When we arrived, there were signs tacked to all of our doors saying our name as well as where we were from. One of the first things I remember about Aimee was that she found her sign to be very funny. Because she wasn’t sure herself where she was “from”. She had recently spent time in Oregon and Alaska, but her mom was in England.
Fast forward and Aimee moved to England for her final two years of college, and she’s been there ever since!
So after finding each other on Facebook, I had to e-mail her to ask some more details about living among the Brits. Some knowledge I gleaned:
- A lot smaller, dirtier, and more expensive than anyone would expect. (*raises eybrow*)
- Housing in London is quite pricey, and utilities and necessities cost double to triple what they cost in the US. (In my mind, London is the UK equivalent of NYC.)
- You have to have a job to come over for more than three months. In fact, you need to have one lined up on this side of the Atlantic to apply for your residency permit and have your employer fill out work permit paperwork. (Yikes! Interviewing across an ocean sounds bothersome.)
- A work permit kind of assumes the employer cannot find a UK or EU person to fill the position. (Trouble for secretaries like me. *sad trombone*)
- It is possible to work for a US company in the UK. (Hmm, but how does one find those jobs?)
- If you’re physically present in the country, free health care. (Woohoo!)
- If she had it to do all over again, she would have had $10K in the bank as an emergency back up and applied for a job while still in the US. She does cite the expense of living/working in London. (Agreed.)
- However, she likes living there. Hop on a train and be in 10 different countries in less than five hours! Accents are awesome! The countryside is amazing! And the people are more “real world”. (Many of the reasons I’m interested in living there.)
- She misses being able to have a reasonable standard of living on a small amount of money, and having a car. (Living in my current location may have started to prepare me for the former…)
“If you come over with the mindset that you are having an adventure for a year or two, you will have the best time ever and not regret it. If you stay for a while, like I have, it starts to feel like just life, and then you can get a bit wistful for home. I miss my family more than I expected. I wouldn’t still be here, I don’t think, if it wasn’t for [significant other]. I think you will return to America with a much better world view, and genuinely be a more balanced and experienced person.
Oh, Aimee, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your perspective and honesty. It definitely seems like the biggest hurdle would be the job thing. And that could be a deal-breaker. But you’ve definitely built up both my nervousness and my excitement! And if I end up anywhere in Europe, I’ll certainly be popping by for a visit at some point.