Bharat Bhise – Challenges for an American in the UK
I met Bharat Bhise whilst studying in the USA and after college we decided that we would launch a business together in the UK. Bharat and I have spent just over 3 years in London so far and it has been a fascinating time for me as I have watched Bharat getting used to our ways, customs and culture. For any American out there who has plans to move to the UK, there are some things which I now know will confuse, shock or give you something to think about. Here have been the biggest challenges for Bharat during his time in London.
Us Brits are very much known for being polite but I think the level fo politeness was something which really confused Bharat. This is even stranger for me as in general Londoners aren’t the most friendly given that they are constantly in a rush to get somewhere, much like in many often world’s biggest cities. It was the apologizing which confused Bharat so much, especially when people apologized for things that weren’t even their fault. Unfortunately we are just like this, you hit us by accident and we’ll apologize for being in the way.
Driving in the USA is aggressive and direct but here in the UK we are a little friendlier on the roads. If you indicate to change a lane for example then you can expect that the cars next to you will let you in. We often say thank you when people do this, with a friendly hand wave or a flash of the hazard lights. If you are direct and aggressive in the UK then you’ll end up in more trouble than if you follow the laws of the road.
The way in which we deliver news here in the UK is very different indeed from our American counterparts and there is just less of it over here. Back in the USA there are many channels which have 24 hour news and the people are obsessed by it. In the UK there is just less emphasis on it and this can be difficult for an American to get to grips with.
Something which I love about Americans is their willingness to talk politics and when they do, nothing is off limits. Here in the UK however people get offended if you ask them which way they vote or how they feel about the current climate, that information is for friends and family only.
Football or soccer is the national sport in the UK and it is truly a phenomenon which has altered our culture and way of life. Sports are of course big in the USA but none of them compare to the love and passion which you’ll see here in the UK. Bharat was amazed when he saw this and it was something which did take him quite a while to come to terms with, with regards to the raw passion which people have in regards to this sport.