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Whilst the United Kingdom may be small, it’s certainly not lacking in traditions, cultures and even languages! Made up of the three countries of Great Britain – England, Scotland & Wales – and Northern Ireland, it boasts an incredible variety of people, customs and landscapes.
Whether you’re looking for quaint countryside, bustling cities or peaceful coastal life, moving to the United Kingdom will not only offer you the perfect spot, you can often find all of these and more combined, or at least within easily reachable distance.
The UK has a rich and long-standing history, and is one of very few countries left to still have an active royal family. These traditions are combined with a contemporary and forward-thinking ethos and its citizens are justly proud of their many achievements within arts, sciences and politics.
Accommodation in the UK can range from flat shares in city centres to charming detached cottages out in the countryside.
The rental market isn’t as prominent as in other European countries, with most citizens preferring to buy, especially outside of the capital, but there is still plenty of accommodation on offer. Estate agencies are widely used and provide the easiest means to find accommodation, although administration and reference-checking fees are the norm.
Looking online is the simplest and best way to discover what’s currently available on the market and to gauge average prices in your area. Expect higher prices in London and in the south in general.
The vast majority of schooling is state-run and free for children to attend up to the age of 18. Primary schools teach children from the ages of 4 to 11 and then they move onto secondary school. There are comprehensive schools, which can be attended by anyone and grammar schools, which require an examination to be taken for entry. There is also private schooling, or international schools available for a fee. The most common qualifications are A-levels, and the Higher in Scotland, but the International Baccalaureate can also be found in certain establishments.
Every school operates within a catchment area, so it is worth considering which schools fall within your area before committing to accommodation.
The culture varies from country to country and area to area but, on the whole, it is community focussed and friendly throughout the UK. Working days are traditionally Monday-Friday, 9am to 5 or 6pm, depending on your job, with weekends reserved for family and social activities.
In addition to generous annual leave (usually a minimum of 20 days per year), the UK also benefits from extra days off for ‘bank holidays’ throughout the year.
Although there are many different religions co-existing within the UK, traditional Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas are widely celebrated and there are many social events and activities at these times.
There’s quite a stigma surrounding British food but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you arrive! Not only are some of the classics – like fish & chips, sausage and mash, or homemade fruit crumbles – seriously delicious, the UK has also embraced cuisine from all over the world so there’s plenty to choose from.
The weather sometimes gets bad press as well, but the distinction of the seasons is rather glorious. You’ll enjoy sunny summer days, crisp autumnal walks, snug winters in front of the fire and springs filled with blossom (still, every wise Brit takes their umbrella out with them no matter the season!).
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