London is the town for me
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Today, exactly four years ago I moved to London, full of new energy and ideas of how life would be in one of the most exciting cities in the world. I can honestly say that I love living and working in London and it has so much on offer that I will never get bored. However it has not always been an easy ride; arriving in a city where the financial crisis just started to kick in and still hasn’t fully recovered from was tough. In this blog post I would like to share a few things I did the first few months after my arrival and how I made London my new home town.
Get to know the city
As a start I cycled through most of Central London and some of the outer boroughs. This gave me a unique opportunity to get a feeling about the size of London and how to orientate myself. If cycling is not your cup of tea you can walk or alternatively take the bus. Try to avoid the underground at the beginning; it only confuses you regarding distance and orientation.
Enjoy the city
Visit the free museums it has on offer, try some local pubs, explore the local markets and enjoy some nice city walks. You will soon fall in love with London and don’t forget: ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life for there is in London all that life can afford’. A real true saying from Samuel Johnson since there is always something new and exciting happening .
Meet new people
As you can read in some of my previous blog posts like ‘Non-stop networking nous’ ,‘Networking nous II’ and ‘Predeparture social networking for expats’there are plenty of opportunities to meet with local and international people. You can go out for a drink, join a Meetup group with a mutual interest , join a course or join a sports team. Making new friends doesn’t happen overnight but getting out there and meet new, interesting people is a good start and can be fun.
To find out how I could meet the right people for my business I signed up with a few business networks. Through a general female business network I learned a lot about senior business women, their etiquettes and work ethics. Another network – specialising in female entrepreneurs- has taught me a lot about business in general and how to be successful in a crowded market.
People from your home country
It is nice to mix with different nationalities in London- that is what partly makes it such a great city. However sometimes it is nice to speak your own language and to hang out with ‘your own people’. Check with your Embassy where you can find the local social networks.
Manage your career expectations
After stopping my coaching business in the Netherlands I had to start from scratch in London. It is not always easy stepping down the career ladder but it has taught me a lot. I can show I have worked in an English company and in my current position as a business owner a proven important experience because I understand the UK job market better.
You will get that feeling now and again and think that everyone and everything is much nicer, easier and better in your home country. Unfortunately that is an illusion; life in general comes with ups and downs but thanks to Skype and Facetime I can talk live to family and friends and the local ‘home’ products I can order online and quite often even find in London which makes things easier.
Things don’t happen overnight. It takes time to settle in, to make new friends, to find the perfect job. I try to see my move abroad as a never ending journey with all the high and lows included and reaching each time new exciting destinations within the same city.