25 Things Any Brit Visiting the US Should Know

Zoe Samuel

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About This Article

If Richard Curtis has shown us anything, it is that the UK and the US are not the same. While our cultures share similarities, there are important differences that go back centuries, marking the cultural split between the two nations. First, there are differences between the US and the UK that, for travelers with a little knowledge, can mean having a great time. Second, there are the differences that are traps waiting for a visitor's footfall. Stepping amiss can have consequences, visible or not, consequences that can close doors you never knew were there, or make your life less than ideal in other ways.

The United States' cultural differences go back to the 1700s, when they began naming places and institutions "Columbia" to differentiate their cultural identity from British to American, taking the name of the Italian explorer over older names — turning King's College in New York City into Columbia University, for example. Having a written constitution does not just mean there are functional differences in terms of the law, but the way people think of their rights is different, venerating the document in some of the same ways one venerates a much-loved head of state. These differences are just the tip of the iceberg and hint at the differences for which British visitors should prepare.

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