The Summer Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee put the beauty and rich heritage of the United Kingdom on full display in 2012. With a stable economy and day-to-day living considered favorable by many assignees, the United Kingdom continues to be the second most frequent destination country for Cartus relocations.
Country Spotlight: United Kingdom
British society is highly diverse, and the UK sees itself as very distinct from the rest of Europe. A good number of second- and third-generation immigrants compose a sizeable chunk of the population, and these ethnic minorities have a strong voice in their communities. Despite a high standard of living, UK work hours are long, property is expensive, and the major cities are crowded.
London’s metropolitan area is the largest in Europe, and the property market continues to see demand outstripping supply, with insufficient rental stock driving an increase in rental prices. Among the good news items for assignees is that there’s no shortage of education options in the UK, for English and non-English-speaking family members alike.
On the Ground with Cartus
For the last seven years, I’ve served as Cartus Director of Intercultural & Language Solutions EMEA at the Cartus Swindon office, about 80 miles west of London. I’m originally from Minnesota, which is quite different from the UK, but I’ve experienced a number of pleasant surprises while abroad.
The richness of British culture is amazing. The UK is a land of contradictions—a country steeply rooted in its past and traditions, yet evolving and more diverse culturally than any other country I’ve lived in. There’s a running commentary in Britain around what it means exactly to be British. The fact that they are unable to answer this question is testimony to the country’s diversity.
People back home always ask me about the weather. It’s a UK stereotype that the weather is less than nice. Truth be told, the weather is surprisingly fine. It’s never too hot and never too cold. Coming from Minnesota, where it’s 90°F in summer and -20°F in winter, it’s a welcome change. We could do with a bit more snow, though.
My transition has been made easier by the amazing community surrounding me. Building an infrastructure of support, encouragement, and friendship has been worth more than I could possibly have imagined.
And what is one of my favorite things about the UK? That’s an easy one—the food and the humor. They’re quintessentially British!