Expats in London – It takes a newly minted expat to give you the best advice.

What it’s like to be new to London?

I had a lot of expectations when I moved to London. I thought moving here would make my life suddenly perfect, more ideal than a Bossa Nova song. Expats in London need to know a couple of things before they make the move.

Amazing capture. Licenced via Creative Commons. Original: flickr.com/photos/garryknight/6350313287

Amazing capture. Licenced via Creative Commons. Original: flickr.com/photos/garryknight/6350313287

Alas, Reality

That’s not how life works- everything wasn’t suddenly cinematic, and I cruised the city anxiously (and without an oyster card, BIG mistake). My dreams weren’t and never will be fully realized, because they were just that, dreams. That said, although no city can be as perfect as a movie, London, of all the cities I’ve lived in, come’s the closest. There really is so much to do and see. If you want a more extensive list check out the Telegraph’s list of 100 of the best things to do in London!

Successful Expats in London – It’s All About Adjustments

A good thing to keep in mind if you’re relocating to London is that it takes an average person anywhere from three to six months to fully settle in a new city. I moved here without any help, and I probably could have prepared myself more adequately for my new London life. So I thought I’d write down some tips for adjusting to London life.

  1. You don’t have to thank your taxi driver, you can but you’re more likely to piss the driver off. More often than not the driver’s response was a scowl.
  2. Study London, it makes it easier to rendez-vous with new friends! Don’t forget that at first you probably won’t have a phone with Google Map capabilities and even if you do, your London A-Z is your best friend.
  3. Watch where you’re walking. If you’re moving from another city, this will be a no-brainer. If you aren’t though know that if you get in another pedestrian’s way, there are consequences!
  4. Streets say “Look Left”, there are no exit signs, you bag your own groceries. Don’t freak out. You can handle this. You are an adult.
  5. Get ready because Tuesday is a party night here…Brits do what they want.
  6. Finding a flat in London is near impossible. We recommend that you call us so that we can explain London’s complicated real estate market. Whether you decide to use our service or not, it’s good to know about the differences!
  7. Banks are much stricter when it comes to security than they are in the States. Be sure to know the answers of your security questions by heart (I recently forgot mine and it was a nightmare!).
  8. Don’t be too fashionable for a hooded jacket. Walking around with rain-soaked hair is MUCH worse.
  9. Don’t talk so much! I realized that I sabotaged some could-be friendships because of my loud mouth American ways. Let the Brits do the talking.
  10. Go Parisian and bring a scarf. I liked to dab mine with some perfume… the tube gets smelly.Relax, relax, relax and go have some fun. You’re in for the best time of your life, and in for a much wider (better!) beer selection.

We hope this list helps to clarify and prepare you for your new, exciting London life. It might not be like a movie, but you’re still in for a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Feeling anxious? Keep in mind that for every not-anglo-approved thing you do, there exists an obnoxious tourist roaming around London, making your expat faux pas look like a glorious British blessing!