We have helped out with numerous homesearches for clients moving to the UK from Europe, America, Asia and Australia. All of these countries have their own customs, past-times and traditions and during our time with clients, they will quickly make observations about day to day life in the UK and how different it can be from home.
Some examples of the average UK home are the presence of garden sheds, using the garage for things other than the car, the absence of air-conditioning, being able to choose who provides your utilities and the different bands for Council Tax.
Local shopping areas are also different, many European towns will have regular open-air markets with local fresh fruit and vegetables. A decent fruit and vegetable shop is a rare find now on most High Streets.
On the road, the main difference for most is the fact we drive on the left hand side, other differences include measuring distances in miles, roundabouts, bendy roads, zebra crossings and giving way to pedestrians. One client would not wait to check the traffic when on foot as in his home country, all drivers would stop for any pedestrian.
Traffic wardens are found in many other countries, still not the most popular job but at least in the UK they won’t be paid extra commission for the number of tickets they issue, something that happens in other European countries.
Sometimes a client will have small children with them for a homesearch and do not understand why we insist on them having a child seat of a legally suitable size, in their home country they are more used to a child sitting on their lap in a car.
For all it’s bad press, the NHS is a welcome alternative to lots of people relocating from countries where the Health Service you receive depends on what premium you can afford to pay.
Most people relocating to the UK will have the belief that our national sport is football, it is very popular wherever you go, but some parts of the UK have other sporting interests such as rugby, cricket or water sports. For those relocating from the USA, cricket is unheard of, yet those from India can’t wait to see some decent cricket being played in the UK – depending on the weather of course.
Some strange sporting requests have included ‘how easy it is to go horse-riding’, the clients were from a European city where you could easily ‘hire’ a horse to ride home from work. Another person was disappointed that ski-ing wasn’t easily found in the UK and was amused that it was easier to go back to Europe by plane for a weekend’s ski-ing.
On a more general note, we find that the dry and ironic English sense of humour can be a little lost in translation for some Europeans, whereas others have an even deeper sense of humour than us, making for an entertaining day of homesearches.
Wherever someone is moving from and wherever they are moving to, we will always try to find out what their likes and interests are and where we can, find suitable UK alternatives – at the same time it’s an interesting exercise for us to do and means we can find out even more about what is on our own doorstep.