Erin: Quintessentially English
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Great Britain, etc.
I’m Erin – an American expat originally from fabulous Las Vegas (yes, people do actually live there). In the summer of 2010 I had just graduated university and came to England to be with my English boyfriend, whom I’d met while we were studying abroad in France. At the time I thought I would be returning to America, but after getting engaged we decided to make England our home.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I blogged about my expat experiences whilst studying abroad in France and decided to start Quintessentially English just before I came to England. I wanted an easy and fun way to share my stories with my family and friends back home and I think blogging is the perfect way to do that!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I wrote what ended up being a series of blog posts about applying for my recent visa extension - Another Two Years, The Visa Application Saga and The Visa Application Saga Update from which I received I lot of emails and comments from people who were in similar situations or looking for advice. It made me realise I wasn’t alone in my confusion and frustration. The nicest part is I had readers telling me that these blog posts helped them!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Great Britain differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Before I moved to England I believed that because we shared the same language, culture shock would be pretty minimal. That is until I moved here and realised we don’t speak the same language. Butty. Chinwag. Numpty. These are all words new to my vocabulary!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Great Britain? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think anyone is fully prepared - there will always be something that comes up that you weren’t prepared for, no matter where you go. If I had it to do all over again I would bring a lot less with me and review in greater detail the country’s immigration laws. It would have made things like getting a bank account and joining the NHS a lot less stressful!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Well there was that time I got locked out of the house in just a bikini and wellies and nearly gave a 70-year-old-man a heart attack. You can read about that story here: Culture Shock.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Great Britain?
- Get involved with other expats prior to departing on sites like InterNations! It is a great way to get connected and ask any questions that you may have before departure.
- It doesn’t rain as often as people make out but you should still be prepared to invest in a pair of wellies and a waterproof jacket.
- Start a blog, it is fun to go back and review your expat journey and it will also give you the opportunity to network with other expats!
How is the expat community in Great Britain? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There is a large and very helpful expat community across the blogosphere! Before I started working some of my first friends here were fellow expat bloggers. It was great to share our experiences and ask advice! I found the expat community to be very welcoming.
How would you summarize your expat life in Great Britain in a single, catchy sentence?
“England and America are two countries separated by the same language.” – George Bernard Shaw.