How to survive in London (1) – Before arriving

Tower Bridge (London) by Tom Bricker
Tower Bridge (London) by Tom Bricker

Once you’ve made the decision to move to London, I recommend you follow these steps before you go:

1. Check accommodation prices to get an idea, but never send money or accept an apartment or room without seeing it first. Familiarize yourself with the different zones, the prices, the deposit you need to pay at the beginning (usually the minimum is two weeks, and it can be up to 6 or 8 weeks), etc. This may also help early on in the process, when moving to London is not a definite plan, as it will give you an idea of ​​the savings you’ll need.

  • Top10: the basics before moving to the UK

2. Get the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you don’t have it yet, for your first days in the UK. Once you have an apartment or room, or even if you’re staying a hostel for more than a couple of weeks, go register at the nearest GP. You can find more information on healthcare in the UK in one of our previous articles.

3. Book accommodation for the beginning of your stay (unless you have someone to stay with). It’s important to have a place to sleep, and to book it before getting there. Reserve online while you are still home. You don’t want to wander around London with two or three suitcases asking different hostels if they have a room available… Try to find one not too far from the downtown area, so you can move around to do interviews and see apartments more easily.

4. “Study” the city: Public transport, GPs and hospitals, the different neighbourhoods, schedules, etc. Search on Google Maps to see how long it takes to get from one place to another to better understand the distances and transport options you have. Look for neighborhoods that you like and then find out if they are well connected and if the housing there is affordable. On this website you can find the best areas for your career and your preferences:

5. Translate your CV and prepare different cover letters. Remember to adapt your CV to the British style, and make sure it is properly translated (translated or reviewed by a native speaker, if possible). Prepare letter templates and adapt them for the specific job when the time comes to send things out. If a job offer ends with “Elise Carter, Telephone Group”, start your letter with “Dear Elise,” not “Dear Sir”, and mention the name of the company: “I would love to join Telephone Group because XYZ” instead of “I would love to join this company because XYZ”. Doing this you shows that you’ve looked at the job offer and taken the time to reply specifically to their offer.

More posts:

What other essential things did you do before moving to London?

Post written by Roser Aguirre

Roser runs, where she offers information about living in London and learning English for Spanish speakers. If you want more information about living in London, download her free guide “Cómo triunfar en Londres” (Spanish).

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