American woman shares biggest culture shocks she faced after moving to England

An American living in England shared the biggest surprises she encountered after moving across the Atlantic.

The fascinating cultural comparison comes courtesy of TikToker user @miriamgiraffe, who moved to London in late 2021. Since then, she went viral for explaining the things that “threw” her most about her new environment.

For months now, TikTokers with similar situations have engaged in an ongoing trend, sharing the biggest “culture shocks” they experienced after moving abroad. In a particularly popular clip, a New Zealander working in the U.S. explained her biggest qualms with American taxes. In another, a British TikToker showed how ordering in restaurants is different in the states.

Conversely, @miriamgiraffe gave an American’s perspective on British culture. Her first surprise? How English people greet one another.


“You alright?” still occasionally throws me, if I’m honest 😅 #theatrekid #fyp #pourtoi #lifeabroad #movingabroad #uk #london

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As the TikToker explains, it’s common in the U.K. to ask someone, “Are you alright?” when greeting them. While @miriamgiraffe found the phrase a bit invasive at first, it’s really just a normal way of saying hello — similar to how Americans ask, “How are you?” while not really expecting an honest answer.

“It took me a while to figure out what people meant,” @miriamgiraffe added in a comment. “I always thought I must look unwell.”

Secondly, @miriamgiraffe was surprised by how Londoners often have to “hail” the bus, even when standing at a designated stop. It’s common to see commuters flag down the city’s buses, despite the fact that, according to Transport for London, drivers must stop at each pickup area regardless.

Last but not least, @miriamgiraffe was happily surprised to find that most museums in London offer free entry. While the Smithsonian museums and a handful of others are free in the U.S., this isn’t necessarily a common American practice. For example, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art — America’s biggest museum by exhibition space — charges $25 for adult entry, excluding residents of the tri-state area.

Americans and Brits alike flooded @miriamgiraffe’s comments sections, sharing their thoughts on the differences.

“This is so cute, lol,” one user wrote. “The small things we don’t even think [about] are a total mystery to you.”

“My brain still shuts down when I hear the phrase, ‘You alright?’ another added.

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