American TikToker reveals the biggest culture shocks she had after moving to Scotland


A TikToker who left behind her life in Las Vegas to live in Scotland has revealed the biggest culture shocks that came with the move.

Lua Rodriguez Murphy met her now-husband, a Scot, while he was holidaying at the hotel she worked at in Las Vegas. After they got engaged, they decided to move in together in Glasgow where they now live with their three children.

Lua, originally from California, makes candid videos about adjusting to life in Scotland as an American, and she’s starting to build up a significant fanbase, with nearly 30,000 followers to date.

Speaking to MailOnline Travel, the 33-year-old lists out the things that surprised her the most about life in Scotland – with free healthcare from the NHS at the top of the list.

She says: ‘I remember going to the doctor for the first time here and I asked my doctor how much the cost would be. She looked at me like I had two heads and said it was free! I couldn’t wrap my head around that so when I walked out, I stopped by reception to reconfirm and she said I didn’t owe anything because my care was covered by the NHS.’

TikToker Lua Rodriguez Murphy left behind her life in Las Vegas to live in Scotland

TikToker Lua Rodriguez Murphy left behind her life in Las Vegas to live in Scotland 

Lua pictured visiting the Kelvingrove Art Museum in Glasgow for the first time

Lua makes candid videos about adjusting to life in Scotland as an American, and she¿s starting to build up a significant fanbase

To the left is Lua visiting the Kelvingrove Art Museum in Glasgow for the first time. She makes candid videos about adjusting to life in Scotland as an American, and she’s starting to build up a significant fanbase

Now Lua even has a job working for the NHS, which she loves. The mum-of-one says: ‘I love working in the NHS because I like working in a country that truly believes that a nation owes its citizens the right to healthcare regardless of ability to pay and without having different levels of healthcare available based on someone’s status or economic standing.’

But free healthcare wasn’t the only aspect of Scottish life that took some adjusting to – Lua found some surprises in the way British homes are designed.

One thing she found strange was the ‘light switches outside the bathroom’. She explains: ‘I remember arriving at my husband’s flat for the first time and feeling around the wall in the bathroom in complete darkness trying to find the light switch. It wasn’t until after a solid five minutes he told me it was outside the door.’

Another, she reveals, is ‘windows not having window screens to protect the bugs from flying in’.

There’s a contrast between Scottish and American diets, too, she reveals.

Lua reflects: ‘Scottish food is, in general, a lot less processed and treated than American food. The portion sizes are also more suitable to a single person’s needs.

Lua says that enjoying access to free healthcare was the biggest culture shock when she moved to Scotland. Now, she works for the NHS

Lua says that enjoying access to free healthcare was the biggest culture shock when she moved to Scotland. Now, she works for the NHS 

‘Also, the [UK-wide] sugar tax was surprising. I had never heard of it before! I think it’s beneficial though because it helps reduce obesity.’

She has well and truly warmed to Scottish cuisine, she reveals. Lua says she ‘can’t live without’ tea cakes now and Irn Bru is ‘forever stocked’ in her home now.

Shopping for food was another culture shock, she reveals.

In one video, she says: ‘I remember the first time I went to the grocery store by myself and the cashier [handed] me my receipt and went: “That’s you, pal”. I was like, “What? That’s me what?”‘ I didn’t know that that meant that was the end of the transaction.’

She continues: ‘Another thing that I’d never seen before I first moved here… the cashiers at probably every grocery store that I’ve been to, they sit down when they’re putting through your groceries. I’ve never seen that before. I remember the first time me and my husband went to Sainsbury’s I was like, “The cashier is sitting down”. And he’s like: “Yeah, do you expect them to stand for like nine hours, are you kidding me?”‘

The NHS worker adds: ‘On top of that, they don’t even bag your stuff. Americans would have a heart attack if nobody bagged their groceries. Here they toss your stuff at you and you literally have to bag it and that’s how it is. That was wild to me, I never had seen that before.’

The worst thing about life in Scotland, she notes, is driving around roundabouts. She says: ‘Not kidding, I had never experienced a roundabout in my life prior to moving here. Much of my fear of roundabouts is from my lack of familiarity and experience with them. They just seem so chaotic to me!’

Lua and her son at the scenic 'Rest and Be Thankful' lookout in Arrochar

Lua and her son at the scenic ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ lookout in Arrochar

Lua at the Kelvingrove Art Museum. She admits: 'I love my life here and I¿m so happy!¿

Lua at the Kelvingrove Art Museum. She admits: ‘I love my life here and I’m so happy!’

On the other hand, the best about Scottish living, she says is ‘hands down, the people’. She explains: ‘Everyone is so chatty, and welcoming and easy to talk to. And so, so funny! Scottish humour truly is something else.’

She feels that when it comes to education, the Scots do it better. Lua says: ‘Education. Scotland is a nation where a first-class, world-leading education is accessible to all. I’m grateful that my children will be able to go to college for free! Student debt is so hard to pay off in the U.S and it really discourages people from pursuing a career because it’s so expensive and the interest in loans are so high.’

But she finds that Americans take the lead when it comes to customer service. She says: ‘I think Americans… go above and beyond when it comes to keeping a customer happy. I also feel Americans are so enthusiastic and great at entertaining. Basketball games, baseball games, pep rallies and entertainment are all so much better back home. They love getting the crowd involved, handing out prizes, doing dance cams, cheerleading and more! 

‘Even at the university level, college stadiums are filled to the brim with people watching young athletes play! Which I don’t think is very common here.’

What are the main differences between Scots and Americans? Lua says: ‘I think enthusiasm. Americans get so excited and giddy over the smallest of things! I feel Scottish people are sometimes a bit more reserved. Overall though, I think we’re all more alike than different.’

All in all, she’s thrilled with her life in Scotland, she reveals, saying: ‘I initially didn’t think I’d move to Scotland, but after a lot of thinking I decided to make the move and leave my budding career behind. It was definitely a sacrifice but I love my life here and I’m so happy!’



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