Reverse Culture Shock

It’s real. When you’ve been away from your home country for a while, coming back feels just as strange as when you first arrived in your host country. Since I’ve been back, I’ve noticed several major differences from the United States and United Kingdom:

Everyone is much more talkative. This isn’t always a bad thing, it just catches me off guard a lot. I was in Target browsing in the home goods when a woman suddenly says, “You know, I often make small pillows out of placemats,” and it took me a hot minute before I realized she was speaking to me!

Everything is really spread out. Fresh off the plane, my parents took me out for ice cream in a shopping center when I realized how massive the parking space alone was. Such lots don’t really exist in many parts of the United Kingdom. Not to mention, many American cities are really big and spread out, where in England you have a lot of smaller towns. In the twenty odd miles it takes me to drive from my house to downtown, I could have easily driven through several English towns. Needless to say, I’m already sick of driving. Also, in England, shops and flats are built up about three or four stories while here, everything is built out, not up.

Everything is really big. Although this is somewhat of an American stereotype, it’s true. Especially our houses and cars are a lot bigger than that of our British counterparts. The only exception is beer bottles, they’re actually bigger in the United Kingdom, I feel like a giant when I drink now!

American humor. From commercials to movies, now that I’m back, the difference between British and American humor is apparent. American humor is more slap-stick and goofy while British humor is more ironic and based on awkward interactions. I’ve come to really appreciate British humor and now a lot of American humor seems rather juvenile to me.

Issues are far more polarized. In the United Kingdom, I find most people are pretty neutral when it comes to topics like politics and religion. However, in America, that couldn’t be more untrue. There are strong opinions coming from both sides of every issue and they are often extremely passionate and sometimes send harmful messages. Such attitudes are really overwhelming to me.

Although a lot of people don’t really consider the cultural differences between two similar countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, they’re definitely there.



  1. Charlene Redpath
    July 5, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Very insightful Rachel. America was once GB’s biggest ally but today it seems we have lost international respect. Maybe too much CNN……

  2. July 6, 2016 / 6:25 pm

    Very insightful!!! Deb and I watch some British TV and have come to appreciate their sense of humor. It appears more satirical and witty. I have to listen to catch all the implications. You may also be cognizant of the cost of housing. Our land is still new a relatively inexpensive compared to comparable housing in the UK. I think the food is also very different. I haven’t been to the UK in quite some time and really appreciated your fresh perspective. Love, Gpa

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: