InterNations Featured Blog
Recommended Expat Blogs: London
Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in London:
I recommend staying flexible, being patient, and having a positive attitude even if things get frustrating. Moving to a new country is both exciting and stressful, but if you set your expectations appropriately, you will enjoy the process a lot more.
The best thing about London (for me) was that they speak English. I think that has helped quite a bit with culture shock, because I can communicate with everyone. With that said, it is still almost a language of its own and I do find myself asking people (often!) to repeat themselves. My favorite Britishese so far is bum pack (aka fanny pack).
The biggest adjustment for me has been and continues to be the lack of sunshine here. At home I can count on a change in the seasons and a beautiful summer, whereas here you will most certainly find me engaged in a 'sunshine dance' once a ray of light breaks through the grey skies. It's a bit sad, really. I also like to remind people that the England you see on television - quaint streets, pubs with fires roaring, classy and elegant people - is not the reality of London, particularly in the South-East where I live in work. Think big council estates and poverty vs Made in Chelsea.
No matter how organized you are or how much reading you’ve done, there are things you just can’t anticipate. Even if you’ve sorted out all the “big” things like housing and schools, the little things take a long time to sort out and can really impact your day to day life.
I already had a few university friends in various parts of the country, that was initial friendship base. Then, my friends introduced me to their friends some of whom later became friends with me. Also, as a single expat, I lived in several flat shares, this allowed me make friends from various parts of the world some of whom I’m still in touch with although they have returned to their home countries.
Moving from Paris to London was not too big a culture shock. It’s still fairly easy to hop on the Eurostar if I need to eat some decent bread.
I love my life in London. I think that I expected things to be pretty similar to what I had in France. Most of the time, they were indeed similar. This made the small differences look way bigger than they really were.
Selena Jones is an American expat who is no stranger to a nomadic lifestyle. She is an Air Force brat who grew up living in several different states. Moving house and relocating within one country became something that was familiar to her. When she decided relocate to England, she added an international move to her experience. She is a Texas accountant, married to a globe-trotting Englishman and exploring the world. In her blog, Selena writes about living in London and traveling.
We made a lot of preparations before coming to London and were quite organized, so we did not encounter any problems or mishaps.
The expat community is great. It’s such an international city, so you don’t have to look very hard to find people who are looking to make new friends too. It is however different from the last time I was living abroad, which was when I was still studying. This time it takes a little bit more effort, but through websites like InterNations and meetup.com you’ll make friends in no time.
I'm originally from the Canary Islands - a place that is rather known as a holiday paradise. It's hard to believe that someone coming from a year-round 20ºC average would want to go through the torturous English weather.
Life in London is challenging and rewarding, whereas for me life in the US was convenient, but unfulfilling. The biggest change was living without a car. In London I have to walk or take public transport everywhere, no matter the weather. That translates into a lot of extra calories burnt!
It does feel restrictive after a while with the lack of wide open spaces, so make sure to enjoy the beautiful parks or take a train ride out of the city every so often. Also, regardless of being English speaking – I felt like I had arrived in a completely different world. It is also the most multi-cultural society you will ever live in. This crazy mash-up of incredibly diverse individuals is amazing to be a part of and it really broadens your horizons – and your palate!
Culturally, I think London is very similar to Melbourne, just on a much larger scale. This gave me a false sense of security and to be honest, I was completely not prepared to experience such homesickness in my first 6 -12 months in London. The first winter was the biggest shock, it didn’t help that it was the longest winter that the UK and Europe had experienced in decades.
The infamous London transport fail is an experience every newbie has to have at some point. I won't spoil it but let's just say if you're fond of booze and late nights out, at some point, you're going to fall asleep on public transport and wake up miles from anywhere you need to be.
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