move to england

The day I moved to England… and how I did it!

london england red bus

I think with time I learned to appreciate my own achievements more and more, because if you don’t congratulate yourself, who will? :) Therefore this post is a reminder to me of how did it happen that I moved to England 14 years ago! For someone who would like to move to England, or any other country I would give 3 tips: save some money, research the place you going to, research the jobs you can do, if you can get online interviews before you go that is even better. So back to me…

I was student at the University of Gdansk in Poland and decided to take a year off and come to earn a lot of money in London. This was Mr B’s idea, and he did a bit of research about work permit, opening bank account, renting a room and of course how much money I will make as a waitress. I think that was the job most people would go for back then, seemed like an easily enough to get option for a girl (although I actually never got this kind of job).

Before we moved to England we had to save some money, and we weren’t good at that 😛 We decided to sell our new fancy digital camera, which was just paid off, and managed to get 500 pounds for it, these were the only savings that went with us to England. Of course we didn’t know anyone in London so decided to go to smaller town where my sister moved just 3 months before. She got us a room from her friend and it was just a living room actually, which we could use at night only, we got a single mattress and managed to squeeze on it for about 2,5 months! 25 pounds per week only, in a very nice seaside house, so we didn’t complain. Also arriving to new country you are very focused on action and not so much comfort, actually lack of comfort helps you to achieve more quickly!

We spent most of our days going around the neighborhood and handing out our CVs everywhere, to pubs, restaurants and also  visiting recruitment agencies and filling in lots of forms. After 2 days of job hunting we were ready to give up 😛 It’s actually quite funny looking back now, as we all know 2 days is NOTHING! We thought we should go back to Poland, save more money and go to London like we originally planned. Luckily we got a job on the 4th day, then it was the weekend. Our first job was working together for Kenwood factory, assembling mixers… it was very dull and my task took me 8 seconds to do, I had to repeat it for 7 or 8 hours a day, yay… Kenwood paid minimum wage and we looked up to forklift drivers who had something like 7.50 per hour and 15 pounds on Sundays, this was super big money for us, and I remember one of the forklift drivers was quite amused by our reaction. Kenwood got shut down in a month or so but gave us great opportunity to earn some money and get all the necessary paperwork done. Surprisingly most difficult thing to sort was the bank account, and all banks were just fobbing us off, it was very very uncool!

We did some other small factory work and I started to think that I can do better than that and that I want to be more appreciated at work. So I followed my sister’s footsteps and got a job at nursing home! I was in England for 1,5 months only when I got this job and this is where I actually learned to speak English more fluently. I did various courses and became a team leader, although I was always looking for more money and work-happiness. The team was fun, the residents even more fun but my back was not doing great, so I decided it is time for an office job.

But how to get an office job when you don’t have any experience… The easiest route is to get any kind of office job first, for me it was data entry, in the meantime I did some more Excel courses and enrolled on accounting distance learning course at college. This showed to my potential employers that I’m willing to learn and invest in myself. The company I worked for doing data entry found out that I’m studying accounting and got me a job in finance. Since then I worked for 4 more companies, always in finance roles, but each time I changed job I looked for something better, with more responsibilities and opportunities to grow and learn. And now here I am nearly finishing Chartered Accountant qualifications. Of course it is not the end of the story, just like over 10 years ago I feel that again I can do better. Interestingly, I still live in the same small town by the sea and occasionally travel to London, but just for days out and I have never lived there :)

To summarise all this was not easy, but it wasn’t difficult either. If you really want to move to a different country, or just to a different job, everything is doable, just get one leg through the door and then work your way up. You don’t always to have everything planned, be flexible but also have a broad idea where you want to go next.

Good luck!

Alessandra xx

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