Moving to London from Sydney


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The relocation of Australians to London is a practice that has occurred many a time by those that have come before. A move that has been simplified by the ever increasing number of ex pats to Australia’s “motherland”. The Aussie Rules Football league, Australian coffee culture, netball associations and “our” Fosters brand, are all prevalent in the orientation brochure those receive when relocating to London.

Coming from a country where everyone is your “mate” and conversations with strangers in nothing but normal, new-comers to London will receive a shock. In London, everyone is so focused on themselves, a harsh reality for Australians. This is most likely brought on by the English people’s disagreement on removing (or relaxing of) the immigration rules to allow other Europeans into England without the requirement of VISAs. However, there are a few things Australians and the English share which brings them together: the intense sporting rivalry (no matter what the sport), our love for sport in general, the copious amounts of reality TV shows, and most prevalent – the drinking culture. Something that everyone is eventually introduced to!

Many things in London and England are made significantly easier; the accessibility and broad span of public transport, the implementation of the Barclays/Boris bicycles that are stationed throughout the city, the National Health Service and most enthused by all Australians – the ease and inexpensiveness of travel around Europe.

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A city that has successfully managed to preserve its history, implement beneficial technologies to locals, whilst dealing with the continuous influx of migrants (tourists and citizens) annually. This tourist hub has not shown any signs of being overtaken as the main tourist destination of Europe any time soon.

Foreign direct investment has greatly assisted the resurgence of London as a European leader after the deficit of the global economic crisis. New iconic buildings such as the Gherkin and the Shard have invited such companies as Shangri-La and Al Jazeera broadcasting network. Because of this, other foreign companies have followed suit, as well as other EU citizens having noticed the increasing employment opportunities in London.

For those locals that avoid the crowds of the thousands of tourists annually, they enjoy the local treats and low key locations that yet to see such tourists. The thing is, only locals know of them, but newcomers soon discover them and appreciate them too – I can’t disclose such locations sorry.

Case study: moving to London from Sydney

James shares some of his experience on moving from Sydney to London:

What was the main reason for your move?

“I was given a career opportunity in the UK which I thought would be a great challenge personally and professionally. Plus travelling has always been a great passion of mine.”

“I am working for Topdeck Travel – an Australian owned travel company that allows me to travel and encourage others to follow suit.”

How London feels like – how is it different from Sydney?

“London has a large integration of locals and tourists. Sydney on the other hand doesn’t. With London, everything is within walking distance or a short tube ride Sydney sites and wonders area a trek from the city centre. London exhibits different languages with different nationalities, whilst Sydney exhibits different languages but only one nationality – Australian.”

Is there anything specific you are missing in UK and how do you cope with it?

“Aside from family and friends, the freshness and variety of the food on offer in Sydney, the sports scene and the relaxed lifestyle of beach side living. You immerse yourself in what London has to offer. Find extra activities that take you away from work and the ordinary and do something a bit outside the box – just something to take your mind of everything for a bit. People are more than happy to offer suggestions of places to visit and people to see and food to try.”

Do you have any advice for those who are about to move from Sydney?

“Definitely do some research before you get to London. There are many different resources out there to help the transition easier for you and no doubt you would know someone who has lived in London. There are many different scenes in London as well, it’s not that hard to find one that suits your vibe and persona.”

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Comparing London to Sydney

An urban metropolis that is the tourist hub of Europe compared to the picturesque sea side wonder of the British Empire – so similar yet so different. The tourist icons, the expensive cost of living, the cultural diversity are all common traits that these cities share.

Both of these cities are horrendous to drive in and around. The ferries that criss-cross Sydney harbour to the underground warren of trains that transport thousands of commuters around London daily. There is a mass reliance of these cities on their public transport system being the major similarity.

There is an emphasis on the low cost of living in England – but this does not include London. The availability of accommodation is endless in London, much like Sydney. However the vast difference is that London offers a surplus of “room accommodation” compared to Sydney’s supply of apartment and rent opportunities. For what local Londoners save on their cheaper grocery bills, this is relinquished on the limited amount of personal living space for accommodation. In Sydney, you can have a 2 bed room apartment near the beach for the same price as a 5 metre by 3 metre room within London’s zone 2 area.

London prides itself on its beautiful parks, flowery gardens and swan filled ponds, spread throughout this concrete jungle. Whilst Sydney, with its pristine beaches, golden sand and clear blue water is completely different. Both of which are the most popular destinations when the sun chooses to shine. In London, unfortunately this is a rare occurrence with a long summer being a rare commodity, compared to Sydney’s summers being long, humid and occasionally drenched by a summer storm or blanketed by smoke due to nearby bushfires.

A major similarity that Sydney and London share is the cultural diversity. When exploring the different suburbs of London, you will encounter a wide variety of cuisines; Brick Lane, Covent Garden and Brixton. You can’t help but to be immersed in the cultural diversity of London. As a country built on immigration, Sydney offers a similar cultural diversity but less in regards to specific areas and more in the integration of diversity within society.