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Moving to the UK

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Moving to the UK

Unread postby fairvis » Mon May 07, 2012 5:39 pm

Well, this is probably a little bit OT for this forum, but pretty much everything is OT in this forum...

After completing my PhD here in Alabama, I've been offered a postdoc at the University of Manchester, and will be moving there sometime in June (after dropping off a bunch of my stuff in Cleveland before hopping the plane across the pond). That being said, have any of you guys gone through the US/UK ex-pat type of thing? I did an apartment-hunting visit to Manchester a few weeks ago, and loved the city and the people. It helps that I didn't look any different (and was once even called a Yorkshire farmer by some chick at a pub, quickly rescinded when I opened my mouth) and tipped publicans...

So, if any of you have any advice about living overseas, I'd be glad to hear it. I'll be over there for at least two years (the terms of my appointment). Probably should also try to get British_Pharaoh and dazindiansfanuk to get me some info on the best ways to keep up with Cleveland sports over there...
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby mattvan1 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:06 pm

fairvis wrote:Well, this is probably a little bit OT for this forum, but pretty much everything is OT in this forum...

After completing my PhD here in Alabama, I've been offered a postdoc at the University of Manchester, and will be moving there sometime in June (after dropping off a bunch of my stuff in Cleveland before hopping the plane across the pond). That being said, have any of you guys gone through the US/UK ex-pat type of thing? I did an apartment-hunting visit to Manchester a few weeks ago, and loved the city and the people. It helps that I didn't look any different (and was once even called a Yorkshire farmer by some chick at a pub, quickly rescinded when I opened my mouth) and tipped publicans...

So, if any of you have any advice about living overseas, I'd be glad to hear it. I'll be over there for at least two years (the terms of my appointment). Probably should also try to get British_Pharaoh and dazindiansfanuk to get me some info on the best ways to keep up with Cleveland sports over there...


Congrats. I assume you will be on some type of student visa? The first thing to check into is your tax situation and whether or not you will owe any. As you have already visited, you obviously know that the cost of living is quite a bit higher in the UK than in the US, especially (I would think) in Huntsville.

I have lived abroad but never in the UK, but visit London and Aberdeen often. As far as fitting in - be proud to be an American, just don't act like one. If you know what I mean.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby Erie Warrior » Wed May 09, 2012 1:05 pm

Take food with you.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Wed May 09, 2012 2:18 pm

fairvis wrote:Well, this is probably a little bit OT for this forum, but pretty much everything is OT in this forum...

After completing my PhD here in Alabama, I've been offered a postdoc at the University of Manchester, and will be moving there sometime in June (after dropping off a bunch of my stuff in Cleveland before hopping the plane across the pond). That being said, have any of you guys gone through the US/UK ex-pat type of thing? I did an apartment-hunting visit to Manchester a few weeks ago, and loved the city and the people. It helps that I didn't look any different (and was once even called a Yorkshire farmer by some chick at a pub, quickly rescinded when I opened my mouth) and tipped publicans...

So, if any of you have any advice about living overseas, I'd be glad to hear it. I'll be over there for at least two years (the terms of my appointment). Probably should also try to get British_Pharaoh and dazindiansfanuk to get me some info on the best ways to keep up with Cleveland sports over there...


University of Manchester, eh? A very good Uni in my home town of all places.
The best way to keep up with basketball and NFL is to subscribe to Sky Sports and/or use this http://www.atdhe.eu or http://www.firstrowsports.eu

You cna keep up with NCAA and get baseball and ice hockey with ESPN America

And of course there is MLB.tv which Daz and I subscribe to, which is brilliant.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Wed May 09, 2012 2:22 pm

Erie Warrior wrote:Take food with you.

He doesn't have to, there are plenty of KFCs, McDonalds, Subways and Burger Kings over here thanks to the new imperialism is called 'globalisation'
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby mattvan1 » Wed May 09, 2012 5:46 pm

British_Pharaoh wrote:
Erie Warrior wrote:Take food with you.

He doesn't have to, there are plenty of KFCs, McDonalds, Subways and Burger Kings over here thanks to the new imperialism is called 'globalisation'


It's actually called "the further decline of the once great British Empire because we cannot help ourselves from acting like Americans even though we try to demonstrate the ultimate disdain for their culture."
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby fairvis » Wed May 09, 2012 6:27 pm

I'm actually only concerned over two things that I've heard of from my boss over there...

1. Lack of quality Mexican food
2. Barbeque disparity

After 6 years in Alabama, I've got a keen palate of differentiating pulled pork (good versus bad) and barbeque sauces. Gotten fairly picky about those. Some of the stuff I'll probably either have to import or locate via Amazon until I figure out how to make it myself.

Quality pizza is also more of a concern then the standard American foods. I saw plenty of McDonald's and KFC's over there... and it's not like I eat KFC now. Perhaps I'll miss the good old-fashioned Buffalo wing, but I don't know if that can be helped. At least they sell Frank's Red Hot at Sainsbury's (I checked). I cook a lot (my only consistent hobby) so I'm sure that I'll have to adjust my normal weekly meals to fit what's available.

That being said, the worst Indian food there will match anything available in this city, so you take your good with your bad.

I'm heading over on a 2-year Tier 2 work visa, as that's as long as my appointment lasts. The tax information will be interesting, as I'll be a full-time UK resident (as far as their government is concerned), and therefore be in the National Insurance system and have UK taxes taken out directly. Since the UK/US have tax agreements, I should be OK, but I'll still have to sit down with someone (I have a cousin who's a CPA, so she'll probably talk me through it).

BP, what's the best internet/TV options that are over there? I've noticed British Telecom offers ESPN for free, whereas other places don't. Also, Sky Sports sure is expensive... 18 GBP/month? Wow.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby British_Pharaoh » Wed May 09, 2012 6:54 pm

Yeah Sky Sports is a racket. I suggest jsut watching the games on the websites I put up in the previous post. I'm able to watch most Browns and Cavs game son those. ESPN is definitely worth the money for an American. Tonnes of baseball and NCAA action, plus they have Sportscenter, baseball tonight, ATH, PTI etc
and the occasional Premier League game.

I was being facetious with my American junk food comments.

As far as latin American cuisine goes we don't have many but we do have places like Las Iguanas and Chiquitos which are mexican and latin American restaurant chains.

If you like your spicy food I suggest Nando's Portuguese chicken. I can barely handle the mild.

Restaurants in the south are usually better quality and more varied than in the north. I am at University in Bristol and I struggle to recall good restaurants in Manchester, but it has been 4 years since I was there.

The night life is great though. You may have to find some female action among the international students though. Manchester girls are pretty dog rough on the whole.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby mattvan1 » Wed May 09, 2012 8:17 pm

British_Pharaoh wrote: I was being facetious with my American junk food comments.


Noted. I cringe when I travel and see US fast food, especially the insidious Micky D's.

Anyway, to the point - make friends with your butcher. I am quite confident that if you go in and don't adopt the American whiner attitude (not that you would personally, but I have seen it often) and simply ask for a rack of ribs or your steaks (grass fed, BTW)to be cut 1 3/4 inches instead of 1/2 I am sure that the guy will cut it anyway you want it. As far as BBQ sauce, making your own is dead simple and much better, IMO, than anything you could buy in a store. Learn to love Indian food, the "national dish of the UK". Easily takes the place of Mexican, and the curry shops in the UK are typically top notch.

EOD - if you like to cook you'll actually find much better produce (more expensive) and it's actually fun and a bit of challenge to try and re-create you favorite meals with local ingredients.

If you find cooking a pain in the ass and are looking for restaurants to satisfy your Mexican or BBQ jones, it might be a long 2 years. ;-) ;) :wink:
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby YahooFanChicago » Wed May 09, 2012 11:37 pm

Congratulations on the overseas move!

I lived and worked in London for a few years and there is good and bad living in the UK just like everywhere else.

Good:

If you're single it is very easy to meet women over there.
Great to experiece a different culture as a local resident as opposed to a tourist
Lot's of great places in the UK to visit and short flights to the European continent
Great local pubs
Great Indian food and some pretty good other ethnic cuisine (Thai, etc.).

Bad:
The weather gets very depresing (never as cold as Ohio but very grey/damp most of the time)
Local English food is typically not good at all
Local sports suck unless you like English Premier league, rugby and cricket
Taxes (local tax rate is higher-US gives you a tax credit to reduce/eliminate your US taxes but you will pay more total tax since UK tax rates are higher). Also, you will need professional tax help unless you are a real tax expert yourself.
Time zone difference and long distance between Europe and USA makes it hard to stay connected with friends and family.

Recommendatiions:

1. Get a US slingbox and have it installed at a family or friends house in the US so that you can access it and keep up with US sports, news and TV over the internet. As mentioned by someone else, Sky is a local option in England but the entertainment and sports programming sucks compared to US options like Direct TV.

2. Get tax advising assistance.

3. Enjoy the local pubs, Indian curries and other ethnic food options while you are there...they are good.

I know that Manchester and London are much different but those are my recommendations after living in the UK before.

I hope you have a greate time. It should be a really good experience for you!
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby fairvis » Fri May 11, 2012 4:22 am

Thanks, guys. I'm really looking forward to it. I was there for a few days at the end of April, visiting the department and apartment hunting. It rained every 15 min, it seemed. Definitely always had an umbrella. However, I won't have to deal with the crazy weather I've had in Huntsville the past few years, like the normality of tornado sirens (including the EF-2 that went across the street from my house in 2010, and last April 27) as well as the 10" of snow we got that one time (the entire city shut down, hilarious to this guy from Cleveland Heights).

The pub scene was great, and the people were very friendly and really interested about where I was from. Probably helps that I look like I belong there, as pasty, balding, bearded, and ginger that I am. The big things I'll be fine with, it's just all the small things that I'm sure will get to me after a bit. That, and my boss is a Steelers fan from Pittsburgh.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby mattvan1 » Fri May 11, 2012 7:29 am

fairvis wrote:That, and my boss is a Steelers fan from Pittsburgh.


Become a Chelsea supporter.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby RickNashEquilibrium » Fri May 11, 2012 9:56 am

Matt, that's bound to get you killed where Fairvis is going.....unless that was your intention. If you're in greater Manchester and want to support a Local, screw Man U and Man City, cheer for Wigan, Bolten, Trafford, or Bury Shakers.
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby Hikohadon » Fri May 11, 2012 3:26 pm

Erie Warrior wrote:Take food with you.


Why? The food over there is great.

Lots of meat pies. Mmmmmm...
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby Orenthal » Fri May 11, 2012 3:42 pm

AND JAFFA CAKES!
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby fairvis » Mon May 14, 2012 4:40 pm

I was seriously thinking about going to Man City for the Clevelander in me... but now that they actually won a title, I'm not sure anymore...

I'll only be a mile and a half away from Old Trafford, so wearing the sky blue would probably piss a fair amount of people off. Too bad USA soccer screwed it up, since I'd have to show up at that match with some American flags and the Team USA jersey.

Although, USA Basketball does visit Manchester to play Team England in the warmup matches. Thinking of going to the game and heckling LeBron the entire time...
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Re: Moving to the UK

Unread postby jb » Mon May 21, 2012 10:53 am

Start practicing stabbing people.
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