What’s Different?

Apart from the haggis, Scotland probably doesn’t end up very often on Buzzfeed’s “9 Most Exotic Places to Visit before Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed.” Most Scottish citizens speak English as their primary language, and plenty of–very good, I might add–hamburger joints populate Edinburgh. Also, there’s that whole thing about America once being a colony of Great Britain. That being said, cultural differences do exist between the United States and Scotland, oftentimes so small that it could take a while to realize you’re in a different country. (Like realizing you’re in the wrong lecture: something just seems off.)

  1. Perhaps resentful against George Washington, the UK lacks one-dollar/pound bills. The smallest paper currency is a five-pound note. For anything smaller, one and two pound coins are circulated.
  2. When using a credit card, you’ll have to sign for EVERYTHING. I’ve even had to sign for a candy bar! (Don’t judge. I didn’t have any cash. And I was hungry.) Also, the cashier will actually check your signature against the one on your credit card or ID. They’re serious.
  3. The stoplights are all on poles; no signs or stoplights overhang intersections. This arrangement makes room for the double-decker buses (which aren’t just a London fixture).
  4. Because I don’t have a car, driving on the left side of the road isn’t an issue. However, I’m still confused when it comes to crossing the street. Usually, I just wait until someone looking remotely Scottish crosses.
  5. The cab drivers are the real MVPs. They know where absolutely everything is located–without a GPS.
  6. Also, unlike Texas, Scotland has castles, like this one at I photographed at Eilean Donan…eilean-donan
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