MOVING TO THE UK: IS LONDON FOR YOU?
Every year thousands of people move to London: young students wanting to learn English, young graduates hunting for a career, families looking for a better future in this multicultural city, professionals looking for a new challenge.
What all these people have in common is the eagerness to make it, to live a new life and to seek new opportunities. As a matter of fact, there isn’t any place in all of Europe offering so much, particularly in terms of the highest paid jobs, the opportunities and the entertainment choices. London is the capital of business and international finance. It hosts the headquarters of the most important companies in the world. It is the hub of innovation and trends. Surely, London is one of the most important and influential cities on the planet.
Before deciding to move, however, you need to understand if London is for you because, although it may be true that if you’re Tired of London, then you’re Tired of Life, it is also true that London is not for everybody.
WHEN MOVING TO LONDON IS A GOOD CHOICE
HIGHT-SCHOOL LEAVER TAKING A FEW MONTHS ON SABBATICAL TO EXPERIENCE THE UNIQUE LIFE LONDON OFFERS
There’s no place like London to have great fun and discover the world. Why not get a live-in part-time job? Maybe taking a few sabbatical months as an au-pair or volunteering in a London hostel in exchange for food and accommodation? Many do, and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends, have fun, improve your English, study and live a unique life experience.
STUDENT, WISHING TO ATTEND UNIVERSITY IN LONDON
Universities are expensive in London, but if you’ve got the financial ability, it will be an incredible experience which will open up your future!
GRADUATE WITH A FEW YEARS OF WORK EXPERIENCE WISHING TO FIND A JOB IN LONDON
Go on! You’ll be likely to find a job which fits your skills, especially if such skills are in demand. If you are IT savvy, Internet marketing savvy or a graduate from some field currently in demand, London can make your CV fly. Make sure to investigate the job opportunities in your field before moving to London, as well as about the relative payscale. Send over CVs and see if you get replies. If you do, there will be possibilities. If you can get a job before relocating to London, even better.
FULLY-FLEDGED PROFESSIONAL IN FINANCE, IT, WEB MARKETING, MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER HIGHLY-SPECIALISED PROFESSION IN DEMAND
You’re likely to find a job in London, even from your own country. You may even be head-hunted through LinkedIn or other channels. London will definitely give that boost your career needs and will pay you good money!
ENTREPRENEUR WITH SMART IDEAS AND WITH GOOD-EARNING POTENTIAL
The UK has a pretty fair corporate tax regime. The most innovative start-ups are in London, although you should also consider Manchester or Edinburgh. The latter, smaller in size and much cheaper than the capital, has recently become a hub for tech start-ups.
WHEN MOVING TO LONDON IS NOT A GOOD CHOICE
YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH, AND YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AN AU-PAIR OR A VOLUNTEER.
You may want to be fully independent, attending an English school and have a room in which to sleep. In this case, avoid London if you can.
In fact, it will drain your bank account in terms of accommodation and transport costs . Here are some alternatives:
Birmingham offers great student life and shopping opportunities. Let’s remember Birmingham is the second biggest English town after London in the UK. However, don’t go there without a place to sleep.
Book your temporary family accommodation through Homestay.
The good news is Birmingham is only a little over an hour from London, where you can spend your weekends sightseeing. You just need to catch the right train! Train cost and length of journey depends on when you are travelling, and it’s always advisable to book in advance to save on your fare. Book your train ticket through http://www.thetrainline.com: a fully impartial train ticketing website providing an easy, secure, faster and cheaper way to look, plan and book train tickets online to any train station in the UK.
Brighton is just less than an hour from London. It’s rather cool, young, colourful and trendy. Given its proximity to London and the fact that it’s a desirable seaside destination, the cost of accommodation is usually pricier than in other English secondary towns. However, Brighton has the advantage of being walkable, so you won’t need to pay for transports to get around. You can book your room in Brighton through Homestay.
Bristol is considered a cool alternative to London by Brits and expats, and it’s quite popular with jobseekers and students alike. Unfortunately, finding a room/flat to rent here may be tough nowadays due to the lack of homes! This has generated quite a lot of illegal businesses. So be warned! There are quite a few scammers offering accommodation but giving nothing in exchange for your money. In most cases, you may be asked to send a deposit (£400 or so), only to get there and find you’ve been ripped-off and with no room waiting for you. The socials are full of expats that have personally experienced being scammed this way, so be careful. Book your temporary accommodation in Bristol ONLY through Homestay.Then look for a flatshare or a studio flat directly in Bristol.
NORWICH, LEEDS, MANCHESTER, PLYMOUTH, CARDIFF, BOURNEMOUTH, EDINBURGH, BELFAST…AND MALTA!
These all offer good student life at nearly half the price of London and are great towns both for university and English courses. Book your temporary accommodation through Homestay; then, if you wish to stay longer, look for longer tenancies.
Finally, if British weather is not your thing and you are looking for an English speaking country which is a mix of Mediterranean weather and low costs, head to the little island of Malta. It will be good for your English, your wallet and your tan!
Book your temporary accommodation in Malta through Homestay.
YOU CAN GO FOR LOW SALARY JOBS AND YOUR ENGLISH IS POOR
If what you are simply after is a generic job and dignity, London is not the right place for you. Also in this case, I would head to other British towns with a lower cost of living. See list above: Birmingham, Norwich, Leeds, Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast…or, if you want something Mediterranean and English speaking, why not Malta? They all offer failry good opportunities to workers whose skills are generic, but it will be easier for you to live there because rents and living expenses are lower. London is specifically designed for those professionals who want to pursue a specific career possibly in a specialized field (IT, Medical, Finance, Law, for instance).
Many people dream to live and work in the seaside town of Brighton, as it’s lively, self-contained and at the same time not too far from London. That is, of course, a possibility you should consider. However, bear in mind Brighton is pricey, and the job market is not really thriving. Moreover, commuting to London via train on a daily basis is expensive.
YOU WISH TO BUILD A FAMILY AND TO PURCHASE A HOUSE
More and more professionals over 30 decide to move out of London simply to get the opportunity to get onto the property ladder and to start a family. London housing prices are…simply unaffordable for many nowadays.
Where to go? It really depends on your trade.
This map of the UK reveals the areas in which the best and worst job opportunities exist in a host of different industries.
Belfast is renowned for call-centres, Edinburgh for finance and IT, Manchester for sales and marketing, Cambridge for IT.