When I finally finished my education degree and became qualified as a teacher, the job opportunities in Ontario were very slim. At the time, it almost felt hopeless to finally have a degree and not be able to use it. Moving abroad became the best option for me, not only for me to utilize my degree and to gain experience in my career, but also to discover new cultures, to experience living on my own and to travel all in one go. This is why I decided to move to the United Kingdom, and start my career here.
Firstly, let me remind you that moving to England was easier than most countries. The first reason being that they spoke english. Communication between people is hugely important when moving abroad, as it allows you to explore your options for every living condition. It was also easier due to the fact that getting a working holiday visa was very easy. The United Kingdom is one of the easier countries to obtain one, and most people in Europe, as of right now (Brexit is coming) can work there without a visa.
𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤 𝕥𝕠 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕓𝕖𝕗𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕚𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘...
Before arriving there are a few things you will have to do. The first thing I had done before arriving was getting a job. As a teacher, it was a lot easier because there was a lot of agencies that will try their best to capture you. My advice, do your research, talk to many agencies before choosing one, because there are many that will pay less or have less to offer. After getting a job, I then proceeded to get my visa. Let me remind you, they will take your passport and send it back to you via mail when you have been approved, so don’t plan any vacations while they have your passport.
You must also make sure you have enough money saved up. There was many times where I would sit at home and calculate how much money everything was going to cost you - my advice , don’t budget until you arrive. That being said, it is always good to have some cash on you before arriving, you never know what extra costs will come up once you arrive.
Lastly, it is very important that you have all your questions answered in your head before arriving. The U.K border is very strict and will ask you many questions, be prepared to say where you will be staying even if this is not a permanent address. (Hostel/Hotel or a Friend)
Remember not to pack your whole life. You are moving to a new country, to start a new life. There will be plenty of time for you to buy a new suitcases, and fill it with all your heart desires, I know I did!
𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕟 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕚𝕧𝕖...
When you arrive, you’re over tired and very excited all at the same time. I would recommend if it is your first time, to try to pre-plan how you will get to where you’re going. I had a ride from my agency planned and it was a god send, otherwise I would have no idea what I was doing.
Finding a place to live - The first few days are super overwhelming. You can not find a place before you come so you have to do all of this within a short period of time when you get there. The best place to find a room if you don’t want to go through agencies is www.spareroom.uk . On this website, you can look for the area, how much you would like to spend, and who you would like to live with. It is financially impossible to get your own place, unless you’re rich, so it’s important you get use to the fact that you will be living with random strangers, but sometimes that turns out to be wonderful! I was lucky because I found a place for the first month. This allowed me time to get use to everything and find a place permanately that would fit my job.
Getting a bank account - oh lord, this is not easy. At least, not for Canadians. The only bank that will take Canadians is Lloyds Bank. You have to book an appointment to get a card, and then wait to recieve this in the mail. It is also vital to have a letter from your employer to prove you will be making money, ask your employer before going to bank and bring it with you. You must have an address here that you are living at before getting a bank account. It's all very confusing, I kept asking myself , How are people suppose to pay for things like your phone and rent without it? It's very difficult, hence, where cash will come in handy in your first few days.
Getting a Phone plan -You also need an address to have a phone plan as well, along with a bank account if you want to pay month by month. I bought a temporary one month phone plan with giffgaff.com. They will send you a free sim card and you can register it online with any address. I paid 10 pounds for my first month, it wasn't the greatest provider, but it was internet that worked and helped me find everything while I was lost in the world. Once you have an address, I highly reccomend EE or Three depending on which is offering the better deals. Be sure to have an unlocked phone that you can add to this provider! In comparison to Canada, phone plans are amazing in the UK, you can get unlimted data for 20 pounds.... whaaaat! It is also recommended to get a plan where you can use your phone plan abroad, because you will travel!
National Insurrance - Once you have found a place, it is important to sort out your national insurrance. To do so, call as soon as you can. You can do to gov.uk to find a number to call. You need an address for them to sending it to, and it normally takes a very long time, so it's important that you call and sort this out as soon as you have an address.
Your Visa, Your Residents Permit Card - You will also have to pick up your Visa, which is called your residents permit card once you have recived an email that it is ready to be picked up. You will get a letter in the mail before arriving on where to go, it is important that you bring this letter with you when you pick it up. One BIG piece of advice. Guard this card for your life, it is important. Without this card, you can not travel. You need it every time you leave and enter the UK. I would not use it as your ID. I had lost mine, it took 3 months to apply for a new one and recieve it, it was not a funt time for me! It is also very costly!
𝕠𝕟𝕔𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦'𝕣𝕖 𝕤𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕝𝕖𝕕...
Breathe. The hard part is over, by now you will be settled into your place, a little broke but soon will be making the money- in pounds! It is so important to value your time off. London- By far, is one of the most diverse and unique cities in the world. It is important to explore this! There is lots of things to do on the weekends and things to see that you would never expect to find in London. My recommendation - do the markets, walk around in the post populated areas, breathe in that big city life you have never had before because sadly, it won't last forever. You have lots of time to explore the city bit by bit so my recommendation is to take your time. Moving to London was one of the most extrodinary experiences I've ever encountered, I hope it is for you too.
If you're coming to live or just for a visit, read my article on my personal favourite spots in London!