Relocating to London: Expectations vs. Reality

01Oct 2015


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The relocation is finally complete, you are finally done with the moving company and now you can focus on your new life in the grand city of London. You have planned for this for so long, always wanted to get here and just could not wait for the moving van to come fast enough and take you away of the staleness of your old life and to the grandeur of London.


London, where Brits gather to talk about football and drink great beer in friendly pubs.
London, where you can gather with your friends and have the time of your life in the amazing nightclubs visited by numerous celebrities.
London, where people go to achieve success, professionally, romantically, and spiritually.


Moving to London


And a week or a month later you will realise that London is just a city like any other. What makes your life better is not what the city provides, but what you can provide for yourself, using the resources of the city you are in. It is fine and well to have great expectations about London, but if you are only relying on the city to fix all your problems and make your life a straw short of heavenly, then this is what you will get:


Expectation: “I will come to London to work sensible hours and receive a good salary.”
Fair enough, London’s taxes and bills and prices are higher than the standard, so it is only natural to expect that employers pay well to make the 9 to 5 toiling worthwhile, but...


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Reality: ... London doesn’t get to choose the salary, and you don’t pick the employers, they pick you. You will get a job wherever you can, and will settle for anything that can pay your rent and bills. And some jobs may have working hours after which you are free, but the better jobs have work to be done, and they rarely leave you free.


Expectation: “I will spend my nights out, making friends in pubs, and I will spend the weekends with those friends.”
Makes sense, after moving to a new city, you do need time to relax and you do need to meet new people. Making a few friends will definitely improve your social life and will give you a new view of the city


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Reality: Did you read the part where work is never done? After a day of toiling, you will want to close yourself in your flat and forget the rest of the world exists. Your sofa will be your best friend and the TV your only entertainment. The only friends you will make in this schedule are those at work and the best they can offer is tell you how much their days suck as well. And the weekends? Home is haven, a place away from the thousands of thousands of tourists roaming London’s streets, asking for directions or leading loud tours which you can hear from your flat.


Expectation: “I will spend more time at the gym / study harder / achieve more things professionally / fall in love, etc.”
You would think so, yes. London does house six million people and some of them have done this, and some of them are just right for you. With more dedication to your body and work, you will be able to achieve more successes, and with a city as big as London, opportunity might just be waiting around the corner.


Student Moves to London


Reality: Oh, please, you are only fooling yourself. After a day spent at work, doing a job you already hate, you will be too physically tired to even think about touching an iron and mentally exhausted to even reach for your favourite book. And you are not thinking about love, you are thinking about dating, so even if you do find a proper someone who will pay attention to you long enough to ask him or her out, now you will have to sacrifice even the little time you have for yourself and at one point you will have to choose between work and free time to lie on your couch, and work and romance, and either choice will leave you emotionally exhausted, so you will regret not choosing the other whichever one you picked.


Yes, you have your dreams and yes, you should definitely follow them. And yes, London is among the best places in the world to follow dreams. But thinking that just moving house to London will automatically sort your life is folly. You will still have to work to achieve something, be it money for your monthly rent, or your love interest’s attention. You moved to London in search of excitement and to leave the tedium of your hometown behind, but cities don’t solve problems, people do. Dedication, adaptation, diligence – that is what you need to truly thrive, wherever you are.


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