*Things I’ve learned along the way:
Make fun of their sports teams, weather, food, etc. They will winge all day long about these things, but you are an outsider- you may not.
Sit on the back of the bus. It’s where the dodgy Brummies sit, steer clear.
Forget the other half of your rail card. Just because only one of the cards is laminated, doesn’t mean they aren’t both important. (30 quid mistake, quite annoying)
Cycle on the road. Drivers don’t really watch out for cyclist, just not safe.
Try to take a bus if it has snowed. They really can’t handle snow here.
Reveal your identity as a conservative. You will be the minority
Take things too seriously. If there are Brits involved, so is sarcasm.
Say pants or bangs. Do say trousers and fringe.
Assume your way is the “right” way, even if it obviously is.. *goes and rinses dishes*
Tell them their tea is actually pretty much like everyone else’s, even if it is.
Use their words and phrases. Go ahead, throw dodgy and rubbish into your daily vocabulary. Just don’t try the accent, they’ll just laugh at you.
Ask bus drivers for directions. I’ve been told they aren’t very nice, but I’ve never met a bus driver who hasn’t been kind and helped me out, maybe it’s the American accent?
Explore markets, local high streets, indie coffee shops, and charity shops (thrift stores). You never know what you might find!
Celebrate their holidays. As well as your own, double the holidays!
Watch stuff on the BBC. The dramas are actually quite good.
Watch rugby. You’ll start to understand it a bit after a few hours and lots of questions.
Treasure every moment of sunlight. Similarly, do buy a hat for the inevitable rainy days (read; the majority of days).
Keep up to date with world news. Don’t be the ignorant American who strengthens the stereotype.
Ask questions! Learn history, try to understand differences in culture, there is always something to learn.
Hop on some bandwagons and try to buy fair trade, take your own bags to the store, and switch the sockets off even if it seems inconvenient.
Drink lots of tea!
Embrace the culture, talk to locals, immerse yourself, but also, do find an American for when you just don’t feel like embracing. We all need a bit of home sometimes!
*Disclaimer: I’ve primarily been in Bham and do not claim that my observations are relevant to all Brummies or to other areas of the UK, take it with a grain of salt and feel free to make corrections!