Don’t let us say we told you so
1) Do as much as you can before you get here – If you’ve already bought one of our ‘Hit The Ground Running’ packages then you’re going to arrive here organised because this is what we do! The more you can do before you leave means the quicker you’ll settle in when you get here. And the sooner you’re settled the sooner you’re out partying and enjoying all the amazing attractions, trips and experiences that this adventure is going to offer. Some of the things you should definitely do or at least start to get done before you get here:
a. Find out how to open a UK bank account (BritBound will do this for you if you have purchased a package – we work with a number of UK banks and will advise you on your options)
b. Transfer your funds over (tip use an online money transfer company)
c. Get a UK Phone Number
d. Arrange your arrival accommodation (and airport transfer)
e. Understand a bit about the job market and the area of work you are looking to get into
2) Build in some events for your first few weeks – there is no doubt that the first few weeks of house hunting and job searching is stress full Whilst it is part and parcel of coming here it can be one of the less enjoyable stages of living and working here. So do yourself a favour – build some trips, tours, attractions into this time too. We have enough events at BritBound that you probably don’t need to look any further but why not pay for these before you get here – see previous point. Or ask for a few things as presents – if you can buy before you fly then you have time to build your budget back up so you’re not eating into it when you purchase these things here.
3) Some things are much cheaper here - so do your research before you dip in to those precious travel funds!!
a. Hold off on dentistry treatment! Crazy though this sounds if you are coming here from Australia and New Zealand or Canada then you are going to be shocked at how affordable Dentistry is here. (Doctors are completely free to those from reciprocating countries). The following has been taken from the NHS website (http://www.nhs.uk - on June 5th 2012)
NHS dental charges - There are three NHS charge bands.
i. * Band 1: £17.50 includes an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish and planning for further treatment.
ii. Band 2: £48 includes all treatment covered by Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).
iii. * Band 3: £209 includes all treatment covered by Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.
b. Put the retail therapy on hold! Clothing for the most part is much cheaper over here – the sheer buying power of the UK consumer market ensures that prices are kept low. Of course there are designer level prices too but on the whole you should find that for the ‘disposable fashion’ end of clothes you get more for your money in terms of quality and quantity. So if you were thinking about going shopping to ‘stock up’ then think again! See our section on Affordable Frockists
4) Do not worry about meeting people – one of the things that can often make us anxious about travelling is the question of ‘how easy will it be to meet people?’ If you’re heading to a major city, especially one like London, it will take time – surprising for a city of 8 million residents that it can be quite hard but it will happen. The good news is here at BritBound we run so many social events your feet won’t even hit the floor – think of us like a fast forward button to the social scene! So many groups of friends we know of have all met through BritBound – not to mention a few engagements and even marriages! This is the reason we do these events to ensure that you’ll never need to worry about meeting people!
5) Understand that settling in will take time – we’re an impatient lot aren’t we? We live in a fast paced society and we want everything to happen overnight. But some things just take time. Now you may be the exception to the rule and take to the UK like a duck to water. But the chances are it will take between 3-6 months to feel truly settled and during that time you are going to experience a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re interested in reading more about the emotional phases you will go through read this...
6) Be Seriously Very Excited – this is the most selfish period of your life and chances are it will be the one and only 2 years of your life where you get to do exactly as you please! Of course you may be feeling a little apprehensive but if you don’t believe us that you’re going to have the time of your life check out what other BritBounder’s have had to say about living and working here! And just think pretty much everyone else (including us) is very jealous of you right now!
7) Do as much as you can but less than you want! – I’ve heard this from lots of BritBounder’s who have come over and say they probably went a bit OTT when they first got here. Easy to do with so much choice on offer – but remember you have at least 2 years so I’d suggest pre-booking some of the festival trips that sell out [Click here to see them]. Booking a trip away every weekend or week for the first few months is great if a) you have the money b) you have the time and c) you have a super hero level of energy. You need to recharge and travelling is both enjoyable and exhausting so spread things out and mix them up!
8) Do things you couldn’t do on a holiday – when I spent my year living and working in Australia my then boyfriend did not want to go to Ayers Rock or Sydney. The reason he said is we can do that anytime. At the time I was far from happy but having now been back to Australia an average of twice a year for the past 5 years I am glad we substituted those trips for more random ones – driving across the Nullabor anyone?! So take a leaf out of his book and when looking at things to do try and opt for those where it is unlikely you’ll get the chance to do again.
9) Have a game plan – so as I have said in numerous sections this opportunity to live and work here is not something everyone gets to do. It is only open to certain countries and to those who meet the visa criteria. So bingo if you’re on your way you’ve won the prize – congratulations! Having a bit of a game plan does not mean you can’t be spontaneous just means you have a bit of structure to what you are going to try and achieve whilst you’re overseas. But if you are truly going to get the most from this incredible period of your life I’d suggest you start to create a ‘bucket’ list of things you want to have seen, done, experienced whilst you’re here. See our suggestions to get you started!
10) Do it YOUR way! Am sure you’ve had this happen already you tell someone you’re heading over and they are like OMG you have to go to Croatia, or Don’t live in Brixton...bla bla...everyone has an opinion. But this is your adventure – whether you’re travelling with friends or not make sure that you do what you want to do because this is your trip. If you both or all want different things then agree to disagree and do what you want. This experience is about you – and no-one is going to chastise you for not wanting to do things that are not part of your plan. Make it your own – remember you’re the lead role in this adventure!
11) If you can afford it try not to stay with mates or relatives when you get here? Okay so this is like asking the impossible right? Why would you give up a free or very cheap room or sofa to pay to stay elsewhere? Yep I get that. But on the other hand we hear so many BritBounder’s say they felt very isolated when they stayed with relatives – often further out of town and away from the action. Those that stayed with mates often say that they feel like they miss out on all the touristy ‘new arrival’ experiences because all their mates have done it. Also say they miss sharing thins like looking for work, find a place to stay etc because their mates have all got jobs, houses sorted. So if you can opt for a hostel or shared house and share the adventure with those who like you have just arrived!
12) When things go wrong don’t wish yourself home – we get at least two calls a day from BritBounder’s asking how to stay longer. Your time here is going to speed by (sadly!)! Things will and do go wrong – sometimes ‘floods of tears’ wrong but this is life no? You need to take the good with the bad, the rough with the smooth and get over it. Or as the famous war posters said – ‘Keep calm and carry on’! When the going gets tough running home is not a solution. In fact just ask anyone who did they will be quick to tell you they deeply regretted it and wish they’d stayed and seen it through. After all whatever doesn’t break you makes you stronger right?
13) Money Up: Don’t arrive without a decent cushion of funds. Flatmates could end up finding you boring – and you’ll probably bore yourself! For the majority of you heading here, it’s a working holiday – so during those first arrival weeks you need to be able to enjoy yourself too. See earlier point!
14) Embrace the seasons - The UK is not renowned for tropical temperatures – but we do get some fantastic weather but if you’re heading here for the sun then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. (And you’ll probably sound a bit of a twat if you say such a thing too!). In a similar vein we all moan about the weather, it’s what we do but there’s no need to go overboard about it – go easy on the whingeing before someone pipes up and asks you why you came over here if you hate the cold!! The seasons all bring something special to the UK changes in fashion, a different array of events and of course a completely different landscape.
15) Pimp up your personality traits! Definitely read this section!