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Internet: a different experience for Brits in the U.S

When you are far away from your country Internet is the great solution to get close to the family, to catch a TV show that only is televised in your homeland or to buy stuff and find information. For british immigrants in the US internet could be their best friend, at least 99% of the time, for the 1% left, Internet can be a different experience once you are living in America.

That doesn’t mean that the Internet runs faster, or the websites talk to you thanks to the advanced technology or anything like that, there aren’t too many differences but it’s the little things that stand out.

For example in the US when you want to select the English language, especially when the website is based in the US, it immediately will appear bars and stars, the flag of the United States. It’s not a surprise, most users of these sites are Americans, and they probably won’t recognize the Great Britain flag.

Continuing the theme of language, the difference between British English (BRE) and American English (AME) is very perceptible when you are surfing the net. If you want to write “colour”, “analize” and “center” even when this is the perfect way to write them, you could will be victim of the dreaded red squiggly line, as consequence people have doubts about their spelling and writing. Advice? Well, use the American spelling when addressing americans, and the rest of the time try to get along with the red squiggly line.

Another example is when you have to fill an application, internet forms, email accounts or the date of birth, whether you like it or not you will have to enter your D.O.B using the standard U.S format: (mm/dd/yyyy). Luckily in this section websites mostly add a calendar widget, a perfect way to stop mistakes like “I was born in the sixteenth month of the year”

Another thing to remember: in the US your payment for work is in dollars, not pounds. You won’t have any problems when you have to pay something online, especially since “dollars” are the default currency setting on a U.S. websites. But, if you’re using a site like Western Union, to send money to the UK, you will need an account for exchange rate.

But if the case you are using sites such as Western Union is to wire money to the U.K you will need a account for the exchange rate when entering an amount in the “sender” form. And even if you could manually enter this amount using the U.K currency, we have news: American computer keyboards don’t have the pound (£) sign.

Talking about the pound sign. The key combination (shift + 3) that once was the right way to get the £, changed. Now the number sign # is on 3. So, if you want to write a pound sing (£), when you are working on a MAC you will have to do the key combination (Opt + 3) and for PC users you go with: ALT + 0163

There are other keys that changed in MAC computers. For example: Shift is no longer represented by the shift symbol (⇧), but by the word “Shift”.

Indeed, other Apple keys that have swapped symbols for the simplicity of their actual names on U.S. keyboards are tab (↹), caps lock (⇪), return (⏎), and delete (←)—keys that are particularly useful when shortcutting your way around the Internet. With purpose to simplified the keyboard, Apple changed the keys because the simplicity of their names on U.S:  indeed, other Apple keys that have swapped symbols for the simplicity of their actual names tab now is: ↹, caps lock is: ⇪, return is: ⏎ and delete, this symbol: ←

Yes, this differences will probably drive you crazy at the beginning but you have to remember that internet could be your best friend most of the time. Try to be patient and nice to it.

Being ready for change is the first step in order to become your aspirations a reality.

 Beltran Brito LLP is an immigration law firm representing individuals and businesses around the U.S. and the world with immigration attorneys who are dedicated to assisting clients in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law

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This post is also available in: Spanish

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