Moving to London from Melbourne
Moving from Melbourne to London feels very natural. It’s an easy transition at first, with both cities sharing the same language, similar weather and legal systems, a great café culture, driving on the left hand side of the road, even Melbourne-style brunches are growing in popularity. When you first move you’ll feel right at home very quickly. London feels just like Melbourne but on a much grander, busier, crazier scale! The restaurant/bar/pub scene is enormous, it’s one of the musical capitals of the world and every day and night you’re guaranteed endless amounts of things to do and see, meaning one can truly never get bored. If you plan your move well and work hard to set yourself up when you arrive, then you’ll quickly grow to love your exciting new life in the Big Smoke.
After the first month in London, the crazy high starts to wear off and you find yourself missing the comforts of home. The health system is quite different and can be frustrating in comparison to Australia’s, British people are much less friendly and keep themselves very guarded, all of a sudden you realise just how much Caramello Koalas and Pizza Shapes really meant to you, your annual income gets slashed by at least a third of what you’re used to and it’s very likely that the ‘Heathrow Injection’ will start kicking in, adding a few unwanted kg’s to your waistline. Life takes on a difference pace in London, a much faster one and you’ll want to keep up!
If all this is stressing you out a little, please keep calm and read on. With all the things you’ll miss about Australia, there will be twice as many things that you’ll swear you don’t know how you ever lived without. A tube that comes every 1-3 minutes. Incredible holiday destinations never taking longer than 3 hours to get to. The endless free art galleries and exhibitions on at any one time. The constant stream of new restaurants and bars opening up all around you. Getting anywhere and everywhere on public transport. The huge amount of green parks all around you and the fact that they resemble a summer festival each time the sun comes out. The shopping, so much shopping. The constant buzz on the street and always being surrounded by people, making you feel completely safe and secure. Amazing culture and diversity – hearing 10 different languages in one train carriage. Sunday roasts at the pub with all your friends. House parties, so many house parties. Endless career opportunities on an international scale. London is a beautiful city and a sanctuary for exploration; incredibly easy to fall in love with and terribly hard to leave!
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Melbourne vs. London
Let’s get right down to the one thing any Australian ever thinks about when they hear the word ‘London’ – the weather. Yes, it does rain. Yes, a London winter is much longer than a Melbourne winter. Yes, it does occasionally snow and when it does, the trains won’t work. But does the sun come out, even in winter? Yes. Does the Spring not match anything you’ve ever seen before and get you so excited that you’re likely to Instagram the whole damn city? Of course. Does the summer bring endless warm nights of t-shirts, 9:30pm sunsets, pub drinks on the street and BBQ’s in the park? Hell yes. The weather in London is very similar to Melbourne’s, even a little more predictable, but do still remember to pack your jumper and brolly just in case!
The cost of living is undeniably higher in London. Whilst food, healthcare, clothes and booze are all cheaper in London, the rent, living expenses, petrol and transport can really burn a hole in your pocket, especially when you consider the wages are much lower than Melbourne’s. Don’t move to London to live in a beautiful house and own lots of lovely things, or worse – to save money. Move to London to experience life in its most beautiful, raw form - full of adventure, learning, excitement, disappointment, exhilaration and new experiences.
Get out and start networking, meeting new people and making friends. Travel Europe, hell, travel the world. Visit places you would never normally go to. This is your chance to discover who you really are – find your passions, hobbies, loves and hates. The beauty of being away from your home city is that you get to step outside of your safety bubble and open up to so many new possibilities. You’ll find the people you meet are very like-minded. Londoner’s all love London – we’re all here for a reason, and quite often you’ll find it so much easier to connect with other expats purely on your shared love of London, travel and life!
Case Study:Kamila is an Aussie blogger living in London for several years already, she moved to London in 2012 from Melbourne. Here are some tips and advice for others looking to move and you can read more about her adventures in London on her blog.
What were the reasons for your move?
“I have dreamt of moving to Europe for most of my life and after two very successful backpacking trips across Europe in 2007 & 2009, I decided that I couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to be closer to this amazing part of the world! With an EU passport and a career change on the horizon, I decided there was no better time than the present and packed up my Melbourne life in July 2012, heading straight for the Big Smoke (AKA London). ”
What are you doing for a living in London?
“When I moved to London not only was I uprooting my personal life, I was also coming with the aim to make a huge change professionally. When I first arrived I landed a paid internship at a great tech start up/social media agency and now, 20 months later, my role has quickly evolved to become Content Director and head of the Content & Design teams, working to create content for the biggest Facebook brand pages in the world across all of Europe. It’s a huge achievement and I’m so glad that I made the career change when I did, despite feeling that I was way too old at the time (you’re never too old, and I was only 25!). It feels so good doing something that I love and that I’m really good at for a living, so there’s a lot of personal fulfilment and London is such a great place to gain amazing international experience with all of Europe on the doorstep! I definitely have my move to London to thank for my successful career. ”
How London feels like, how is it different from Melbourne?
“Melbourne and London are very in-sync with one another. Both are cultural capitals of their respective countries, both share big similarities such as language, weather and Cadbury chocolate, however, London is still a very different city and the longer you stay here the easier it is to see. Poverty is a much bigger problem, people are much more guarded and the cost of living is generally much higher. In saying that, you have endless amounts of things to see and do every day and night, you’ll never, ever need a car, it’s quicker and cheaper to fly to Italy than it is to fly from Melbourne to Brisbane and it’s very easy to meet like-minded people and form life-long friendships.”
Is there anything specific you are missing in UK and how do you cope with it?
“The thing that I miss most whilst living in the UK is the beach. Spending a lot of my Melbourne life around the beach, I do often find myself longing to be closer to the water. It has a total calming effect on me like nothing else does. The best way to cope with it is to always plan my spring and summer holidays around beach destinations. I save all my city and central-European holidays for winter and autumn, and make a huge effort to be around beach cities and towns as much as possible during the warmer months. ”
Do you have any advice for those who are about to move from Melbourne?
“- Prepare as much as possible – finances, setting up bank accounts, phone accounts, National Insurance numbers, etc. and research as much as you can - locations, the job market, housing. Write it all down and take it with you, it will come in handy once you arrive! I set up a blog to help collate all my research and I still refer to it to this day (2 years later). It has also helped thousands of others to make the move too and has been a great way to share my experiences with the world! - Travel, but not every weekend. If you want to experience life as a Londoner, you need to spend some QT here! - Don’t make the decision to leave too early and definitely don’t make it in winter. - Finally, moving to London is a chance to step outside your comfort zone and live life the way you really want to. The experience that you’ll get out of it is completely up to what you put in. Don’t hold back and don’t be shy – get involved, meet new people, try new hobbies, travel to new places, take some risks and I can guarantee that you’ll be blown away by how much you’ll learn about yourself along the way!”