The variations in the American and British takes on the English language are always a source of fascination to me. Which shows how little of real import goes on between the vertices of my pointy little skull. My hat, it has three corners, three corners has my hat. And had it not three corners, it would not fit my head...
On some matters I can't make up my mind. For example, an American will say different from, while in the UK you will typically hear different to. If you think about this one for a while, neither sounds quite right. Why not different with? Different in? Different at? All in all, it's best left alone; I just accept that we will continue to use the phrase in a fashion different through one another. Different along each other. Different upon one another. Differently.
The somewhat-archaic American use of "gotten" is rather handy, as it allows a neat distinction between acquisition (I've gotten a headache) or coming to (I've gotten as far as Las Vegas, and I'll call you when I get to Reno) and mere possession (I've got a headache) or state (I finally got here). I've gotten to like the word...though gotten is one of those words you shouldn't stare at too long, or it starts to look very peculiar and foreign. Gotten gotten gotten. Maybe the British are right to avoid it. Gotten. Too Wagnerian-looking, sort of begging for an umlaut.
On the topic of whether a unitary body composed of individuals should be treated as plural, however, I have to vote for American practice. Shell Oil, for example, is not the collection of individuals who work there. It is a corporation, a body formed by law to act as an individual . It may be a legal fiction, but it's a singular legal fiction, and no matter how often I read The Economist, the phrase Shell Oil believe strikes my ear much like What do Bob thinks?
I'm willing to make an exception for Her Majesty's Government because of the royal we. But I never want to hear the phrase The White House think. (But, then, the White House don't think, do him?)
But there's one British locution where I'd like some advice. Here in the US, a university of any sort is something you go to. And while you are there, you are at it, or even in it (and might be kicked out of it). But in novels by, say, Evelyn Waugh, people are constantly going up to Oxford or coming down from Cambridge. Even if they start or end somewhere well north of those schools, or at higher elevation, while they are there they seem to be up, and when they are back they seem to be down.
Does this connote loftiness? Are you up at all universities? Or only those two? Are you up if you attend equally venerable institutions abroad, such as the Sorbonne, or Heidelberg? Are you also up if you teach there--a sort of permanent professorial high--or are you up only if you are being educated there?
Are you also up at other sorts of schools? Is there a distance or age factor involved? Can you also be up at a Montessori pre-school class?
Do seven-year-olds sigh wisely, and say, "It was all quite different when I first went up to creche..."?