Over the years my work has forced me to live and work in countries other than my own. When I was single that was not much of a problem, however, after I was married and had two children the situation changed somewhat. Moving homes is among the top five most stressful events in a person’s life, so when I moved to the UK recently, I had to keep that in mind. Having now accomplished this transition, and with everyone settled in and happy, I thought it might be useful to pass on some helpful tips in case you or someone you know is making such a move in the near future.
Where to live in the UK
Setting up a home in an unfamiliar city can be challenging for any family, but it might be more so if you just moved there from thousands of miles away. The first and most important task is to find somewhere to live. The larger UK cities such as London have many safe, family-friendly neighbourhoods, as well as some that are a little less desirable. Look for accommodations in a pleasant area, with convenient proximity to local shops and restaurants. The availability of public transportation is also important, especially if you are going to have to commute to your place of work. Finding a house or apartment close to an underground station is helpful for commuting by tube. In addition, ensure that there are health services within a reasonable distance of your home.
Having access to some green open spaces, such as in a local park or square, is a bonus. There are popular locations all over London, including Richmond and Wimbledon in the west, and Hampstead and Highgate in the north. Relatively inexpensive boroughs in the south of the city include Wandsworth and Southwark. If furniture and other goods are to be stored while house hunting, Paddington Storage is convenient for any of these areas.
Schools in the UK
Finding the right school is another important step in successfully relocating to the UK. In the UK three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free education per week for 38 weeks of the year. This early learning opportunity is aimed at helping children adjust to school life. Attendance at these schools is optional, however a child must start school at the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday. Some parents consider international schools when moving to the UK, on the basis they may offer pupils a more diverse perspective.
Making the Move
There is a lot to organize before moving to the UK, and many people draw up a schedule to help them remember everything and to complete the various tasks in the right order. Having a well-established plan is vital, and is certainly less stressful than hoping everything will just fall into place.
Get all your paperwork in order: once a moving date is on the calendar be sure to check that everyone’s passport is valid, preferably for the duration of the family’s stay in the UK, and also check whether any visas or special permits are needed.
Tidy up the goods and chattels: sell or rent property and vehicles, and remember that not all furniture and household goods will be needed in the UK. Having said that, many people who have relocated confirm that it is important to take some personal items to the new home, as popular or precious books and pictures, and the children’s favourite toys, will make all the difference in a new, strange environment. These items can always be put into storage until you’re able to install them in the new accommodation.
Finally, taking some time off work when you first arrive is a very good idea. It will allow you to sort out any problems that arise without having to worry about your job.
It is human nature to be concerned about such a major change as this, but with careful planning the move should be accomplished with relative ease.
Article by Ben Brown