London is not only the capital city of the United Kingdom but also an undoubtedly global city that offers huge opportunities for job seekers especially in the field of financial services. If you have made up your mind to reposition yourself and your family to London, there are specific things that you should be cognizant of before you leave India.
In this article, I will highlight some of the best things to make your transition smooth to the British capital.
1. Brush Up Your Language Skills – English is the official language of the United Kingdom so, if anyone is considering moving to London, he/she needs to enhance English skills either by conversational course or business English course.
2. Transportation – Transportation costs will be a shock to first time passengers. Taxi fare is high while bus travel is relatively cheap but time consuming. The London metro is known as The Tube and the metro card is called the Oyster card. Any passenger can obtain it from an automatic vending machine from any tube station. London is divided in 6 zones. Zone 1 is the costliest to live and travel while zone 4 is relatively cheap.
3. Accommodation – Accommodation charges in London are very high. People generally share a house or flat which has a shared washroom and kitchen but separate rooms. The majority of the Indian population lives at Hounslow and Harrow locations in West London. Websites such as SpareRoom, Easyroommate and Gumtree make it a little easier to find people to live with. Living in inner London is more expensive than living in outer London. 1 bedroom flat monthly rental in City Center is 1200 GBP while 1 bedroom flat monthly rent outside of Center is 900 GBP.
4. Be aware of some common British Etiquette – It is advised to show decent respect and manners to the local traditions and culture.
- Shake hands with people you know regardless of gender. The suitable response to a handshake is “pleased to meet you”.
- British people are very punctual. Be sure to inform the person you are meeting if you are late. You should come at the exact time appointed for lunch, dinners, and appointments and arrive a few minutes early for public meetings, weddings, church services, classes, sporting events, movies, concerts and plays.
- The British like a personal space so don’t stand too close to another person or put your arm around someone’s shoulder, don’t click pictures of strangers, don’t talk or play to any cute child you meet, don’t make eye contact and stand at least 2 feet away from the person in front of you especially in a queue.
5. Climate – London has a temperate climate both in the summer and winter. Average temperature in January is 4 degree Celsius and in July is 17.5 degree Celsius. London will occasionally get cooler and warmer than these temperatures. It rains so often in London but it rarely rains hard. It is advised to invest in a good umbrella and rain jacket.
6. Stay Connected and Download Important Apps – Staying connected will help you to feel less lost. Get your SIM card from the airport without providing any documents. Most Indians use the Lyca network as it has the cheapest calling plans. Download some important apps that will help you to live in London
- Citymapper – To map your journey across town with time, route and price indications.
- Hailo and Uber – To pre-book a taxi and to order a ride anywhere in the city at any time.
- Deliveroo – Food delivery app.
- Met Office – Weather forecast app.
- Dojo – To be up to date about all the hop things happening in your city.
7. Adopt Diversified Behavior – London’s population is super polite and friendly. They are always ready to help. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are lost or want to know directions. Do not limit yourself to the local Indian community only because this will stop you from being a part of new culture. Most of the Indians have only Indian friends. You should try to hang out with other community people also. This will help you to invest into British culture.
8. Stop Conversion – Most of the Indians surely convert every pound they spent into Indian currency. Stop this practice as early as possible, start to enjoy your work and the beautiful country.
London is one of the most historical, diverse and beautiful cities of the world to live. It is very common to fall in love with the architecture, culture, city life, endless green space and facilities of the city. Life at a new place is always exciting as all things are new and if your new place of visit is London then your excitement can last for years as there are endless things to do and locations to search and discover. Apart from all these things, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of living in London.
Advantages of Living in London
- London is a famous international tourist destination because there are some iconic locations like the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Hyde Park.
- Excellent public transportation system.
- London is a foodie’s paradise because it has 15,000 restaurants. So, there is something for everyone and for all budgets from market stalls, street foods and high-end restaurants.
- London is known as Europe’s financial capital. Financial companies offer higher salaries to workers.
- London has charming homes and flats.
- London has a wide range of public and private schools that can give the best start to your kids in their new life.
Disadvantages of Living in London
- The cost of living is very high. London was ranked as the 6th most expensive city in the world to live in 2016.
- The trains and buses are overcrowded to travel during rush hours as around 9 million live in the Greater London area and London is regularly overrun with tourists.
- It is very tricky to dine out without a reservation because the best restaurants are always booked so you have to book in advance.
- You are under constant surveillance because London has more CCTV cameras per square foot than any other place on the planet. For some people, it may be a threat to their privacy.
- Driving is difficult and time consuming especially in central London and car operating costs are high.