British University Rankings For US Colleges

As we’ve looked at previously, there are a lot of differences between the UK and the US when it comes to university life. However, one thing that’s looking increasingly similar is the method used to rank universities within each country. The Times Higher Education (THE) review has now been rolled out for American colleges, meaning they can now be subject to the same ranking system as UK universities have been for many years. It’s interesting to see how things vary between countries, and how these are reflected in the average world rankings.

Accommodation is a major example of something that varies between the US and the UK. Sure, you’ll be provided with accommodation (at least to begin with) whether you start university in the UK or the US. They’re overpriced in almost all cases, although in the UK at least you’re much less likely to share a bedroom. Facilities tend to be a lot better overall for American students, including dining options. In both countries, it’s not uncommon to look for your own place to live after your first year is over, which might be tricky depending on where you are, especially in the UK. “Living in the city can be a lot more expensive than private student housing in smaller towns,” says David from Varsity Lets, one of the top student accommodation providers near the University of Loughborough and Leicester University. “This is just one aspect that you’ll be considering if you want to choose between the US and the UK for your studies in future.”

You’ll also be looking at the overall cost, social life, the standard of teaching, and just about everything in between. It can get complicated, which is one major reason why the new THE list for American colleges may really come in handy. Continue Reading

How Is Uni Life Different In The UK and USA?

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On opposite sides of the Atlantic, we know that many things are different, some more so than others. When it comes to higher education, plenty of trends and traditions have been swapped between the USA and the UK, and each country has developed their own ideas of what university life should be like.

Let’s start at the beginning – when you first start at university, it’s going to be a major culture shock either way. In the UK, you’re likely to find yourself donning cheap printed uni freshers t-shirts and crawling the local bars and clubs to ease yourself into your new social life, and the initial introductions to your classes may go by in a haze.

In the US, you might experience another meaning of the word, as hazing tends to refer to an endurance test required by older students for new entrants to their fraternity or sorority systems. The social structure of an American university is likely to be more rigid, and the same can be said for induction into school life – you may be expected to participate in a lot of different activities, charity work and more besides as part of your orientation. Continue Reading

Element E-Liquids

Element e-Liquid

Element e-LiquidVaping is a trend that has taken off in many countries in just a few short years. Since e-cigarettes were first developed only just over a decade back, the smoking substitute has been taken up by a whole new crowd. Many vapers are not even interested in tobacco cigarettes, but enjoy using mods – large devices for vaporising more advanced e-liquids. Many American brands offer some of the finest e-liquids available to vapers, and one of those is Element, a company enjoying success in both the US and the UK. After originally starting in the States, you can now buy Element e-liquids from many outlets in the UK and throughout Europe.

Element has a strong brand identity, and they’re vocal about how proud they are to be American. Not only are their e-liquids created in the USA, they also use American ingredients to produce them, including the top quality nicotine they source from within the country. When it comes to e-liquids, the most serious enthusiasts are very interested in the quality of the ingredients used, so this focus does a lot for Element’s image. Continue Reading

Designer Kids’ Clothing Goes Global

The biggest names on fashion including Gucci, Fendi and many more started bringing designer labels to the childrens’ clothing market less than ten years ago on a large scale, but already that trend has exploded in both the US and the UK. Some of the most popular ranges in the UK now are Fred Perry and Lacoste boys polo shirts, Replay jeans, Scotch Shrunk kids’ clothing and Lamborghini footwear, plus at the highest end of the market you still have the likes of Versace, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. These are all readily available in popular online stores like Papillon Kids Clothing.

Not much originates from America on this list, but that’s not necessarily where the connection comes in. Although most of the most famous high-end fashion houses are European, it’s often the American market that gets the new trends first as the biggest retail giants in the US get exclusive deals and market new ranges worldwide. This started happening a few years ago when the high profile fashion outlets of New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue started launching new designer ranges for kids and putting massive marketing budgets and celebrity endorsements behind them. Continue Reading

Britain Vs America – The Christmas Special

As we already know, there are a huge number of differences when it comes to the cultures of the United Kingdom and the United States. The festive season is just another topic that differs considerably, despite what you might expect. On the surface there are many similarities, but some of the differences are less subtle than others.

Interestingly, in the UK it’s fairly common to wish people a “Happy Christmas” which has much the same effect as the traditional “Merry Christmas”. In America, this simply doesn’t happen! In fact, it’s not uncommon for British English to offer two different ways of saying exactly the same thing, to the confusion of other English speakers around the world.

Father Christmas might be similarly perplexed, as in the US he would normally be referred to exclusively as Santa Claus, but in the UK we’re happy to switch between the two. His home also has a tendency to change depending on who you ask. Americans simply say Santa lives at the North Pole, while Brits tend to point out that Lapland is where you can actually visit him.

Food typically differs between the two counties, too. Traditionally in America, the turkey we usually eat in Britain is more suited to Thanksgiving. At Christmas a different meat would probably be on the menu, such as beef or ham. For dessert, Americans would swap mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding for a different winter classic such as pumpkin or apple pie.

When it comes to drinks, many Brits think of snowballs (whether you love them or hate them). The name won’t be recognised in much of the USA, but for whatever reason, egg-based beverages are still associated with Christmas. Egg nog aside, though, you’re not likely to find an American substitute for another British tradition: Christmas crackers. Surprisingly enough, these are exclusively found in the UK for the most part. Horrifyingly, even Boxing Day is absent from the US holiday schedule, and is simply treated as the day after Christmas.

You might be forgiven for wondering where the classic American attitude of doing everything bigger and better has gotten to. It sounds like Brits have a lot more traditions to enjoy over the festive season, doesn’t it?

Of course, we’re forgetting one major area – the decorations! What the US might lack in subtle touches, it more than makes up for with lights, trees, more lights, elaborate shrines dedicated to Santa Claus, and even more lights. You’ll need sunglasses to take a walk through many American neighbourhoods around Christmas. You’ll probably get an even bigger dose of festive spirit by visiting a big city or a shopping mall, since the tradition of gift buying is still even bigger than it is in the UK.

Overall, it’s worth remembering that no two households celebrate Christmas the same way, so it’s no surprise there are plenty of differences between countries an ocean apart from each other. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy the festive season!

Postcards From Across The Pond

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Postcards may seem a little redundant now, since we’re so used to being instantly connected to one another from opposite sides of the world. Maybe that’s why they now have a certain charm, and the novelty of sending someone a message that takes a week to arrive in the mail but lasts a lifetime is actually something people are impressed by all over again.

The origins of the modern day postcard are, as with many of our favourite inventions, somewhat unclear. Various countries saw important milestones in the development of the product that later became a phenomenon. For example, the first postcard is credited to the London-based writer Theodore Hook in 1840, and featured a hand-painted image on one side. The first commercially produced postcards were made in the US eight years later, complete with Hymen Lipman branding but without images. It wasn’t until more than 20 years later that printed picture postcards started being produced in France, Austria, Germany and eventually Great Britain. Continue Reading

Bringing British Brands To America

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We hear (and write) plenty about all the trends that have originated or been popular in the United States before spreading to the UK and rest of the world. There are lots of American influences in modern European culture, but the same could be said in reverse. The rational plan for companies and brands based in the UK and looking to expand is to target markets like the US, and many have been able to do just that over the years. But what does it really take to crack America?

Historically it has been quite common for British firms to fall into the trap of thinking America is very similar to the UK compared to other countries. Our languages may be (almost) the same, but cultural differences make a huge impact when it comes to marketing goods and services, and in many cases the USA differs vastly compared to other markets within Europe. It takes a clearly defined strategy for UK brands to succeed in America, but by paying attention to the right factors and tools, it can be done. Continue Reading

American Tattoo Machines Making Their Mark

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Love them or hate them, tattoos are as popular now as they have ever been, and people are constantly finding new and creative ways to produce unique ink designs that will last a lifetime. However, did you know that the tattoo machine itself is not only another American invention, but it also shares an inventor with one of the most iconic breakthrough inventions of all time?

The creator of the first electric pen, intended to be used for duplicating designs, was invented by none other than Thomas Edison, creator of the modern light bulb, in 1876. Four years later, it was discovered that modifying the pen allowed it to inject ink into skin to create a tattoo. Although similar experiments had been done already by tattoo artists, businessman Samuel O’Reilly patented the necessary modification for the first time and began a successful tattoo business in New York in 1891. Continue Reading

Multi-Level Marketing Going Multi-National

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Multi-level marketing is a specific style of marketing that is usually referred to as a different form of direct selling. Also known as MLM, the process has been around for decades and its origin is disputed, but it has existed since the 1920s in various forms. In modern times there are a wide range of MLM business opportunities out there in both the UK and the US thanks to the creative initiative taken by American firms nearly 100 years ago.

The California Perfume Company was one of the pioneers of the business model, although we know them better today as Avon. Originally, the famous “Avon Ladies” would only have earned their profits from the sales they made personally. Working for the company but not given a salary, instead they would have been entirely dependent on the products they bought from Avon and sold on at a higher price to buyers in their homes or elsewhere. Not a huge amount has changed about this, except that now not only would the representative of the company earn profit from their own sales, but also a cut of the sales made by anyone they recruited to join the business. Continue Reading

5 things you didn’t know originated in the US

There are a whole host of inventions that come from America and we love to celebrate them all as well as the impact they’ve had in the UK and all around the world. However, even if you’re a seasoned reader you might not realise some of these are actually US-made.

1) Fortune cookies

This might actually be an obvious one to many people, but fortune cookies are so closely associated with traditional Chinese style food in the US (and also widely known in the United Kingdom) that most people assume they were created there originally. In fact, a Japanese-American immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara invented the modern design of fortune cookies in 19th century California. Chinese people think Americans are crazy for having these as part of their culture and generally have no idea what the basis for them is supposed to be. Continue Reading

Should more army uniforms be made in the UK?

Recent figures suggest that only a small percentage of British army clothing and uniforms are actually made in the UK, which has been a surprise to some. Producing official kit used in real life combat by the army costs over £80 million in an average year but only around £5 million is spent actually within the UK. This is in stark contrast to the US, where the law dictates military uniforms have to be made in the country by domestic firms. The question is, does this matter?

There is an argument for doing this like the Americans, firstly because there is nothing more patriotic than supporting the military. Right or wrong, many people in the US feel strongly about supporting military action around the world and trying to ensure that peace is kept and allies are defended, but many of these people are also unable to help directly. That’s why many people feel it’s important to support the military in any way possible, including through the production of uniforms and kit domestically. Continue Reading

Fast food: from America to the UK and back again?

McDonald’s is the definitive icon of fast food around the world, and having started in the 1950s and maintained this image for so long, there is no sign of it changing any time soon. However, there have been many subtle changes in its branding over the years, and this has only been made possible through its different methods of developing in different countries.

The iconic yellow M logo may remain the same in every country around the world, but there isn’t much else that’s set in stone for McDonalds’ branding. In Asia and Europe especially the incarnations of the brand are quite different to the famous imagery we see from America, and this is due to the company recognising the need to adapt to each very different market it has entered. Continue Reading

American-style beds and bedrooms coming to the UK more

American-style homes are known for being big in every sense. Visual style is very important and there is the classic image of a massive open plan house that just isn’t seen widely in the UK. However, all this is gradually changing as US style beds and bedrooms are being increasingly favoured by UK home owners looking to add something different to their home.

Firstly there is the issue of space which continues to be a problem. Homes in the UK are physically a lot smaller than those in the US, with less land available and a higher population density even in suburban areas. There isn’t much getting round this, but for those people who do have some extra space available they tend to want to make the most of it more and more. Having more space and an open plan design for rooms indicates luxury and for many people it’s worth investing more in your bedroom above all else because it’s going to be the room you spend the majority of your life in. We sleep for a third of our entire lives on average, so why not invest in quality bedroom design and beds? Continue Reading

American business trends coming to the UK in 2016

America is known for being the home of many of the world’s biggest brands, and is of course a massive test market that the rest of the world can look to for ideas about what might dominate global business next. There are a few emerging trends that we expect to see more of in the UK as they grow in popularity across the Atlantic.

1) Having everything for nothing

There is certainly a growing trend for on-demand services of all kinds, something that has been seen in America for some years now but only recently begun to catch on in the United Kingdom. For example, streaming services like Netflix and the newly launched YouTube Red are redefining the rules about how people pay for their entertainment – music streaming services likeSpotify, Apple Music and Tidal are doing the same in their market.  Amazon has also been experimenting with food and drink delivery within hours, something they may be able to roll out to their whole product range within years. Everything is about paying a set fee for something and getting an unlimited amount back for your money, and since this is based around convenience and making life easy, people are increasingly getting on board with this. The idea of paying yearly subscriptions for music venues is something we expect to see launching within the next year, for example. Continue Reading

Some of the most important American inventions – Part 2

Welcome back to our summary of some of the key inventions of the last few centuries that came from the United States. We have so many important ones to mention we have to make this one a double bill.

Airplane

Many inventors were determined to be the first to perfect a flying machine, and over the years there were many disastrous attempts, with the first major breakthrough being made by the Wright brothers in 1903. Their biplane was built in North Carolina and soon transformed the future of aviation, having great implications for the military and commercial travel within a few short decades. Continue Reading