Living and Working Abroad: The London Life

By Nicole Woll

All throughout my latter years in high school and university, I dreamt of travelling Europe and the UK. I couldn’t wait to throw on my (huge) backpack and create memories on the other side of the world. The idea of not knowing who I would meet, where I would work or where I would live was exhilarating!

A few weeks prior to jumping on the plane, reality set in. I realised I’d be on the other side of the world… where I didn’t know anyone.  I’d just have my backpack and passport. And, without the amazing boy I’d just met.

So what did I do? I booked a 20 day Contiki tour! And I’m glad I did! On the tour I met a girl named Nicole and we hit it off from the start. We quickly became good friends and decided to live together (along with her friend, Mel) once we returned to London.

BAM! Instant flat mates!  Boyfriend arrived. BAM! Instant roomie!

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I was now paying expensive London rent and surviving off a measly wage from a part-time hospitality role, as well as my hard earned Australian dollars (which don’t go far in pricey London). All I needed was a well-paying job and I needed one STAT!

With a couple of casual part-time jobs and an internship up my sleeve, I knew that finding a role in marketing would be tricky. But I didn’t realise just how tricky it would be.

I applied for role after role through agencies with no luck. Admittedly, I wasn’t putting in extra effort… until I stumbled across a role I just couldn’t let go.  I enrolled in some interview techniques workshops, got my friends to read my resume (these services are available through UTS: Careers for free, use them while you’re here at UTS!) and bought a (very expensive) new suit. I got this job, working as a Marketing Assistant for a wetland conservation centre in London.

So, what did I learn about living and working abroad in London?

1. Having people around is important:

Being on the other side of the world in a big city can be overwhelming and lonely. If plan on travelling BEFORE settling into a city, I’d recommend booking into a tour that’ll allow you to meet and befriend like-minded people. There’s a good chance you’ll meet people looking to settle into the same city! If you’re relocating straight away, ask your friends and family if they know anyone who lives your new city. If they do (I can almost guarantee they will!), chat with them online before you go to get some tips and maybe even arrange a meet-up when you arrive.

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2. Having experience here will help you

Find a job related to your industry while you’re at university so that you’ve got experience! This will make you much more attractive to agencies (a lot of temporary role recruitment in London is processed through recruitment agencies) and your chance of finding a job much higher. This will probably also improve your earning power, which is always great while saving to travel Europe.

3. London is expensive

While you’re looking for an industry related role, do some part-time work to bring in the pounds! When I first landed in London, I got a part-time role working at a cute little dress shop on Portobello Rd in Notting Hill. It was Notting Hill dream come true! (All I needed to do was to meet Hugh Grant and I’d be set!) I then worked in a catering business, where I was shipped out to events around London that needed staff. During the month or two that I was in this role, I worked on some pretty cool events at places like Lords Cricket Ground, Harrods and Royal Albert Hall.

Nicole Woll is an Events Consultant at UTS:Careers with a background in marketing and project management. She has been working with students for the past six years, finding out what makes them tick and helping them discover the best career path. Outside the office she is a dog enthusiast, a wave watcher and is always chasing her next travel adventure!

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.


Author: Guest Contributor

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