UK vs USA: Which One Is Better? 14 Biggest Differences


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Although they share the same language, there are a number of differences between the US and the UK. Some of the biggest differences are in terms of the education system, driving and traffic rules, living costs, weather conditions, etc. We will explain all these and other differences between the US and the UK in detail in this article.

But, before we begin, you should know that even within countries there are certain differences. In both the US and the UK, life can be different from area to area. For example, the way of life in England will be different than in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, etc., just as life in America is different, for example, in Alaska and Hawaii.

UK vs USA: 14 Biggest Differences

The differences between the UK and the US that we have outlined are broad and probably do not apply to all areas. Check out the 14 most prominent differences below.

1. Education Costs

Sometimes, there are significant cost disparities between the 2 countries. According to a 2012 law passed by the government, universities in England charge up to $14,300 a year. This applies to UK students, and fees for international students will be higher.

In stark contrast, there are no restrictions on how many American universities may charge, and education costs can vary greatly.

Fees in the US may be split into; in-state tuition fees and out-of-state tuition fees, as well among private and public universities (Private universities charge an annual average fee of around $29,000, but some universities charge as much as $50,000.)

2. The Length of the Course

The duration of courses is among the most noticeable differences between studying in the UK and the USA. With all levels of higher education, the UK nearly always offers shorter courses than its American equivalents.

In the UK, a bachelor's degree typically takes three years, but in the US, it takes four. A master's program normally lasts one year in the UK and two years in the US. Finally, a Ph.D. will typically take between 3 and 4 years in the UK (with few exceptions for specific courses), compared to between 5 and 7 years in the USA.

It's simple to draw judgments about quality vs. quantity, but there's very little data to say either education system is superior. However, for those who spend an extra year studying, the cost becomes significantly higher.

3. Living Cost in the US vs UK

Although it's impossible to compare the cost of living exactly across two nations, it is thought that living in the UK is around 16% more costly than living in the US. But, this does not mean that everything in the UK is 16% more costly than in the US. In actuality, certain expenses vastly differ between the two.

For instance, the price of cigarettes and fuel in the UK is approximately twice as high as in the US. However, internet and cell phone costs in the UK are 30% - 40% less than in the US.

While education costs and healthcare are far more expensive in the US, clothing, gadgets, and childcare are all more expensive in the UK. In contrast, when we compare London and New York, the former is less expensive.

4. Work Possibilities in the UK vs USA

While neither the UK nor the USA guarantees a job at the end of students' education, their laws are different.

International students are only permitted to stay in the USA for 60 days after graduating. To find employment on an F-1 visa during that period, students will need to enroll in either another college or a program called Optional Practical Training (Numerous students find themselves departing after 60 days because accessing this option is not always very simple).

In the UK, conditions were quite similar to the US until recently. However, recent developments allow international students to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after graduation, allowing them to get to know the nation outside the context of formal study.

5. Clubs and Societies in the UK vs USA

The offer of societies and clubs differs in the US and the UK.

In the United States, clubs vary from marching bands to varsity sports and fraternities and sororities. Students frequently put as much focus on extra-curricular activities as they do their studies, allowing them to have a broad and diverse college experience.

Sports societies in the United Kingdom are organized and directed by the Athletic Union, with obligations varying depending on how active individuals want to be.

Students are able to balance their extracurricular activities with their studies since social life is flexible and often does not require a significant time commitment.

The UK does not provide some of the organizations and clubs that the USA offers.

6. Opportunities After Graduation

The structure of the higher education system in the United Kingdom differs from that of the United States.

Students in the United States who want to improve and specialize in their field first attend graduate school (The majority of specialized professions, including medicine, law, and engineering, need a specialist degree from graduate schools).

In the UK, the majority of students have learned a lot of their subjects before they ever consider pursuing a postgraduate degree.

In contrast to the USA, where students might enroll in law or medical school without having fully explored the subjects, it is uncommon for students to enroll in a postgraduate program in the UK with only a basic knowledge of the subject.

7. Differences in Driving Between the United States and the United Kingdom

Americans worry about adjusting to driving in the UK on the left side of the road. But, the differences in driving between the USA and UK are much more than right vs left.

Aside from motorways, British roadways are much narrower than American ones. Two-way roadways are frequently too tight for two automobiles to pass one another side by side, so one must move over to make space for the other.

It also takes far longer to drive from one location to another in the UK than it does in the US since there aren't nearly as many highways or even lengthy roads. To go from point A to point B, drivers must travel a number of back roads, and it can take as little as 10 minutes to travel one mile.

The road system in the United Kingdom is mainly reliant on roundabouts, which are effective at keeping traffic flowing but may be terrifying to most Americans.

8. The Weather in the United States is Much More Predictable Than it

is in the United Kingdom

It often rains in Britain. There is daily information about the possibility of precipitation, but weather forecasts are often wrong. British weather is unique and unpredictable. It happens to be raining heavily while the sun is shining.

9. Food in the USA vs UK

It is to be expected that the kind of cuisine that is popular in the US and the UK differ culturally. In reality, the UK bans much food that is permitted in the US.

Food with the same name in the US and the UK may differ noticeably due to regulatory variations. Eggs are a good example of this difference. The required vaccination of chickens in the UK protects the eggs against salmonella. This is not the case in the US, so American eggs must be refrigerated.

Interesting cultural differences include the fact that UK residents use forks and knives while eating a meal. In the US, eating a rack of ribs with the hands is normal, but in the UK, it is disgusting.

10. Drinks in the UK vs USA

Many Americans drink in ways that differ from those in the UK. Most people of Americans consume soda, but the most of British drink tea. Here the UK definitely has an advantage over the US as tea is healthier than soda.

People from the US are usually surprised when their drink comes without ice. British people think that adding ice waters down drinks and that they are better off without it.

Drink sizes are one size smaller in the UK.

11. Grocery Shopping: Brits vs Americans

This contrast is more between Europe and American cultures than between British and American cultures. However, compared to Americans who only shop for groceries once a week (or less), Brits often do so more frequently.

There are several reasons for this, but the biggest one is that American refrigerators and kitchens are far larger than those in the UK. The typical British cabinets are too small to hold a month's worth of groceries, and their kitchen probably lacks a large double-door refrigerator for perishables.

Lastly, it's purely a matter of culture. While Americans have evolved into a nation where a person must drive to get to the grocery store, Europeans have been "going to the market" for generations and live in walkable cities with greengrocers, butchers, etc.

12. Work-Life Balance

In comparison to the US, the UK enjoys a better work-life balance because of its 28 required paid holidays and typically non-competitive workplace culture. While it may not be as great as France or Sweden (with an amazing 41 days off), it is still far better than the 0 days that Americans are legally entitled to.

The experience of work-life balance will differ depending on the organization, field, and area. According to some sources, Londoners work three weeks more each year than the rest of the UK.

13. Housing in the USA vs the UK

In many ways, housing in the UK is different from housing in the US. The size is one of the most obvious variances. On average, UK houses are considerably smaller than US houses. In addition to size, there are variations in amenities and appliances.

The outlets have a different plug design, which is another noticeable difference in the housing.

British homes typically have radiant heating and no air conditioning, in contrast to the majority of American homes, which have forced air heating and central air conditioning.

14. Public Transportation Compared

Given how well-connected the UK is, there is frequently an abundance of public transportation. This implies that people can travel without a car and quickly reach their destination. In the UK, individuals frequently walk for more than 20 minutes to reach their destination.

People can cross any street, anyplace in England, unlike in the US, where individuals must utilize the crosswalk and the sidewalk. Given that most areas in the UK are not as spread as those in the US, it seems natural that more residents there go outside and walk. In the majority of American cities, transportation is by vehicle.

What Are the Visa Requirements for Trvelling to the USA?

Non-US travellers must have some form of travel authorisation to visit the USA. Depending on the reason why you’re travelling, there are different types of visas available. However, citizens of countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Programme have one big advantage over other travellers.

They can enter the USA by applying to ESTA, the quickest and easiest way to get travel authorisation. It is possible to obtain this form of travel authorisation within a few days or even hours. Getting a US visa generally takes much longer.

Keep in mind that ESTA is available only for travellers that are entering the US for tourism, business, transit, or medical purposes. Also, it allows a stay that is no longer than 90 days in total.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


This depends on a number of variables. For example, the average American salary is higher than the average British salary, but this does not imply that Americans automatically have much more money to spend. Despite the fact that American employees earn more money, other factors such as taxes, health care, and other factors determine this amount. The US also has nicer weather conditions, so maybe for that reason some may consider it a better place to live than the UK.
Although neither the UK nor the USA assures students of employment upon completion of their studies, their rules differ. After graduating, foreign students are only allowed to stay in the country for 60 days. Students will need to enroll in either another college or a program known as Optional Practical Training in order to obtain employment on an F-1 visa. During that time UK enable overseas students to remain in the UK and find employment for up to two years after they graduate.