My recent time back in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland made me think about all those times in life I have relocated and started life somewhere new. I’ve had to start from scratch and pick things up from the beginning in a brand new place quite a lot of times in the last twelve years. I still remember the day I moved to London, the time I got my Australian Working Holiday Visa, the time I wanted to live in Uruguay to study Spanish and that day I arrived in Hong Kong looking for a job.
Over the years, many of my friends decided to relocate/migrate to the UK – most chose England and the south part of England (Bournemouth, Brighton, London etc.) It can be one of the most daunting decisions you make in life to move to a new city or even a new country, especially when you do it alone. It’s important to be well prepared ahead of your trip. There are websites out there to help and one of my favourites is the Lebara Community and hopefully this post will give you an overview of what you need to consider ahead of your move to the UK.
Think of all the questions that go through your mind before you move:
– Where can I live?
– Where can I find a job?
– Can I open a bank account?
– Will I make new friends?
Quite simply the only way to know is to get out there and do it yourself. I find that everything falls into place easily, and much more easily than you expected. You’ll get a new job, you’ll meet new friends and you’ll find a room to rent. OK so you’ve decided on moving to the UK, here are my 6 steps that you need to consider.
Step 1 – Being Prepared (Sources of Information)
It’s important to stay up to date with information that is out there and being prepared ahead of your move. Keep up to date with the UK (and specifically London) on the following websites:
– Official London website with government information – www.london.gov.uk
– Most popular UK news website – http://www.bbc.com/
– Best London based travel blogs – A Lady in London, The Lost Londonder
– A List of Best London Blogs
– Time Out in London – http://www.timeout.com/london
– Local websites like the community one in Southbourne, Bournemouth
– Contact friends there (simply Facebook your mates that live there for advice and to meet up)
Step 2 – Finding somewhere to live
Once you’ve decided you’re going, and you’ve done your research, you’ll need a bed to sleep in! Recommendations from family, friends or work colleagues or other personal contacts who are based in the UK are usually a good place to start. You can always lie on somebody’s floor or settee at the start (I stayed in a bedsit in Shepherd’s Bush). However, if this isn’t an option for you then websites such as www.rightmove.co.uk and Accommodation.co.uk will list properties for rent or buy according to what you are looking for, and also www.netmums.com or www.gumtree.com , Gumtree is a website I have used quite a few times.
And don’t forget the usual suspects https://www.couchsurfing.com/ and https://www.airbnb.com/ plus the last resort of having to stay in hostel dorms at the start (which I did when I first moved to Australia).
Step 3 – Getting a job
Obviously unless you’re filthy rich, you will need to get a job. If you are an EU citizen, you should apply for a UK National Insurance Number to enable you to legally work and pay tax. You can also find jobs for tax in hand, but obviously on a higher risk and likely to be a lower wage. f you are looking for advice about getting a job, the National Careers Service website https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk offers a number of tips and suggestions.
You can also visit the nearest Jobcentre Plus office, which will list job opportunities in your area and is always updating. It is also a good idea to sign up with an employment agency which may be able to match your skills with a suitable employer. In my time living in England, I worked in hotels, bars, restaurants, ice cream kiosks, shops, PR offices and on boats. There are plenty of jobs going in the UK all the time and it’s easy to get one – just believe in yourself. Even last week in England, I walked past 6 or 7 shops looking for staff.
Here are some jobs I had when living in the UK, don’t be fussy and you’ll go far:
Step 4 – Getting Around
It is quite likely, when you first move to a new town or city, that you won’t have a car. Every major UK city has its own public transport system, comprising some combination of trains, buses, Metro, trams and in London, a light railway and even a cable car. In London, all the information can be found on the Transport for London website www.tfl.gov.uk .
For cheap transport internal in the UK, I normally use Megabus.com but National Express also has good offers. The train is my preferred method of transport, but it can be dear.
Step 5 – Registering With a Doctor
Finding a doctor or any other health professional in your area is relatively simple – just go to www.nhs.uk and enter your information and a list of local doctors will appear. You will need to get a Medical Card. The NHS (National Health Service) is completely free to all UK residents and is one of the best healthcare services on the planet in my opinion. Make sure you are registered to a local doctor’s surgery, here’s a guide on registering with the NHS.
Some dentists are also covered by the NHS, I use Oasis Dentalcare. If money is no option for you, you can also go privately with doctor or dentist.
Step 6 – Settling In and Embracing UK culture
The UK is well equipped for anyone moving to the country and you have now passed steps 1- 5 so you now begin to look at the culture around you. Once you settle in a local area, get acquainted with places around you that are of help. Libraries are a good place to find internet and borrow books from. Post Offices are good sources of information as well as providing lots of services. You will have a local MP (member of parliament) and the local councils meet regularly to discuss issues in your area. In terms of independent advice, the Citizens Advice Bureau http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ is an excellent source of reliable information on a range of topics, including those talked about here and many more.
Sport is a big part of UK culture, especially football. The pub lifestyle is massive. Horse racing is popular. Embrace the local culture and make new British friends – they’re a friendly bunch!
Also, it’s unlike me to talk politics on here, but the recent election means the Conservatives are back in charge. Maggie Thatcher did a good job in my childhood days, so here’s to the next 5 years of amalgamating the British people once again. Whether you voted UKIP, Green Party or Democratic Unionist, the UK awaits for you. If you work hard and stay, it’s a rewarding place to live.
Don’t forget the UK is vast and includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Once you are legally allowed to work in the UK you can move around all 4 countries with ease. I’m biased of course, but Northern Ireland is my favourite part of the UK. Here are some great parts of the UK to check out:
– Newtownards, Northern Ireland
– Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
– Belfast City, Northern Ireland
– Edinburgh, Scotland
– Sunderland, England
– Christchurch, England
– Salisbury, England
– Windsor, England
Thanks for reading my article on travellers wanting to move to the UK. Good luck in moving to the UK, hope you will love it!