MOST ASKED QUESTIONS about living in the UK

I’ve been living as an expat in the UK for the last 8 years, and I’m often asked what that experience is really like. It’s hard to understand what such a big life-change will be like before you actually do it, so let’s answer fellow expats most asked questions about living in the UK!

Do you regret it?

No! It’s been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but also the greatest. England is very much my second home now: I feel at peace here, I met my partner here, I run my business here – it’s worked out. It’s not been easy, but I don’t regret it.

How bad is homesickness?

It varies from person to person but I really struggled with homesickness. I think with the added high-levels of daily anxiety of just trying to find my way in life here on top of homesickness for my family was tough.

It does get better, but it can also get worse, especially around the holidays like Christmas if you aren’t able to spend it with your family, or on the other side of the spectrum, when a family member dies and you aren’t around for it. Life will continue to happen back home, you just aren’t a part of it. And that’s tough.

If you’re struggling, check out this post: 8 Tips To Overcome Homesickness

MOST ASKED QUESTIONS about living in the UK

Hardest thing as a new expat in the UK?

There’s so much that needs to get sorted and organised and applied for early on – and that can be overwhelming. But once you get the most vital things out of the way – like you have a place to live, you have a working mobile phone, you have a job or you have a lot of savings to help you get by while looking for a job… things start to really settle down. Just getting through the initial onslaught of what needs to be done can be overwhelming, but totally possible.

I do have a post about what you should do your first week if you’re in that stage of moving abroad

What visa should I apply for?

Lots of expats reach out asking what visa they should apply for and I can’t answer that. I’d recommend going onto the Gov UK website and looking at their visa and immigration section. The main types of visas are:

Where is the best place to live in the UK?

This is so totally subjective. If you have the money, I would suggest touring around the UK before picking a place to settle down and get a job. Pick a few places, see what they’re like. You never truly know a place until you live and work there – you see it in all seasons – but at least you’ll have a general idea.

If you don’t have the money to travel around the UK, make a list of what you’re looking for and start there.

Want a big city? What about Edinburgh? Manchester? London?

Want a bit smaller and historical? What about Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, York, Cardiff?

Want countryside or smaller town? How about Guildford in Surrey or St. Albans in Hertfordshire?

Want a costal town like Deal or a costal city like Brighton?

Don’t just assume that London is the place to be – it’s great, but there’s a lot more options out there.

I’ve lived in various towns and villages around Kent, it’s a beatiful part of the country. I like being close to London (but not in it) and Iike being close to the sea but not on it. It’s also easy to get to Gatwick airport for holidays and trips home.

Biggest tip for an expat in the UK

Take a breath and go with the flow – you can do this. The best way to experience a new culture and a new way to live is to try! Go with it! If coworkers invite you to the pub after work, say yes! Try local cafes or visit local restaurants like the Brits do! Buy local delicacies to taste test.

It can be really overwhelming at first, but make an effort to experience life a new way, even a little bit each day. If you go with the flow and are open to new experiences, it makes all the difference.

Are you going to stay in the UK or move back home?

I don’t know. I do know a lot of expats who came to the UK for awhile, but ultimately left for home. But I also know a few others who are here for the long haul. Granted, those are the ones with kids – so that definitely plays a part.

The UK isn’t for everyone and I try to be very blunt about that – if you come here and find you hate it, that’s OK! It’s not you! You haven’t failed. You tried! It just didn’t work out. But the UK can be for others. You really won’t know until you try.

I want to move to the UK, but I don’t know if it’s right for me

I’ve got 2 posts that come to mind: the Pros and Cons of living in the UK and 7 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Move To the UK.

But at the end of the day, you won’t know until you try. Yes, it’s a lot of money to get here and lots of paperwork and stress. But if you’re eligible for a visa and you want to, you’re just unsure or nervous or anxious or all-of-the-above, I would say go for it. You never know. And you can always go home.

Was it all worth it?

For me? Yes. I don’t regret this decision and I’m very happy here. That could change at some point, or maybe not – I really can’t see what the future has in store. But the tears over visas, the money spent over immigration costs, the homesickness, the adapting – for me, it was worth it.