Expats explain how life in the USA is ‘odd’

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There are around 700,000 British expats living in the USA. While there’s plenty to love about America, expats have taken to Reddit to explain the things they just can’t get used to.

An expat wrote: “Sick days and having very few vacation days. In most countries I know, you can take as many sick days while keeping at least the biggest portion of your salary.

“As for vacation, usually 20 days are what you are required to get by law, and in most countries you have between 25-40 days a year. To hear Americans getting 15 or so a year is just unimaginable for me.”

While the minimum amount of paid holiday in the UK is 20 days apart from bank holidays, US workers aren’t entitled to any paid holiday at all.

On average, workers in the USA will be offered around 10 days of paid holiday but they may have to work at the company for a certain amount of time to earn it.

The USA is one of the few countries in the world not to offer guaranteed sick pay to workers by law.

Some workers are able to take unpaid sick leave without losing their job but others don’t even qualify for that.

As a result, some Americans say they have felt forced to go to work when they’ve been sick as they can’t afford to lose the money.

British expats who move to the USA while working for a British company may be offered more paid vacation days.

Another expat said: “Gun ownership. It feels so odd to people who live in places without them, especially how many Americans seem convinced that people need them.”

Gun laws vary across the USA with some states allowing people to own a weapon without a permit.

California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York have some of the strictest gun laws but many of these have had mass shootings.

According to a Gallup survey, 57 percent of Americans think that gun laws should be more strict while 10 percent think they should be less strict.

Expats were also bemused by car usage in the USA with one saying “if you don’t have a car, you will not be able to get a job.”

Another expat said: “Going everywhere with cars. In most cities my father was told there was basically no option for walking to stores.”

In several US states, at least 95 percent of households have access to a car with people using it for the majority of travel.

However, there are a few US cities where public transport is far more used, such as New York and Washington DC.

Expats were also surprised by the “amount of fast food consumed regularly” and the “portion sizes”.

Fast food and drive-thru restaurants are very common in the USA with both McDonald’s and Burger King originating there.

British expats may be surprised by portion sizes in the USA which are usually larger than those in Europe.

American food is generally sweeter than in the UK with the average American consuming 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

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