“There are much more jobs in the UK – The training is better in the UK – Career progression is easier in the UK”
As Irish graduates this is something we hear all the time – unfortunately for some
professions it seems to be true! So if you’re like me and you find that you are moving to London, here are some tips to make the transition easier!
- Rent in London is very expensive so try to take this into account when budgeting.
- Check the length of the journey to work/university – you don’t want commuting to eat up your day.
- Visit the accommodation and surrounding area before signing anything; this will give you an idea if it is somewhere you can picture yourself living.
- Trains are about to become central to your life so try to rent somewhere near to a train station.
- Close to a supermarket is preferable as the last thing you want to spend your free time doing is carrying your groceries for miles – of course delivery is always an option!
- Depending on how often you go home, easy access to an airport may make a big difference – especially if you’re not a fan of dragging heavy suitcases across London.
- Rumor suggests Clapham is popular with young professionals; it has the advantages of being relatively central, with good nightlife and a direct line to Gatwick airport.
Public transport is a daily part of life when living in London. Don’t expect any sympathy for your commute being to long – this isn’t unusual! On the positive side, everything is punctual; if it says the train will be there at 7:26 – it will be there at 7:26!
- Get an Oyster Card – This card allows you to get on buses and trains (you can’t pay cash!) They can be bought in the stations or shops. You can also set it to auto top-up from your bank account. There are also student Oyster Cards.
- Get the Citymapper app – it has up to date details of the best routes, delays and strikes. You can even set it to remind when to get off the train/bus.
- Uber – this app is the cheapest way I’ve found to get a taxi (though public transport is so good this isn’t usually necessary). Beware of getting one in traffic or during peak times as this makes prices rise! It also will deduct straight from your credit card so there’s no need to worry about having cash.
- Get to know your route – this will allow you to choose the best carriage and avoid getting trapped in the swarm of people exiting the train.
- Hurry – I originally thought watching all the people rushing to catch trains was funny. Then I realised they were saving a lot of time – now I do it too!
- Check which train you’re getting on – seems like an obvious one but if you’re in a rush it’s easy not too; this generally doesn’t end well.
- Entertainment – books, phones etc. are great for passing the time while commuting. Just remember not to get too absorbed in them – it can take a long, long time to find your way back after forgetting to get out at your stop!
- Opening train doors – Sometimes you need to press the button to open the doors, not doing this is another great way to miss your stop.
- Many stations are huge – they have lots of different exits which can land you in many places; don’t assume the first exit is the only one.
Ask for advice – people on London transport rarely talk to each other, so if you need advice you have to ask.
It can take a long time to get an appointment and you need one of these to get an account; if possible, try to book one before you get there. Bring all/any documents you can think of – not having them really slows things down!
While staying at home may seem tempting after a daunting move to London, instead try and make the most of your surroundings! Museums are free, midweek shows can be found for around £20 and the shops are a spectacle worth seeing even if you can’t afford to buy anything. You’ll never run out of things to do!