What’s your name?

Jess Dante

What brought you to the U.K.?

I fell in love with a guy who happened to be from London, and we decided to set up our life here.

Can you describe the process and length of time it took to get your U.K. visa?

I have a spouse visa, which obviously means that I was able to get it once my husband and I were married. Long story short, I was banned from entering the UK and the only way that my then-boyfriend and I could be together was for us to get married. So we did so, in NYC, with just four weeks of planning and 17 guests attending our Wednesday afternoon wedding. Once we were married, it took about a month and a half to get my visa application together, send it in, get my biometrics done, and then I waited a few days until my passport came back to me in the US and it had my visa inside it.

How familiar were you with the U.K. before you moved there?

I had been to visit London for four days during my study abroad semester a few years before, but besides that, I didn’t know much about the UK. Luckily, I loved London during that first visit, so I was excited to start a life here.

On the flip side, how familiar with American culture are the Brits that you’ve met?

More familiar than I originally assumed. Brits love visiting the US, and I’ve met a lot of Londoners that have explored more of the states than I have! Many people are also really tuned into US politics, especially in the last couple of years. One question I do often get is about high school in the US, everyone wants to know if it’s really like how it’s portrayed in the movies, which always makes me giggle.

moving from us to uk

Moving to any country is an adjustment. What’s been your biggest adjustment so far?

Because of my visa troubles, I didn’t really process what a big life change moving here was until more recently, four years into my time here. I was just happy to finally be together with my husband back then! So the biggest adjustment I’m dealing with now is losing my connections to my pre-UK life due to life, poor communication, and the fact that we’re all changing in our adult lives. It’s hard to not have frequent face-to-face time with important people from my past.

What traditional British foods have you discovered or tried for the first time?

I love Sunday Roast! I talk about it all the time on my Youtube channel. I’ve recently turned veggie and some pubs do a KILLER nut roast, it’s incredible. Plus, I had never had afternoon tea, and now it’s one of my favourite things to do with friends. It’s got a whole section dedicated to it in The Local Guide to London.

Even when on vacation it’s nice to catch up with people from back home. Have you been able to connect with other Americans since you’ve been there?

Yes! London has a huge American community, I think I read somewhere that there are about 35,000 of us that live here. It’s nice to have that support when you’re working on Thanksgiving and all you really want is some mashed potatoes!

How easy has it been moving around London and the surrounding area?

Relatively speaking, easy, especially in London. The underground system here is really good!

If you had some friends staying in the U.K. for just 24 hours, what would you suggest that they see or do?

24 hours is nowhere near enough! Some of the things mentioned in my 3-Day London Itinerary are markets (there are loads that have amazing food), viewpoints over the city (the Sky Garden is always a favourite), and taking some time to walk through at least one of the city’s parks, especially if the weather is decent. I love how green London is.

sky garden london UK
Sky Garden