29/05/2014

Moving to London: More Questions Answered






I keep getting more emails than ever about moving to London - I think it's truly amazing that so many people appreciate our gorgeous city and want to come here.

Living here for a year and a half, some of my views on the city have changed and others have stayed the same. For example, I now understand why people say London is so expensive - IT IS. I also see why so many people talk badly about TFL or certain areas of the city. London can be dirty, scary and incredibly pricey. Not to mention competitive and not always fair.


Nonetheless, I'm still in love with it.

It's like being in love with someone compared to having a lasting love story: I know know most of this city's good band bad sides...and I love it even more for it.

This is just one of the reasons why I love helping people move here! Here's a selection of further questions I've gotten via email.



What visa did you have?
As EU citizens (I'm Swedish and David is Italian) we don't require a visa. As I have previously said, I CANNOT HELP with visa questions. Visit the UK embassy in your city and ask them - I'm sure they have all the info you need!

How much money do you think is a safe amount? 
We moved with approx £3000 and I'd say that's an okay amount - I also had freelance work coming in all the time, so that "oh my God, I have to get a job!!" panic wasn't too bad at the start. I'd say bring a month's rent and your deposit, plus enough to get by for the first month.

In everyday living - is it expensive? 
Transport is a KILLER. I pay £140 for a monthly travelcard - and that's only zones 1-3! Transports are so expensive it's crazy - and in no way is the service good enough to justify even half of it. 
For other living expenses outside of rent and transport, I'd say London has something for everyone. Lots of museums are free, going to a pub never has to pricey and as for shopping, there truly is something for every budget. 
I'm not a huge clubbing person, but the times I did go clubbing, I only went when the club had "free entry night", so I have no clue what it costs. 

I've heard that the safe areas are, Fulham, Kensington and Notting Hill. 
Those are all quite expensive areas. See example here - how's £400 a week for a STUDIO FLAT? And it doesn't even mention bills, which usually means they're not included. There are some affordable flats in these areas, but they tend to be rather tiny and, well, still over-priced considering how small they are. Also, some of these flats are quite weird.  Most of this post happened in Notting Hill and West Kensington - which are lovely areas, but NOT AT ALL the only safe ones. Areas I love that used to be considered unsafe (not so much anymore!) are Brixton, Stoke Newington, Dalston and Crystal Palace (where I am moving soon! More info on that in an upcoming post).

 When you go to view a house and you like it, come back to the area in the evening and see what it feels like. We went to see our new flat on Friday at 8pm and then just hung out and had a drink in the pub. It's important to see how safe you'd feel by night in the area.

Do you think it's too expensive to live on my own? Is sharing a better option? 
We lived in a shared flat until now - we're moving to our own one-bed flat this summer, and it's in Crystal Palace, zone 3. Sure, our rent is super cheap and the flat is quite huge, but if we were only looking in zone 1 or the more posh parts of zone 2, we'd still be stuck sharing. This, of course, is also due to our financial situation which has been unstable for a long time as we've both been freelancing. I don't know what your finances look like, but my advice is definitely to keep an open mind - London is full of hidden gems and there are tons of nice places to live. 

Sharing can be a great experience, but it can also be awful (we've had a mix of both). Make sure you're living with like-minded people - my fiance is a guitarist and does a lot of power tool repairs, so when two guys that worked at night and slept all day moved into our shared flat, obviously conflicts arose. Talk things through before moving in.


Is the actual move really hard? Is it a good idea to stay in a hostel for a while?
Oh, hostels. I don't really have that much experience with them - I did look at a few while looking to move, but things like "25-person sleeping halls" definitely put me off. What I'd recommend instead is Airbnb.com, which is better than a hostel and a great way to meet people in the city - we're still great friends with our hosts!

I am lead to believe that I shouldn't really bring much in the way of clothing?
Weather-wise, I'd say bring what you really love and then get the rest here. It doesn't rain as much as everyone tells you it will.

I never went to uni - I don't have a degree or certs in anything, its all purely experience based..do you think that will be a problem? 
Not necessarily - experience is VERY important over here. I think that as long as you have the right experience and the right attitude, all you need is a well-written CV. So yes, get an expert to look at it (not someone you have to pay!) and just go for it! Oh and...it's EXTREMELY competitive (London is the second most competitive city in the world!) so it's important to believe in yourself and show that you believe in yourself. Because otherwise, no one else will. 

How hard is it for a foreign journalist / journalism student to find a job?
I would say EXTREMELY - but there's also more opportunities than most other places in the world. Unfortunately, I've seen many cases where writers of foreign origin have been cast aside because there are so many native English speakers applying for the much-coveted positions. I've also had it confirmed to me that our origin is, indeed, the reason why we're often overlooked. However, I still believe that it's possible - if extremely frustrating on the way!


Do you know of anyone who's used the Youth Mobility Scheme?
I have absolutely no idea what that is. You see, I'm not that "youthful" anymore.


What are some areas that you'd advise a young person to move to?
It all depends on your budget! I'd say Brixton is an amazing area for a young person to be in, and so is Camden (as you can see, I love both north and south London!). I also absolutely adore Stoke Newington and have lived in Kennington for a long time - an area I'm crazy about. Greenwich is an absolute dream area with lots of students, very leafy and pretty.

Can you take a look at my CV?
I can, but I'm far from an expert - it took me for ever to find a job! But sure, send it over.


More questions? Think I'm wrong? Leave a comment or email me!

3 comments:

  1. Some great tips! =) Great to read about someone who's made the move themselves!
    Glad your loving it!

    http://novarellie.blogspot.com.au

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  2. Mhairi Bensted29 June 2014 at 08:58

    So useful reading all your tips! Im planning the big ol' move for January 2015 and you have no idea how calming it is to read about someone who has done it, and done it successfully!
    Keep up all the good work and i might just email you with any follow-up-flat-location i have...

    Congratulations on the wedding by the way, excellent dress!

    M

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  3. I will be moving to London in a few month under the youth mobility visa (barely qualified), and your website is one of the most helpful ones I've encountered so far. Thank you so much for all the great suggestions, I think this will help tremendously in easing my move to London.

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