American Expats: Sean Gallagher



Sean Gallagher graduated from Fordham University in 1993 where he studied journalism at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campus. He is currently an online and news editor at Index on Censorship, an international organization dedicated to promoting freedom of expression through its award-winning magazine, website and social media. Sean previously held senior web-related positions at publications including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. He now resides in Central London (also known as ‘the City’), right up the street from the Barbican tube stop, with his British partner.

Fordham London: What brought you to London and how long have you lived here?

Sean Gallagher: My partner is British. I met him when I moved here in 2011, moved to Texas to take a job and moved back for him. In December, it’ll be three years.

Fordham: What do you like to do in your spare time?

S.G.: If I happen to be here on a weekend, I usually take the dog for a big, long walk. It’s nice because the city is empty since most people work here but go elsewhere [on the weekends], kind of like Wall Street.

Fordham: How different do you find the U.S. in comparison to the U.K.?

S.G.: Culturally, it’s not all that different. But then there are these little minor things that are like, huh? I can’t even remember them now because I’ve been kind of immersed in it. Having lived in Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and New York, it’s not really that different. Although, London does close early.

Fordham: Anything else?

S.G.: The U.K. is preoccupied with history in a way that America is not. Instead, America is preoccupied with local history. For example, if you go anywhere in Texas, there are little markers to commemorate things that happened in certain spots all over the place. In a lot of respects, [Brits] have this idea that the best is behind them.

Fordham: What else have you noticed about Londoners’ habits?

S.G.: On nice days, all of the pubs fill up and people hang out on the street, drinking, smoking and throwing up. I’m sure you’ve seen that. I’ve also noticed certain things and think they’re adorable. For example, instead of simply saying goodbye, they say, “bye bye bye bye” quickly. They’ll also throw in other phrases, like “cheers.” I’ve gotten used to the quirks at this point but for those who aren’t from around here, it’s all two degrees.

Fordham: How long did it take you to get used to these quirks, as minor as they are?

S.G.: Well, my office is primarily British so that made it quite easy. Regardless, while I make fun of them from time to time, they also make fun of me.

Fordham: What about?

S.G.: I’ll use an American word or turn of phrase that they’re not familiar with. We all have our own idioms, right?

Fordham: Do you have any pieces of advice for those new to navigating London?

S.G.: Use the side streets. You never walk on the main street unless you have to be on the main street. You should always go one block in either direction and ignore the rest of London.