So, you are here. The Big Smoke is yours to conquer. The hard part of moving here is over. It’s time to open champagne. Or is it?
I’d hold on to those glasses for just a little while longer if I were you. There are still many things you need to do. And no, I am not talking about taking a photo of the Big Ben or enjoying a ride on the London Eye. Either you’ve done that stuff on your first visit here, or you will sooner than later.
Plus, it’s not like the clock tower is going anywhere anytime soon. And, while it stands still, you have your own life to manage.
Set up a bank account
The first thing you should do when in London is setting up your bank account. Why?
- The process may take a couple of days
- You’ll need it to set up your payments (council tax, Internet, TV, water, and heating, etc.)
- You’ll need it to be paid in the UK. Your employer can only send out a payment to a UK-based account.
You’ll need a series of documents to open an account in London like your tenancy, recent bills, a credit card statement and the council tax bill. And this is where you’ll stumble upon your first bottleneck. You are new to the UK and you simply don’t have any of these documents.
Worry not, a letter from your employer or school and a proof of residence (you can get it from your landlord or family and friends already living in London. Heck, I’ve seen people getting those from their hostel managers) should do the trick.
Turn on the wonders of civilization
Now that you’ve your income flow settled it’s time to pull out that money gun. Set up your utilities like heating, power, and water. Proceed to set up the TV and the Internet. Then come the apps like Netflix.
- Utilities for two people in an 82m2 flat will be worth £165
- The Internet is £20 per month
- The annual TV license is £150.50
That being said, your flat might not be fully furnished or fully equipped. You may need to invest in a washing machine, a microwave oven or even in the said TV you are paying the fee for.
Pro tip: If you feel like your new flat is lacking the essentials – talk to your landlord. You’ll be able to negotiate a discount or you’ll be able to buy the needed stuff in favor of your rent.
Make yourself at home
A new flat isn’t a new home. Not unless you make it into one. Sure, your agreement with your landlord doesn’t allow for too many redecoration experimentations, but a new set of curtains, a few pieces of art here and there, and the photos of your loved ones on the walls will make the place feel so much cozier.
Invest in the greens while you are at it. You’ll be missing them otherwise. Yes, there are fantastic open spaces and parks scattered all around London but let’s all be reasonable here. The only jungle you’ll be seeing for the lion’s share of your time will be made of glass, iron, and concrete. The odds are that between your job, your chores, a healthy dose of rest, and commuting between the three, you won’t have the time to enjoy the wonders of a lonely leaf gently blown by the wind while falling off a mighty oak.
In London, your houseplants are your park. Make sure you have it at your disposal.
Know your surroundings
It’s easier to get lost in a big city than you may believe. Multiply the stress new streets bring by the fact that we, Londoners, absolutely hate to stop and give directions to others and you’ll get a massive “I don’t know how to get there” whenever you are in a new area.
Sure, on our digital day and age, you have all the maps in the world at your disposal but even they may be powerless at times. I personally know a few people who couldn’t read a map even their life depended on it.
So, just to b safe, make sure to memorize at least those roots that you’ll be using daily in your first week of being in London.
Pull yourself together
I know that starting a new life in an unknown city with a different culture and mentality is hard. But it won’t be easier if you’ll just play the couch potato game all day long.
I’d suggest getting into a routine, Make a schedule for yourself that will include all of your daily activities since waking up and to kicking the sack. Include a hefty dose of working out into your schedule. Your healthy spirit needs a healthy body, you know.
Make new friends!
I can’t stress enough the importance of having someone around in a big city filled with cold people who couldn’t care less.
Luckily, you have the warm, open-hearted nature of other expats at your aid. All you’ll need to do is t get out there into a pub, a new open-air event or to a meeting of a booklover’s club. Whatever it is that you fancy, there are others quite keen on the very same thing.
Don’t be shy, make new friends, meet new people and explore the Smoke together.