The other day, I was Google chatting with a good friend from college Billy (hello!) who asked me what the biggest difference between living in the US and the UK. And you know what? That question actually stumped me. Billy told me that it’s something he always wonders about, the differences between these two cultures, and what has stood out to me.
Taking this suggestion from a loyal reader, I am going to attempt to give you observations of the differences between the two cultures in small lil bites. But before I begin, I have to add two caveats:
1. My observations are based on where we live in Northern Wales. I have more sheep and cows in the surrounding area, rather than the big city lights of London.
2. I have only been in the UK for about 7 months, so I haven’t experienced every facet of life here…
But with that, away we go!
When comes to differences between the US and the UK, one of the most apparent for me is the health care system. In America, many times you ponder and worry about co-payments, prescription costs, preventative care or even putting off treatments until the next fiscal year. I’ll be honest, I know I did when I was in America. If I thought I could avoid the doctor’s or put it off for a few weeks or months, I would… those co-payments and prescription costs really start adding up.
Here in the UK, no one has to worry about getting the healthcare that they need. Even as an Expat from a non-EU country, I have access to healthcare. Now that six months has passed, I can now register for a General Practitioner (GP). That’s another thing on my To-Do list.
Now, I’ll be honest. Even before I have registered for my GP, I was able to access birth control prescriptions with no hassles at all. And since we live in Wales, my prescriptions are (get this) free. This concept of accessible healthcare was something that took me some time to wrap my head around. ‘What do you mean there is no copay? Or prescription costs?” This is was surreal to me.
I will say, the system isn’t perfect there are loop holes you have to hop through to get access. For example, you have to call (a typically busy) telephone line which has limited hours to schedule an appointment. But that can be fixed by a bit of planning head. And yes, I have to pay into the National Health System (NHS) monthly through my wages, but the way I see it is that I had to pay insurance premiums in America and the coverage wasn’t nearly as extensive.
I know that the concept of universal healthcare has lots of people in America debating across the political isle. But I will tell you, not having to worry about myself or Neal and getting the preventative health care (or treatment if need be) and or how to pay is a huge relief.
Be on the look out for other comparisons between the US and the UK!