Yes, you are still in time to move to London! But of course there are things that you’d better know before moving here. This article lists a few of these things, totally randomly, so keep reading and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section below!
Yes, there is meritocracy in the UK. Of course, things are not perfect like in any other country, but here you can start with a very humble job and work your way up. If you work hard and you are good at your job, chances are you will get offered a better position. But please don’t move over here thinking that all is due to you. Nope, it is not. A very humble attitude really works, also I strongly advise you to believe in yourself and accept little sacrifices. Working long hours in the beginning? Do it. it will pay off.
Lack of judgment.
As long as what you do is Legal, nobody in London will ever stop you from doing it. Want to go to the supermarket wearing your pyjamas? You can and nobody will look at you. Want to use a very flashy makeup? Cool, you can do it. It’s hot outside and you still want to wear a winter jumper? Nobody will think you are crazy. Of course, bear in mind you also must adjust your extravagancies to your workplace, but generally speaking, you can look pretty much as you wish in your spare time.
Yes, as mentioned in my previous article, renting in London can be quite expensive. Transport prices are quite high too. But don’t believe those who say that food shopping is expensive too. It is not. There are so many choices, it is up to you really. You can buy a lot of food from all over the world at the supermarket and pay a reasonable price for fair quality, or you can buy the same goods at a higher price. You decide. Little Off Licence shops in residential areas sell the basic goods to quickly cook a meal, and huge supermarkets are scattered all over in different zones. Plus, you can find the small ones in central London too. Going out for dinner can be pricy, but still, it is your own choice. You can spend £20-25 for dinner or £150 (or even higher of course!). Also, be smart and try to avoid very touristy places! That’s where all this info about London food being expensive comes from!
You don’t get judged, so don’t judge.
Well, the title says it all. If you move here, I highly advise you to try and be part of the community. Try to enjoy your time here by getting to know food, traditions, local customs, etc – read the local newspaper, register to vote in your borough. If you move here from another country, try not to judge differences you will definitelly spot. Of course, British culture might seem to be very different from yours, but if you judge it, if you keep isolating yourself from it due to prejudges you might have, believe me your stay in the UK won’t be a nice experience.
Register with NHS & your GP.
You might never need to go to your GP, but it is very useful to register with a local GP. You can find your local GP or a local Practice/Clinic online. You don’t need to pay; you need your passport and sometimes proof of address such as your bank statement or a bill.
NIN & Bank Account.
Don’t even think about moving here and trying to work illegally. Although in some countries it is very common to get a job without a legal contract, in London the majority of employers will do things the legal way. Unfortunately, scammers do exist here too, and bad employers as well. But many will give you a regular contract to sign and you are required to have a NIN and a Bank Account. For the bank account, I advise you to read my article on how to get on super-easily.
This is basically the Bibble. Doesn’t matter if you have lived here all your life, you will definitely need to download Citymapper. I have a nice article and a Video about this App. London is a huge city, you might get to know it pretty well in very little time, but chances are you will never ever remember all bus numbers, tube train changes, timing, stops, etc, etc – this is where Citymapper comes very handy!
Remember that Pubs close very early! Usually between 11 pm-12 pm – So if you want to continue your drinking night you have to move to a club which is usually open for longer.
Make sure your CV/resume is in the right format and layout. European countries have a quite different layout from the CV accepted in the UK. Also, the mobile phone number you mention in your CV should always be a UK number, or you will have fewer chances to be contacted for an interview. If you send out your CV before moving over to London, you can have a GiffGaff SIM card sent to your Country. Visit their website for more info. You can keep the SIM card once you move here, no need to buy another one.
Please do register your Oyster Card. Chances are you will pay a monthly fare for your transport in London. Depending on the zones you travel to/from, your monthly ticket could be £160, or even higher. If you lose the Oyster you can block it and have the money transferred to a new one. If your oyster is not registered, you will just lose the money. To register the Oyster, download the app and follow the instructions. It is very simple.
Money / Budget.
Manage your money. It really doesn’t matter how you do it. There are several Apps that can help with this, but you could also use an excel file. I use an Excel spreadsheet each month to manage my money. As soon as you get your monthly payment, put aside all the money you are going to need for the next 4 weeks. Make a list of all your fixed expenses: bills, transport, rent, average food shopping budget, a budget for things you want to do in your spare time, etc – the remaining money can go into a Savings Account or…well it is up to you! But it is very important to set aside that money for your fixed expences as soon as you get your monthly payment from your workplace.