Biggest Differences Between Growing Up In America Vs. The UK


If you grew up in the United States, your youth was filled with over zealous holidays, learning to drive as a teen and drinking alcohol in secret.  Meanwhile, if you grew up in the UK, you were used to massive amounts of rain, matching school uniforms and easier access to alcohol than your American friends.  Here are the 15 biggest differences between growing up in America vs. the UK.

1. Getting into college

America: applying to college is this massive, difficult process that’s thrilling and terrifying at the same time when you finally get into a good school.

UK: you applied to all schools through UCAS and were all alone to celebrate the predictable results. 


2. High school dances

America: it’s a huge deal and everybody wants to be the prom king or homecoming queen

UK: we had better things to do than go to a school dance.  Besides, local clubs would let us come party.


3. Weather

America: “OMG SNOW!”

UK: “Wow, look it’s raining…again.”


4. What you wore to school

America: whatever you wanted…as long as it was as long as your fingertips and had sleeves.

UK: Awful matching uniforms that you tried your best to make look different and unique.


5. Partying

America: you snuck into parties or into your parent’s alcohol stores, terrified of the consequences of getting caught.

UK: you drank with your friends and parents openly and were given freedom to booze when you turned 18.  Booyah!


6. Driving a car

America: this happens when turn 16, particularly in suburban areas

UK: happened by age 17 but usually later and that was only if you were lucky enough to have a car to drive.


7. Going to the beach

America: all American teens like to go to the beach. 

UK: All UK teens would like to go to the beach but beaches are cold and rainy most of the time.


8. Holidays

America: 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving…and we all go crazy over all of them!

UK: So, we’ve got…umm…oh– Boxing day!  And Remembrance day as well.  Yeah, ok those don’t compare to how Americans are holiday crazy.



9. Road trips

America: you were willing to drive over several days to reach a cool destination with your friends or family and spend time together.

UK: you were willing to make the maximum two-hour trek to any edge of the country and celebrate not being stuck in a car anymore.


10. Who has more pools?

America: lots of people have pools in their backyard or a pool locally

UK: not quite as many pools.


11. What you did as a teen

America: hung out with your friends at the mall.

UK: hung out with your friends in a park.



12. Local sporting events

America: fans (meaning more than just parents of players) would pack stadiums to cheer on their favorite schools during football season.

UK: you’d be lucky to have more than just your parents at a sporting match…especially if it was raining.


13. Recreational activities

America: you probably went camping in an RV with your family during at least one summer of your life

UK: you got to camp in a tent and hoped it wouldn’t rain.


14. Going to a festival?

America: pack your most boho outfit, sandals and braids

UK: pack an umbrella, wellies, and a coat.


15. Bedrooms

America: Most kids have their own giant bedroom

UK: kids have to share a room with a bunk bed and all the rest of their stuff