FIRST 30 DAYS AS EXPAT IN ENGLAND UK

A month ago we were packing again our luggage to move to another country. After the very useful experience in France, we were now ready to move to England, UK. After living for a year in France, we left with mixed impressions. I knew we had to move somewhere where we speak the language and where we can really integrate into society, and I believe we could not truly achieve this there.

When the expiry date of my fixed-term work contract in France was approaching, I started looking for work options in England. After some promising interviews, I still had nothing secured, but I did had an invitation to come for a follow up face-to-face interview that seemed 80% sure. I took a risk and quickly bought a one way plane ticket. I was aware that if I came only for a few days visit just for the interview and somehow it failed, I would return to Romania with the tail between my legs and depressed and it would have been very difficult to ever come back. Fortunately, the interview here went well.

I do not recommend to anyone coming here without having secured a job first, but be aware that once you get here and settle down, you are more likely to find work. Most employers want to talk with their candidates face-to-face and usually require someone who’s already in the country. Very rare they consider candidates from outside. Not to mention that the whole Brexit thing scares off companies from hiring people from outside the country.

Another important thing is the fact that you have the courage to finally make the big step and go out of your comfort zone. If you stay in the comfort of your own country and home, close to friends and family who help you out, odds are you will probably will never leave. I don’t know about your country but unfortunately in Romania you will never reach your full potential. Be warned however: your first year or even couple of years in England will be difficult. I will not deny it. Be prepared to accept jobs and salaries that do not sound good at first, but once you are integrated and have all your paperwork done and gain some experience, you will be able to look for a job that rises to the value of your studies and your experience. Later you will be in a much more stronger position and be able to negotiate. Nobody will give you straight away a senior engineer position just because you have several diplomas from highly ranked universities from abroad….

As I said before in my article Expat beginners guide to moving to France, if you are thinking of emigrating to another country, make sure you bring with you as much money as possible. To endure a month or two without a job or income in England, you need at least 2000-3000 pounds, otherwise it’s pointless to come here. This money should ensure you with the first temporary accommodation and the food budget required until you secure a job. Since we came, we’ve moved from the hotel to a couple of houses so far, where we rented a room, living in the house together with other people and paying by the week. This is the easiest and quickest way to get a roof over your head. In order to rent a separate apartment or house for yourself, you usually have to provide references, pay a few months in advance, or have a guarantor and a work contract. Like in France, the houses which are available to rent are usually unfurnished, it is the tenant’s duty to furnish the property and at the end of his lease to get all his things out and leave the property like he found it.

First impressions in Hull, England UK? Well, let’s see: it’s a nice medium-size port city (very similar to my home town of Constanta) but it is more spread out and less congested. Not much is happening here and job opportunities are pretty limited to the port and food processing plants.

Everybody around here usually lives in a house, I saw only 5 apartment tower blocks in town. It’s pretty cloudy and rainy as the world says, autumn-winter climate is warmer than in Romania. There is a lot of green here, there are huge parks and lots of green spaces in the city in general. As a result, the air is fresh and dust-free, something that I certainly could not say about Marseille, France.

The people are divided into two groups: the civilized and educated group who apologizes even when they pass to close to you, and the other rude badgers who seem like they are screaming when they talk. So far I found more individuals that belong in the first group.

There are many Romanians and Poles in Hull, England. This cliche is real. I can not walk on the street for more than 20 to 30 minutes without hearing my mother tongue. I have to admit, it’s a lot better than hearing Arab or African languages.

Traffic is civilized, English drivers are very patient and calm, and they usually give way and signal you to get in ahead if they see you waiting to come out from a side street. Since I’ve been here, only once the rear driver hankered me because I was not overtaking the bus stopped ahead of me, not knowing at the time that you are allowed to enter in the other direction lane to overtake a stopped bus or car. Access to the opposite traffic lane is forbidden only if traffic directions lanes are separated by a clearly marked median area or green space. Driving on the left side did not bother me at all, in two days I was already used to it.

About prices: everything is cheaper than in Marseille, France (or at least used to be before the pound droped in value in comparison to the Euro). Starting from food, household items and going out in town. In addition to the many supermarket chains such as Home Bargain or Poundland where every thing costs one pound (some items are quite large and of decent quality). I noticed that we are spending less money for many of the same food items compared to what were paying in the South of France. Going out and entertainment in the city is much more convenient, a large beer or a small cocktail costs between 2 and 4 Pounds and all pubs have evening and weekend offers like 2 drinks for 5 pounds.

Cars are cheap here, and that’s truth of it. And the purchase and registration procedures are very simple, in two days I was already driving with all the papers in good order.

If we compare the renting costs, the difference is sensible. In France I payed 700 EUR pcm for a small furnished one-bedroom apartment without parking, and in England I saw you can get a house with 2 bedrooms, parking and garden at 550 Pounds per month (semi-furnished), but that depends a lot of the country region and the city district. And rent prices can be deceiving , remember that in UK , is the tenant who pays the property tax , not the owner. So you end up an additional 120 pounds per month in Council Tax.

Since I arrived in England, I started the lengthy process of  getting a NINO (National Insurance Number), creating a bank account, and registering in the system, but I will explain them one by one when I’m ready in future article. I’ll be back.

If you liked the article, I also recommend one of my other articles about living abroad or traveling from the list below. See also the GarciaCalavera.com Fb page, where you can give a Like and Subscribe.

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Check out other articles from Romania:Β 

Alternative tourism: Detroit , Georgia , Burning gate of Turkmenistan , North Korea , Pripyat & the alienation zone   , Nouadhibou graveyard

How the other half lives :  Karachi ,  Guayaquil  , Lagos

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