19 February 2013

The London OE, a challenging but rewarding mistress

You can go to up to Charing Cross for a greasy full English Breakfast, to Paris for Lunch, the Ritz for dinner and hiking in the Lake District. You can live in 14th Century Castle, drink your way around Europe and attempt to find Loch Ness. The flipside is that the UK, and London in particular can be a demanding place to live.


Oh, and in London Kiwis CAN fly...

It can be hard setting up a new life in a new country, and it generally starts with finding a new job that ticks all of the boxes - satisfying, challenging, not too stressful, good pay, reasonable hours and close-ish to home. Some come over thinking that London really is paved with gold, but go home after 3 months of not catching a lucky break, not trying very hard or running out of funds. Odds are in the great tradition, you will probably start of with a pub job, sorry guys, but it's part of the OE (Overseas Experience). On the plus side, it's a job generally meeting with genial English people and easy access to drinks.

Then you have to find somewhere to live. If you're lucky when you come over, you'll probably start off on someones couch - misshapen, saggy and with the odd stain you really don't want to know about. Once you catch a break and find yourself a job, the hunt is on - nice flatmates, not too much rent and close to work - the holy trifecta.



Once you've got a job held down, flat sorted and travel booked is when London begins to look a lot rosier. You can upgrade the 8p instant noodles to Pot Noodles dressed with HP Sauce - oh the luxury. But, you will meet some fantastic people, have some indescribably good nights out and can have a proper crack at classifying the zoological creatures that inhabit London night busses and deciphering their accents.

It can be really challenging, but you learn SO much about yourself. You can be your favourite version of you in this country; fancy being an Emo-Goth with a baking obsession? Sure. Want to be an athlete with an obsession for Harajuku? Sure. The sheer eccentricity of the city ensures that there generally is someone at some point with whom you will make a connection. You will need to be brave in this big city and be pro-active, putting yourself out there or else the magic won't have a chance to happen...

It is a bit posher than back home, mind...

It does take work and there is one key thing to bare in mind when coming over: you will still (unless you are born well or find a verry rich partner) have to wake up to an alarm, work the daily grind and be answerable to the boss.

But if you are courageous, the benefits can be immense. Why be poor, tired and unhappy in a rural backwater when you can be poor, tired and happy in a City where your potential can be immense?


We genuinely accidently ran into one of the Wonders of the World roadtripping through the countryside. #kiwisontour

My best pieces of advice?
  • Patience
  • When catching the tube and the train is packed, go to the ends of the train and if there is one shortly, wait for it. You will be much happier in life.
  • Check out TimeOut and other free websites for fun stuff to do whilst financially finding your feet
  • Plan & book travelling in advance, your wallet will thank me
  • Network, utilise social media. London is a huuuge place and meeting like-minded people can be hard
  • Buy a small umbrella for your bag
  • For a few what to do suggestions, check out my 'London Living' page


It will be hard, homesickness is possibly the hardest aspect, but it can also be the best time of your life.

Any tips/tricks I've missed?

No comments :

Post a Comment

So, what do you think? Comments are blogging mana; short, sweet, long, loquacious, deep and meaningful...