I am a member of the Expat Blog website and often get questions about moving here. So I’d thought I’d start to share these questions and my answers as this is precisely the reason I joined the site when I first wanted info about making my move. So here we go:
So I was wondering, how did you get to England? Are you a student or something? When i graduate in about 3 years i want to move there but I don’t know how it willl work.I need to know is it as fab as i think it is? Pros & cons? Well thanks one canadian to another
I originally moved to London in 2008 as a student. I intended on just staying the length of my course (2 years) and then move back to Canada. Almost 3 years later I am still here, have taken a break from school and I am currently working in the social work/care field.
Bad thing is the UK is trying to greatly reduce its immigration. They’ve actually been doing it since I arrived but have taken more aggressive steps towards that goal this past year. The caps placed on each category now are much higher. Don’t despair though, you can still make it here but it may take a bit more flexibility than previously needed.
I’d say the best way to start is to check out the UK Border Agency website and see your options for a visa. The criteria are quite high on a lot of the working visas except for the Youth Mobility Scheme. This is the visa I am currently on. You have to be at least 18 but not older than 31 when applying, Canadian (or a national from one of the other countries that participate in this scheme), and have £1600 cash maintenance funds. This visa is granted for two years.
Now the most important part of your question, it is as fab as you think it is? Well how fab do you think it is? Remember visiting a place and living there are two vastly different things. I didn’t have a largely ingrained idea of what London would be like before moving here. I honestly thought it would be a bigger and more exciting Toronto. That is part of it but of course there is much more. I had never visited before moving here either which helped me stay ignorant to what it would actually be like. SO in these 3 years make a trip across the pond!
Initially I really disliked London but that had more to do with my living situation and feeling horribly homesick (something I stupidly didn’t anticipate). Once I moved and started exploring the city and making friends I ended up loving it and still do. There is so much to do here that yes the famous quote does ring true – that if one grows tired of London they must be tired of life. However, living here will not always involve visiting historic sites and shopping on Oxford street. As obvious as that is to say people don’t balance the good and the not so good enough. I know I didn’t. I also think that how you initially get on in London has a lot to do with how big or small the city is that you come from. I see that you are from Alberta but I have no clue about the size of your town/city. I’m from Mississauga, about a 25 minute drive west of Toronto. Just thinking about the Canadians I know who have or still live here it has mostly been true that those from the smaller cities love it right away. It’s not that those from the big cities dislike it but the general big city qualities are something they are used to.
So now some pros and cons.
Cheap travel – London is a good base to get to everywhere, lots to do – (clubs, pubs, bars, theatre, day trips), transportation – well-connected, weather – is meant to be temperate but as climate changes there has been more snow but of course nothing like a Canadian winter, diverse people
Weather – it does rain a lot and is grey and dreary in the winter, dirty!, people aren’t as open initially though this is mostly a London thing, transportation – interruptions in service, dirty
If you check out my old blog here and the posts from 2009 you will get some more info and my impressions of pros and cons of living here. Good luck with it and feel free to ask more questions.