I moved part-time to England last year and have been lucky enough to live and work in a range of cities around the country. I arrived in the UK with no employment lined up, not knowing anyone and not really knowing what to do with myself. Within a few months I not only had a job within education, but I understood the public transport system, discovered my favourite grocery stores and even started to enjoy my time here. How? Well, I am about to share with you the five things you need to know about living and working in a new English city.
The Cities In England Are Vastly Different
I have spent some considerable time living in Leeds, Sheffield and now Reading, and I can honestly say that the culture, public transport, people, social norms and employment opportunities are totally different. When first arriving in Sheffield, I noticed the town was filled with students, therefore there was something fabulous happening most nights of the week. The city is buzzing and full of excitement and the people who live there are friendly, relaxed and always up for chat. I would say this is very similar to Leeds. I experienced nothing but warm and welcoming people who shared very similar culture and values to Australians in the North. Social outings and having a drink were very common, even on the weeknights. I personally believe this is because the food and drinks are outrageously cheap; there is a café/pub in Sheffield that does a great full English for around three pounds that is wonderful when you have had a large evening (https://www.greenroombar.co.uk/).
After moving to Reading I noticed a change in the vibe of the town. It may have been a difference in population, but Reading is dead after 8 pm during the week and the town only really livens up on weekends. In saying this the employment opportunities are overflowing. During my first week there I was offered many roles within education. This was fantastic as I truly was able to work at school and job that suited me. The people are not as friendly and I would even say a little cold, but you will meet a few who will offer you a smile and even say hello. Overall, the North and the South both have their pros and cons. If it is employment you are looking for the south seemed to have more opportunities, but if you are looking for a cheap, good time, the North is where to be!
What To Do When You Are Struggling To Find A Job
When arriving in Sheffield, I found it very hard to find employment within education. I had a great CV, all of the appropriate experience, but there was just little work. While I was on the job hunt I decided to volunteer at a non-for profit organisation that offered homework assistance to primary and secondary students of a low socioeconomic status. This ensured I had no gaps in my CV, I was passionate about what I was doing and I was still able to be always looking for work. This proved very useful and ultimately assisted me in finding a job that I loved. I really advise that you keep your CV full with and relevant even while job-hunting when you move cities. This will be very impressive to employers, will keep you busy and mean you are helping others while volunteering.
You Have Your Job, Now What?
You have found employment! Congratulations. Now lets make some friends. I have to be honest I have really struggled with making friends in England, but there is always one or two people at work with that I can share my life with outside of the job. It was really comforting for me to get to school and have people to talk to. The people within your industry generally work in education because they want to help make a difference, this is a great place to start your conversation.
Take Advantage Of Your Surroundings
Living in the UK you are very fortunate to be so close to so many fabulous international destinations, but also some lovely small towns. On the weekends that you are not marking, planning or writing behaviour management plans go see what England and Europe has to offer. The flights are cheap and the destinations are breathtaking. I spent some time in France and Denmark over the winter and it was magical.
You will learn more about yourself than you realise.
It is hard moving to a new a city and beginning a new job, there is not doubt about that. There will be good days and bad days. Try and enjoy all of the moments. When you miss your bus, or you get stuck in the rain and everything seems to be going wrong I promise you will look back and think ‘oh I have come so far.’ You will become stronger, more resilient and in the end much, much happier. Take the risk and move to that new city, even if you don't have a job lined up there is something to be learnt.