What surprised you when you first came to the UK?
I was surprised to be able to find a work very quickly. I found a job in hospitality 2 weeks only, with no experience. And if you go out with CVs and try to get a job by applying directly in the restaurant, you can start to work the next following days, with or without experience.
I was surprised by the national health system which is very different from France. And the number of people who live in shared houses. There are even agencies to help you to get a room to live.
What do you like about London?
I like the fact that when I came in London it was very easy to talk with people. I like the fact that it’s a busy city. There is always something to do, something to discover. I didn’t feel isolated because there is a lot of other people who come to live in London.
You are not the only one “new” person.
I like London as well because I feel like I am in another country when I come here. I had been in other big cities in Europe and I didn’t have the same feeling. The culture is different.
You will always find a shop open somewhere, which is very convenient, as well as transport to get home late in the night. I like the fact that it is quicker to be promoted, and there are so many opportunities for work in London. And you don’t always need to have diploma or certificates, as soon as you know how to do the job. This possibility is amazing for me.
What did you find difficult?
The difficulty in London for me is to make friends. It is very easy to talk to people. But it’s not easy to make deep relationships. But I think that it’s the same when you move into a big city. On the other hand, the law is different, and the culture as well. It can be good but it makes harder to find a place to live and to deal with lawful agencies and landlords. In France, it is not in our culture to share a house to live with other people.
But I understand quickly that it’s very expensive to rent flats and houses here. The minimum wage is very low to afford the price of this city, especially because I was working in hospitality with the minimum wage, to earn £1200 for 40 hours a week. You can pay around 600-800£ for a room in zone 2-3, with the price of the transport (£130 for zone 1-2), I didn’t have a lot left to enjoy the city.
What do you wish you had known?
I wish I had known the cost of living in London. Maybe I will then think to live in another city in UK. As I wanted to improve my English as well, I found it difficult because I meet a lot of foreigners.
The most important thing for me was the impact of the Brexit. At the moment I still don’t really know how it will be after it, so I wish I had known more about this.
What advice would you give to someone coming to live in the UK?
I will advise this person to be sure at 100% because of the Brexit. A lot is changing in the UK, so it’s important to follow the news and to be aware of what is going on. After that, in terms of employment, it’s important to try to get a job before moving to London, if it is for a management position.
Looking for a job when in the UK is easier, but you can save time and money if you can find the job before you come.