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Thursday, May 2, 2013

moving overseas

Today I'm linking up with Postcards from Rachel to write a little about being an ex-pat.  My husband and I initially moved to London in 2011, and even though I spent four years living in Scotland before that (for my undergraduate degree), moving 'on my own' (even if that means with my husband) was pretty different than moving to attend university.  For one thing, I wasn't dropped off by my mother, and for another, we were in charge of finding our own housing and getting our stuff there.  It turns out, we're pretty bad at moving.  Seriously, our move to London was one of the worst days of my life, because everything kept falling apart.  So, if you ever find yourself moving internationally...try not to be as stupid about it as we were.

Some complications arose from the fact that we moved to London via Paris.  Because that's where my parents were living at the time, and my mom's company paid for my ticket there.  Our first difficulty was in trying to find a flat.  We began this process basically as soon as we knew for sure we were moving to London, but the housing market in London is really quick-moving, and there's no point in looking for a flat in May if you don't want to move in until September.  (And, quick tip: if you're moving to the UK to study, and you want to avoid council tax, don't move in until exactly when (or even after) your course starts, because you will be charged council tax even for the 10 days you live somewhere before the 'official' start day of your course.  Silliest £11 I've ever had.) 

I had a few friends living in London, but nobody who could really offer up the space for two people to crash and look for somewhere to live.  If you're ever moving somewhere, and you actually have friends there, you will be so glad you crashed with them (pay them if you have to!  it's worth it!), because if we'd done that, it would have saved us so much headache.   Instead, we decided to find a place online.  I soon discovered there were there main difficulties with this: first, almost no one wanted to rent to someone who wasn't going to view the flat, even if we said we didn't care.  This ruled our so many great places for us.  Second, nobody really wanted to rent to students.  Third, anyone who did accept students probably wanted a rent guarantor.  This means a UK landowner, to back you up on your statement that you can pay the rent.  Failing that, sometimes the landlord (usually estate agents blame the landlord for this) will accept six months of rent up front.  (And let me just say, six months in London is a lot of money.) 

In the end, I found a landlord via a student website who was willing to rent to us.  (These are pretty great resources, if you're moving as a student.)  I'll stop rambling now, but there were further difficulties in transferring money to him (because we didn't have a UK bank account yet) and then getting the money ready upon arrival.  Somehow it worked out and we got to move into our tiny one-room place.  (Meaning it was just one room, complete with a bed and table and sink.  But I did love the area we lived in, so I was didn't mind.)  (Not too much, anyway.) 

I'm using a friend's computer, so I don't have any of my own pictures, but I'll just end with saying that all the hassle was worth it in the end, because our time in London was awesome.  I even love it where we are now, because living by the seaside is my dream. 


  1. We had some of the same issues when we moved abroad! All of the uni students were trying to find places in Aberdeen so we were out of luck for weeks and living in a small hotel room, we didn't have a bank account, etc. Stressful!

    Thank you for linking up. :)

  2. moving overseas or to a new country can be such a night mare! we luckily had an apt provided when we first came but our two apartments after that we had to find and it was such a mess! thanks so much for linking up!