Expat Voices: Danielle Revers on living in Edinburgh
Danielle came from the USA to study in Aberdeen two years ago and now works for the Scottish Parliament. She likes haggis, but is still puzzled by British football culture.
Name: Danielle Revers
City of residence: Edinburgh
Year of birth: 1985
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Parliamentary Assistant
Reason for moving to the UK: Study
Lived in the UK for: 2 years
What was your first impression of the United Kingdom?
My first impression of the UK was as a third year university student on a semester abroad - in Aberdeen (of all places!). What probably impressed upon me the most was the history that is everywhere - Aberdeen University itself is older than the United States. This ancient aspect of the UK challenged my perspective of human individuals and made me very aware that I am a very small part of something bigger that will outlast all of us.
What do you think of the food?
The food... well, I have come to hold a deep appreciation for curry! Generally the 'British' food hasn't impressed me much although I have tried haggis (a Scottish national dish) and, yes, it's good!
What do you think of the shopping in the UK?
I don't think that 'high street' shopping is much different than in the US - other than the fact that it's normally done in a high street and not in a mall. However, shopping on a budget is made infinitely easier by charity shops, which I am a huge fan of. They are generally smaller and of a higher quality than shops like the Salvation Army in the US - good for your pocket book and good for your social conscience!
What do you appreciate about living in the UK?
I appreciate public transportation and the overall acceptance of social responsibility. I haven't driven once since I've lived in the UK and while having a car would occasionally make things easier, the fact that I get where ever I need to go - with the exception of select rural areas - by public transport is pretty amazing. Also, in Scotland the people are very proud to live in a society and contribute to a system that tries its best to take care of those who are less fortunate - and this is a feature of Scottish society that I very much value and am proud to participate in!
What do you find most frustrating about living in the UK?
The weather (what ever happened to that thing I used to call 'summmer'?), the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, and not being in Detroit in the spring to watch the Red Wings (Ice Hockey) in the playoffs!
What puzzles you about the UK and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
The football culture definitely puzzles me. I understand the draw to the sport of football - it is fast, requires strategy and developed technique. It's the football culture - which is about everything EXCEPT football - that puzzles me.
I miss lots of things, but family and friends back home, mostly. I also really miss having a yard with lots of space and trees, hot summers, and hot apple cider with fresh doughnuts in the autumn.
How does the quality of life in the UK compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
I think it's relatively the same, although I find it much easier to 'live small' here, which I very much appreciate. I am certainly much more conscious now of what I buy and what I waste, which has improved my appreciation for the things I have and therefore altered my perspective on 'quality of life.'
If you could change anything about the UK, what would it be?
I would change the drinking culture. Friday and Saturday nights are pretty out of hand in the city centre. While I like to enjoy a glass of wine (or two!), not drinking (heavily) is often seen as anti-social and strange, despite the fact that heavy drinking causes more problems than it solves. [Forum discussion] Additionally, it isn't uncommon to find people who cannot adequately function socially because they have been relying on alcohol from a young age as their liquid bravery. So yes, I would change the drinking culture. Oh, and the weather.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Don't drink a 'dirty pint', and see and do as much as you can - act like a tourist!
Joining Expat Voices
If you would like to share your perspective about life in the UK, please send an email to EditorUK@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.
Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.