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From Public Transport to Local Customs: Adapting to Life in the UK as a Gambian Expat

25 Apr 2024

Do you know what one of the biggest challenges Gambian expatriates face in the UK is? Well, largely, it is when it comes to adapting a new life in the UK, particularly when they go to the UK to earn a living to send money online to Gambia from UK to help their family financially.

A report published by the UK Office of National Statistics revealed that about 20,000 Gambians live in the UK for work and education.          

Strangely enough, almost all of them faced the challenge of adjusting to life in the UK. Those planning to go anytime soon will also grapple with the same issue unless they understand all about adapting to life in the UK.    

This blog will walk you through the culture of the UK so that you can easily adapt to life there. After all, if you do not know the UK culture, how will you understand what to do to adjust to life in the UK?   

Diving Deep into and Understanding the Culture of the UK

In Western Europe, the UK is home to over 66 million people. Its robust economy and expansive and thriving job markets are a big attraction for people from outside of the country. People from developing countries are attracted to the UK in search of jobs, which they get mostly thanks to the strong UK economy.                 

Its top-quality education is another major attraction for people seeking top-notch higher education.  

Let’s explore different cultural aspects of the UK because always remember that your professional success and excellence in the UK are directly linked with how well you understand the local culture. Needless to say, you are living in the UK to earn a living so that you can send money to Gambia from UK to offer financial support back home.  

The Language

Approximately 98% of the population in the UK speaks English with several dialects, making it the country's main language. Accents in the UK vary largely from south to north, where the natives get confused.

Some of the regional languages spoken in the UK are Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, with the latter being the most common and widely spoken regional language.

Religion and Beliefs       

The state-sanctioned official religion in the UK is the Church of England, rooted in the Christian Protestant faith. But since the middle of the last century, less than half the population has stopped attending Church services, with a third having no religious connection.     

Some minority religions are Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism.

Major Celebrations  

Some major UK celebrations include Christmas Day (December 25th), Boxing Day (December 26th), New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, and the Queen’s Birthday on the second Saturday in June.

Bank Holidays, May Day (May 1st), the Spring Bank Holiday on the last weekend of May, and the Summer Bank Holiday on the last weekend of August are also major celebrations in the UK.

The Family 

Over the past few years, people in the UK have come to believe in single-parent families with many couples choosing to cohabit rather than marry simply. Divorce, which was once unimaginable in the UK, is now more acceptable.  

Social Stratification and Class Divisions

In the UK, you will find three main class types. At the top is the upper class, and the aristocracy is at the commanding heights of the government machinery. The other courses include the middle class and the working class.           

Until not long ago, only the upper class had access to jobs and high-quality education in the UK. But now, these are accessible to all across the board and without discrimination.

Gender Roles 

Gender roles were male-dominated in the UK until the middle of the 20th century. Men would command a household with several jobs meant only for males. But now, women in the UK have been empowered enough to take the lead in areas intended for males until just a few decades ago.

The Economy

The UK has a robust economy with a thriving job market. According to a World Bank report, the nominal GDP of the UK was $2.27 trillion in 2022. In another report, the World Bank said that the GDP Per Capita income of the UK in 2022 was $46,125.3.

This is the reason why in the UK, if you seek a job as a Gambian migrant, you can easily get one, earn a living, and offer financial support to your family back home in every money transfer from UK to Gambia.

Transportation and Commuting in the UK

The UK's transportation system is one of the best in the world. You can choose any mode to move around in the UK. Some of the UK's most popular travel mediums include trains, underground metro networks, Eurostar, buses, coaches, flights, cars and cabs, and cycling.

 The Underground in London offers round-the-clock service with its labyrinthine tunnels, which stand as a hallmark of efficiency for urban transport. For the UK travelers, Eurostar offers a swift connection to the continental Europe. London also provides state-of-the-art conveyance through coaches and buses. These modes of transport are known for traveler’s convenience wrapped with speed and punctuality. But the best way is to travel by public transport because it is cost-effective and efficient.

 In essence, traveling by public transport in the UK is not just a practical choice; it's a cultural experience that enhances the journey itself. While how you adjust to life in the UK is addressed in the next section, you must know everything about how to make a living in the UK as an expatriate.

Read more: How do you make a living in the UK as an Expatriate? 

Adjusting to Life in the UK – Easy Steps to Follow

Understanding a country’s culture, norms, and values is one thing, but adjusting to them is another. If you know the simple steps to adapt to a new environment, your knowledge about it will not help you much.

Below are a few simple tips to follow to adapt to life in the UK.     

  • Forget the stereotypes about the UK as times have changed substantially. So, what was relevant yesterday has become irrelevant today, and what seems odd today might become the norm tomorrow. 
  • Be flexible and accept change. 
  • The UK is a cluster of countries such as England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. All are different, and you must understand the difference and accept it. 
  •  Prepare to be living in smaller spaces while in the UK.
  •  Visit pubs as the Brits are fond of visiting pubs, which are an integral part of their culture.
  • Make sure to be polite and wear a smile on your face when you meet and greet someone.       
  • Brits are humourous. So, prepare to accept jokes from them, as humor is central to British culture.  
  • Get used to the diverse accents and different spellings.
  •  Accept the diversity and explore the country’s antiquity.

Ensure to Secure Yourself Financially While Remitting Back Home

Your purpose in going to the UK is to earn a living so that you can make money transfers from UK to Gambia to aid your family financially. But this is a tricky area with the risk spiking because: 

a) the process involves your hard-earned money, and    

b) is repetitive. 

Therefore, make sure to choose ACE Money Transfer and get live and market-competitive currency exchange rates, with the swift and safe delivery of funds in the Gambia from the UK and get much more from just one window for just a low fee, with the services being available 24/7 in over 100 countries worldwide.   


What is the UK such an attraction for the Gambians?

The UK is a big attraction for the Gambians and others because of its robust economy and thriving and expansive job market, which can easily accommodate job seekers. In addition, the top-notch education also attracts migrants to the UK.  

What is UK culture like?

The culture of the UK is much like that of the typical Western culture. Society is divided into the upper class, middle class, and working-class; the people have little attachment to religion, and the family norms are constantly evolving.

Why is knowing about my host country’s culture important?

Knowing your host country’s culture is important for you because it will help you connect with the locals better and deeply and immerse yourself in the local environment, as it is important for your professional growth and excellence given that you have gone to a foreign country to work and earn a living.

What are the prime benefits of knowing my host country’s culture?

Some of the prime benefits you can get from knowing the culture of your host country include quick adjustment to the environment, connecting with the locals better and deeply, expanding your network, and fusing with the local people. All of this is important for your professional growth.

How do you adapt to life in the UK?

You can easily adapt to life in the UK by being flexible, understanding the differences, forgetting about the stereotypes, preparing to live in smaller spaces, being polite to the locals, understanding the diverse accents and spellings, accepting jokes and getting used to the British humor, and accepting diversity and exploring the country’s culture and antiquity.     



·      Gambians in the UK

(Post-Brexit UK toughens on immigration, EU Fears ‘Worse’ Laws, 20,000 Gambians Could Be Affected - The Point)

·      UK GDP

(GDP (current US$) - United Kingdom | Data (

·      UK GDP Per Capita

(GDP per capita (current US$) - United Kingdom | Data (

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