Laura and Mickael have been in London for almost 8 months and have decided to share with you a little bit of their experience and early steps. If you plan to settle in London, this is the expats’ interview you don’t wanna miss !
HLT: Why did you choose London ?
Laura : London was more accessible than the USA which would have required a visa to work. It seemed too much trouble and London has the advantage of being close to France.
Mickael: I decided to follow Laura to begin a new adventure and London is not far from Paris. We go back once a month to see our family.
Laura: I wanted to come to improve my English, travel and explore the world. I thought it was now or never, it won’t be when we are 40 years that we could do that. Nothing was keeping us tied in Paris so the timing was ideal.
HLT: WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST STEPS ?
Mickael: Once we had the destination in mind, the first thing we did was buy Eurostar tickets.
Laura: Two friends of mine lived in London and I had planned to live temporarily with one of them but at the last minute, she couldn’t. So i moved in with my other friend who lived in a family. The family was welcoming but I was uncomfortable since everyone was living in a small flat.
On my first week, I found a job in a restaurant near London bridge. A week later, Mickael joined me and one of my neighbours was renting her room for a month so we took it. We had not the financial means as this stage to use an agency or any king of housing assistance to find an accomodation.
HLT: WHAT HAPPENED NEXT ?
Laura: Two days before we had to leave the neigbour’s room, we called House London Trip. We found it very hard to find any accomodation ata reasonable price for a couple. With HLT, we found one accomodation within the day. As for job opportunity, I was asked to do menial tasks in restaurant whereas I was a manager in France because my employers wrongly felt I could not handle service.
Mickael: It took me roughly a month to find a job, I was handing resume door-to-door and found a kitchen porter position but I had no contract or job security and the salary was less than the minimum wage. After a week, I resigned and started applying for jobs online. I found then, a salad restaurant where the working conditions and staff were all matching my expectations. I even have my week-ends off and 20 days paid leave !
HLT: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EXPERIMENT NOW ? WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENT, IF ANYTHING ?
Mickael: I sure would not agree to be Kitchen porter again and I would not take a travelcard on my oyster card in the beginning. The travelcard for the week was not profitable since I was going out to work.
Laura: I wish we could have gone out more in the beginning. We could not enjoy as much as we wanted because we did not always have a stable income but now we plan to make the most of London !
Mickael: We were always out of synch in the beginning. When I had a job, Layra had not and vice versa. Now it’s better, with both our jobs, we want to keep visiting and going out.
HLT: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FUTURE LONDONERS ?
Laura: To come with a sizeable budget for sure. Apply online for job instead of going door-to-door and in the beginning, it’s best not to have too much expectations in terms of job.
Mickael: I would advise them to take the first job they are offered because the longer you wait and are picky, the more you use your savings. And more importantly, not to panic about the brexit ! I would also say not to stay among yourselves if you want to improve your english. In the beginning, I was speaking to Laura in english but it became weird soon enough.
Laura: Bring with you french bottle of wine and cheese in your suitcase. (laugh)
HLT: WHAT ARE YOUR PROJECTS NOW ?
Laura: Now, I think the next project is to start travelling around Europe, visit Spain, Portugal… We now have considerely improved our language skills so it will be easier and not as scary !
For more good deals: House London Trip