Have you made the big decision to move abroad to the UK? Congratulations! This beautiful country is home to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, full of rich history. While you may be excited to jump right in and get to work, it’s essential that you take time to do your research before you make the big move. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most important things that you should know.
The weather will be different
If you’re used to calming days and sunny skies, you better be prepared to brace yourself when you get to the UK. In fact, the weather here can be so unpredictable that half the time you won’t even know what’s hit you. You could wake up in pouring rain, and less than one minute later be in the middle of a heatwave. You’ll need to get used to packing an extra jacket in the car! Also, the British do love to talk about the weather, so get used to it being frequently brought up in conversations!
You’ll need a visa
Like most countries, if you decide to move abroad, you’ll need to make sure you have your passport and visa all sorted. There are many different kinds of visas, so it’s important you apply for the right one for your purpose. This includes if you are studying, working, or even investing. You also may be able to apply for an Ancestry Visa, if you have a British grandparent, which is an entirely different process altogether. If you’re caught without the correct visa, you could be facing a seriously hefty fine and risk being deported back to your home country. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Transport can be expensive
In some countries, transportation via train or bus can be cheap as chips. However, this isn’t the case in the UK. If you’re looking to get from one side of the country to the other, it can add up to be quite expensive. Sometimes, it can even be worthwhile booking a flight instead. Keep in mind that the earlier you buy your ticket, the cheaper it will be. If you’re looking for local transport around your town, such as the London Tube, it might be worthwhile investing in a pass as early as possible.
Things won’t be open so late
You’ve probably heard of the UK’s pub culture by now; however, if you’re looking to grab a drink past midnight, you might want to think again. Most pubs close up at around 11:00 pm, so don’t expect many late nights! The same goes for many shops, which generally close around 5:30 pm. On Sunday’s you will find even fewer places open, as many take the day off. Also, Sundays are for roasts, so be prepared for some delicious meals!
There are different accents all over
One of the most shocking things that most expats notice when moving to the UK is how there are so many different English accents. Not everyone speaks like the Queen, so you might find it challenging to understand some of the lingoes. It might even be worthwhile playing this “Translate the British Slang” game before you make your arrival!
Don’t forget about health insurance
Healthcare in the UK can be considered one of the best systems in the world, so if you are used to paying hundreds of dollars for care, you’ll be in for a treat! The UK is home to the NHS, also known as the National Health Service. In short, it is paid by the government through taxable income and allows free treatment and appointments to UK members. It’s important to note that it does not cover absolutely everything, and some services you will either have to pay for yourself or with private health insurance.
Know your working rights
The next thing you’ll want to brush up on before starting work in the UK is your working rights, as they may be different from your home country. This is for your own safety; however, your employer should go over the details during the orientation process. If you’re looking for a UK job, it’s vital that you learn all the rules and regulations. Employed women are allowed to have one year of maternity leave, and all workers should be entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday leave a year.
And that’s it! Although there may be times when you start to feel a little homesick, just remember that you’ve got this! Whether you’ve become an expat to study, work, or just live your life, the UK certainly is an incredible place to make friends and find yourself. You’ll be enjoying tea and biscuits before you know it! Good luck!