As promised, I am asking to international travellers and people living and working in a foreign country to share their life stories with me to know why they decided to leave families and friends behind to explore new realities and meet new cultures!
Are you curious about how they managed to adapt and settle in their new countries? Then follow my expat interviews categorised by country! Are you an expat wanting to share your tips and experience with the rest of the world and be a source of inspiration? Then fill in the expat interview form: I would love to hearing from you!
“Travelling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Iba Battuta
Let’s meet Lidia: an “imported” Londoner!
Introduce yourself briefly. Tell us who you are!
Hello everyone! I am Lidia, I come from Milan, Italy. I have been living in London for the last six years, without counting that I used to live here as well between 2011 and 2012 but I was homesick so I moved back to Italy, and this time in Rome! =)
Why did you move to your current country?
In 2011, I moved to London after university since it has always been my plan since I was at high school. The idea was to move here just for the summer season in order to improve my English but then I decided to stay and found a job! In 2014 I decided to come back to complete my career path in London!
What do you do for a living? How was the job hunting?
At the moment I work in the Human Resources field but when I first moved to London I did many different jobs such as dishes polisher, sales assistant, waitress, receptionist etc. – the list is long! I managed to find jobs through Caterer the main platform for finding jobs in Hospitality, but employers also post offers on CV library, Reed, Total Jobs, Guardian Jobs, Indeed, and Linkedin.
How is the social life in your city, is it easy to make friends?
If you do not have any friends already based in London when you move here for the first time, it is not easy to make friends at the beginning.
I moved to London alone and it was hard at the beginning but I ALWAYS had my parents’ support and that helped me a lot. After a few months I met new people and started going out. My flatmates also became my friends and some of them still are ! 🙂
Why should people move there? Why did you fall in love with this place?
It can sound repetitive…but in London you truly never get bored. You can go to theatres, have a drink or listening to live music in pubs, cycle and walk in perfectly tended green parks, try out international cuisines, meet so many different cultures, you will make friends from all around the world and of course, there are very good career opportunities.
What do you want to say to people looking to move there?
If you are planning to move to London better to be on the long term, as you will need time to settle down, to make new friends, to find work connections, to know the city and feel at ease in this overwhelming city. London is a wonderful city that can open many doors but you need to be a strong and independent person! When I first moved here I wish I had someone to tell me how to open a bank account, or how to apply for the NIN (National Insurance Number) in order to be able to work, which documents do you need to settle here. It can feel overwhelming at the beginning but as the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
How is the health system? Is it a safe place to live in?
The NHS is the public health system. I found it extremely easy to get registered to and I have a doctor close to where I live. Personally, I always experienced a good and efficient service and I have always been well treated. As for safety, I found London to be very safe all the time.
How is the general cost of living, what is the average rent?
The rent in London is very high…too high! One of the highest in Europe for sure!
The average rent for a nice room in a shared flat is around £700. There are small rooms at £450 but you truly won’t be able to walk around =P! Useful website to find a room are or a flat to share are Spare room, right move, gumtree, Zoopla or Facebook groups. Transports are very expensive too if you take the train or the underground!
Tell us something you don’t like about where you live and the difficulties you came across when settling in.
I found it difficult to make friends at the beginning since I knew nobody in London and people tend to be pretty cold! You will need to have a strong personality as you will be alone at start! The cost of life is pretty expensive in London, especially rents and public transports! And of course, the English weather can be quite depressing after a while, although it has been sunny for the last five weeks!!!!
Tell me an unmissable thing to do in your city over a weekend
When in London, take the chance when the weather is clement to go to the park for a long walk or cycle around. Don’t miss theatre shows and be sure to book tickets in advance since they are very popular! London is a great cosmopolitan city where you can try different international cuisines or have a drink in a traditional pub playing live music!
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