The Biggest Differences Between Great Britain and America

Britain and America have been allies for much of their history and although they share many traits, partly due to the fact that the US was once under British rule, they’re very different. Television and film have done a good job at showing us how dissimilar these two countries are, but there are many more, some of which you might not be aware of. Here are some of the biggest differences between these two English-speaking countries. 

1. Breakfasts

Surveys as well as companies like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have shown that most Americans like to begin their day with a cup of coffee. In fact, one survey stated that Americans consume an average of 400 million cups of coffee a day. Brits, on the other hand, like to start their day off with a cup of tea. The beverage is so important to the British that they also have a meal called Afternoon Tea and at any given time, you’ll find people debating whether the tea is added to the cup before the milk or vice versa.  

2. Workplace Leave

Workplace etiquette is similar in both countries but there are some differences that’ll make you wonder why one country has more benefits than the other. In America, people tend to work longer hours with few breaks while their friends across the pond have a lunch hour and two tea breaks. Additionally, many Americans choose to eat their lunch at work, while the British tend to go out for their meal or eat away from their workstations. When it comes to benefits, American employers are great at providing life insurance, bonuses, and retirement benefits. British employers do pay their employees’ pension, but at a lower rate than Americans.

3. Dining Etiquette

America and Britain differ greatly when it comes to dining habits. Most Americans tip their wait staff generously while most British tend to tip when attending high-class restaurants then intermittently when visiting other eateries. They would never tip when going to diners/cafes or bars/pubs.  When an American is unable to finish their meal, they often request a doggy bag to take their meal home. On the other side of the Atlantic, it is so out of character to ask for one that staff often have difficulty trying to find a container to put the food in. Additionally, asking for a doggy bag in Britain may suggest that you are too poor to buy another meal.

4. On the Road

It is well known that, depending on which country you are from, one of the countries drives on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, but that’s not all that’s different. British vehicles are usually much smaller because petrol (gas) is much more expensive. Also, some 75% of British vehicles have a manual transmission compared to the 2% in the United States. Lastly, roads in Britain are rarely straight and unlike their American counterparts, their cities are not laid out in grids. 

5. Medical Care

There are some major differences in medical care between the United States and Britain. The British have free access to hospitals and doctors and their prescriptions are either free or heavily subsidized. The downside is that they have to wait to be treated, sometimes months. They also have the option to pay a private system to beat the NHS’ queue system, but people rarely do it. The American’ healthcare system is based on insurance payments and depending on the plan, healthcare could be free or have co-payments. Additionally, access to healthcare is much faster. 


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