fun of me when I was back home in October!! I don't hear any difference in my accent/inflection/speech, but they swore up and down that it was there and every time I slipped up and said "nappy" or had a cup of tea, they were all over it! haha I do sometimes feel like I don't belong in either country and it can be a bit downheartening for a while. But the benefits of having moved over here faaaar outweigh any negativities. The experience of moving over to a European country is just such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I can't believe my luck that one day I will be able to sit and tell my children/nieces/nephews about the fact that I got to do all of this!

x
Monica