YOU’RE not from round here are you love? Are you American? These are questions asked daily by people who ring the Observer office with a story and get chatting to reporter Kate Watkins. She explains she is from Madison, Wisconsin, and tells how she came to be living in Britain.
Now she has taken another important step in her life by applying for British Citizenship, which involves taking a test which aims to test her knowledge of the UK and prove she has a grasp of the English language. Here Kate tells us how the test went ...
AFTER marrying an Englishman, living in the UK for four years and taking British studies as part of my undergraduate degree, I arrogantly thought I was well equipped for my Life In The UK test.
But my American arrogance was soon smashed the day I started revising.
Like any other immigrant, I had to take the Home Office test before applying for my British passport.
I bought a copy of Life In The UK which provides all the information needed to pass the test.
While I had no problems with the idea of taking the test, I found myself pondering the relevance of the questions.
As part of my revision I had to memorise statistics taken during the 2001 census regarding people’s ethnic origins such as how many people living in the UK are of Indian descent.
The exact figure is 1.8M if you are wondering.
My revision also included learning how the UK is governed, what council tax is and what it pays for and how the NHS is funded.
Now the above three seem important to me as they impact on every Brit I have ever met on a daily basis.
But does knowing statistical data really make me British?
At any rate I revised day and night, and memorised the stats like I memorised the Star Spangled Banner as a third grader at eight years old.
And when I arrived in Preston for my test last Saturday, I was confident I knew my stuff.
I needed to get 80 per cent of the questions correct to pass the test, and was given 45 minutes to complete the 24 multiple choice and true and false questions.
I did the test in five minutes and passed.
Now it’s on to filling out my application which includes proving I have lived here for four years and that my marriage is not a sham.
Although I don’t have my British passport yet, at least I can say I know what it is to be British.