British Expats

If you are searching the internet for things about British Expats, it is more than likely that you are considering, dreaming about, or about to become an Expat Brit. It is an exciting time in anyone’s life, a time for hopes and dreams where the world is your oyster. You are wise to research your country of choice before hand and a British Expat blog, forum and social media groups are a great place to start that process. You will find plenty of willing Expat Brits around to offer their words of advice. A golden rule of life is to try and learn from other’s mistakes rather than make them yourself.

Becoming an expat Brit means changing your whole life and adapting to a new culture. Even if you are planning to move to a similar country such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA, many things will be new and even the words for things different. I remember marching into a stationary store in Townsville Australia many moons ago and demanding I needed a rubber. The assistant told me in a bemused fashion that she didn’t sell them. I looked back at her in a perplexed way and said that she must do, it was after all a stationary store. We both worked out with a giggle that what I was actually after was an eraser and I was not propositioning her.

Cultural norms are very different in each country you may reside in. You would think for example that New Zealand and Australia are very similar, which really isn’t the case at all.

I can certainly vouch that the French way of life has an awful lot to teach any British expat about the values of life. The main cultural difference which was a bit of a shock to my British values was all the kissing and hugging that goes on whenever you meet someone. It turned out that once you befriend a French man, they also expected a peck or two on the cheek. At the very least you are expected to shake everybody’s hand all the time. Ingrained in my mind’s eye is a vision that greeted me on visiting my good friend and local farmer Bertrand one Christmas for dinner. Bertrand is a big bear of a man with a resplendent full beard and a twinkle in his eye. On opening the door, there he was in all his glory, full of the “joie de vivre” (the local red wine) goose fat spread throughout his moustache and around his mouth, from some greasy treat he had obviously recently enjoyed. I looked at him, he looked at me and I knew what was coming next, a big bear hug and me sharing the experience of goose fat on the face. When I finally left France and looked back on my time there what I learnt was the closeness of the culture and communities in France was intricately linked to the tactile nature of the culture. It was very easy to be happy in France and after all what is the most important thing in life?

But enough about me, if you are looking to become a British expat, before you know it your whole world will be full of new experiences, smells, sounds and people. The grey British winter days commuting to work by train or in traffic behind you. An open page before you to create something new, be something new, beckoning you from the future. As Shakespeare put it : “All the world’s a stage” and you are the actor playing your part. You are about to change your stage and you will find your part will change with it, or at least it should, to fit in, as you adapt to what is around you.

It will take you three weeks to feel like you have properly arrived in a new country, three months to feel like you belong and three years to decide if you want to stay. There is however no place like home and distance does make the heart grow fonder. No doubt you will still have friends and family back in Britain. As time goes by one tends to remember the good things more clearly. All British people have been through emotional turbulent times of late and as a British expat I am sure that I am joined by the majority of my countrymen and women in being concerned by recent political events. No I am not going to go there, however there are implications for the country in general and in particular British businesses. These are after all the backbone of the British economy and therefore society.

The benefit that I personally take from the turmoil of the last few months and years, is that it has made me think about what it is to be a British expat and though I consider myself a World citizen the obligations I have to my fellow countrymen and women as well as friends and family back home. I am sure I am not alone in that process. We decided to do something about it rather than worry and whinge. UKDIRECT was born.

How to Buy from Britain
Buy from Britain

I realised back on March 31st 2019 (nope not going there) that British businesses, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were going to have to prepare for a seismic shift in how trade was conducted. They needed to reach the online national market as well as those British expats and Anglophiles overseas. In today’s online world that is not easy to do. See the Buy from Britain article here for further details.  This is why we set about creating UKDIRECT to address this problem and do our best to help support good old Blighty.

The number of British Expats is higher than the population of New Zealand for example. We are a sizable market in our own right: see British Diaspora on Wikipedia. Combined with this there are relatives of British expats, second generation Brits and other Anglophiles in the World, with an interest in all things British. Together this adds up to a large amount of people and potential customers for British businesses.

From my own personal experience as an British expat there are two occasions where I particularly missed having an easy way to access shopping within the UK online, easily. The first is when i had the desire to buy new clothes, shoes or accessories etc and I did not have the same quality choice at a good price point like I grew up with in Britain available in my adopted country of residence. My second concern was even if I could find a UK store, which was a task in its self, did they ship to my country at an affordable price. At UKDIRECT we have addressed these issues. You can shop direct from more than 100 UK based online stores easily and affordably. All stores offer reasonable delivery charges internationally and a store’s shipping policy is detailed in their description. We also promote those stores offering FREE shipping deals as they are offered.

 The second occasion is when Christmas time comes around or I wish to send a gift to someone in the UK. We have an ever growing number of UK stores offering gifts and often offer free shipping to the UK or internationally when you spend over a certain amount:

I am sure the site would also be very useful for family and friends to send British gifts to a British Expat overseas.

This is our effort to do our bit for Britain. We do not charge UK Businesses to list on the site as is the case for shoppers also. If you buy something direct from a UK store, we make a small commission (We have to live too). Please feel free to explore UKDIRECT, we don’t use nasty off site tracking cookies and your privacy is respected. If you would like to help spread the word and help support British businesses please do share with your friends and family wherever they are in the World via the social media buttons throughout the site.

Thanks for being here and welcome to being a British Expat, its a beautiful world we live in 🙂

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