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Life In London

Life in the UK vs. China

By Adrian 09 Aug 2022

My life in the UK is VERY different compared to my life in China.

I moved to the UK excited to start my new life and experience a different culture. I absolutely loved my time there but I wanted to make you aware of the big difference between the lifestyle in the UK and China.

Here are some of my findings...

1 Pound = 9 Yuan

Please do not ask me the cost of living in the UK - everything is so expensive under the exchange rate. I spend £1 (almost 9 Yuan) in China to buy 4 or 5 lettuces but here, I can only buy one. Sad times! 

Chips, chips, chips

“What do you want to eat today? Fish and chips? Ribs and chips? Steak and chips?" and it makes me miss Chinese food like rice, noodles, buns, dumplings and so on. British food and the price has forced me to become a good cook...

fish and chips and rice

Cash or card?

In the UK, the common methods of payment are cash and card but in China, I'm more familiar with Alipay and WeChat payment by QR code. Just make sure you remember your purse whenever you go out to the shops if you don't have your cards set up on your phone.

Push the button

Crossing the street in China, we use an overhead bridge but in the UK I always forget that I need to push the button first before crossing the road so that the traffic lights change. Be careful out there.

a traffic light on a city street

Let’s go enjoy the sun!

Chinese girls always carry sun umbrellas when they go out to avoid getting too tanned. In Britain, people are the complete opposite. A lot of people here are obsessed with the sun and lying on the grass in summer to top up their tan.

Fancy a drink?

A lot of students in the UK like to relax in a pub or bar in the evening but I find that a little tedious. That is only because social activities are more various in China - we would go to karaoke, play Majiang and eat hot pot instead.

cocktails and mahjong

"Oh, I'm sorry..."

British people say “sorry” a lot! Before moving to the UK I only used the word when I did something wrong or to express my apologies. If you bump into a British person, they will probably apologise before you do. 

Send an email

In China, if you need to inform others of an important message we prefer to use the telephone but in the UK email plays a key role in work and daily life. Either way, make sure your information reaches the other person successfully!

a woman talking on a cell phone

Enjoy your university experience in the UK - I loved it and hope you do too.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London and the Warden of Connaught Hall, where he has lived for more than 25 years.
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