There are umpty-million pages out there with resources and experts to help Kiwis and other flavours of non-Londoners when making the whatever-sized jump to the inner enclaves of the M25.
I am not one of those experts.
However, I am a Kiwi in London, right at the minute, and in the however-many months I’ve been here so far, I’ve been unemployed twice and had three jobs, been homeless twice, and had three flats. An odd pattern perhaps, but I’m gonna go ahead and take that as a 2:1 success:failure rate, and you just try and stop me.
I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and have also broken my nails trying to claw information out of various sources, sometimes with results, sometimes with terror-inducing silence.
Although my regularly scheduled programming is a mixture of diatribe, observation, and plain old whinging, I do try to put my experiences to other people’s good use if I can. Mostly I think this is just in saying, not everything is awesome, but it’s still awesome, so stick it out buddy, coz you’re awesome. But I think perhaps I can be a bit practically helpful as well perhaps. Perhaps.
So, with that having been said (which is up there with my top useless office phrases), below are some handy hints, tips and tricks, life lessons, and, lesbihonest, some links. Browsers love links.
Please do get amongst it and give me some suggestions in the comments and I’ll keep the list rolling with updates. And if you do use any, let me know if they’re helpful or if they’ve gone bung. And if you sign up with an agency, tell them I sent you – maybe I’ll get rewards!
My Advice Posts
Occasionally I post something that is more ‘how to’ than ‘have ya ever noticed?’ and they will end up linked here:
- Being unemployed, finding a job, and dealing with Recruiters in London
- Background checks for working with kids in the UK
Communities (online and in – gasp – real life)
Kiwis in London
Seriously on to it community of Kiwis who really help each other out. Post here for rooms/jobs needed/vacant, tips on Visas and all manner of other legal issues, NZ-oriented events like the Waitangi Day Pub Crawl, and general advice. The party-hard moderator makes a real effort to get your query out there to the group, and will support a good cause, including this blog!
Kea New Zealand
Communities of Kiwis around the globe, with job boards, events, news, and newsletters. I have just joined their network of over 85,000 ex-pats so will update this when I see how it goes!
This community comes at a premium – £25 a year for a Kiwi in the UK – and is therefore not fully accessible if you’re povo like me and just struggling to keep up with London’s astronomical rental prices. But, they still have information, events, links, and news for non-members and a pretty good links page with Kiwi stuff about town, including Kiwi coffee mmm.
You get around don’t you?
TFL – Transport for London
You literally can’t get around without this. Ideally, I’d recommend any of the variety of Tube Apps if you’ve got a smart phone, but even if you don’t, the full site will give you crucial info on the best way to get to your job interview, the least changes to your new flat, and whether the light dusting of snow has shut down the entire line (pro-tip: most likely).
Get a job you lazy bastard!
I have a lot of personal contacts in the recruiting world in London now, since I just whored myself out to anyone who would look at my CV. If you’d like the email address of an actual person instead of just a website, I’m sure I can help (just email from the Contact Page)
FYI: There are Kiwis in prime positions in most of the above (as there should be in any good business!). If you need the direct info, contact me (I’ll help a brotha or sista out) or ask on the Kiwis in London Facebook Page.
- Total Jobs (I got a few interviews out of this, but no actual success, as a lot of the roles are permanent, which doesn’t suit two-year Visas. But it’s still worth a try, even if just to see what the market rate for your job is. And, most importantly, UPLOAD YOUR CV – I got a call from an agency who found me this way and got a job out of it!)
Get some culture in ya!
- We Got Tickets (sign up for the newsletter – it might be full of stuff you can’t afford some weeks, but it also lets you know what’s on, and you might be able to find cheap options elsewhwere)
- SRO Audiences (this is where you get onto the name-brand shows, like Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross, etc ad nauseam. FYI, they ALWAYS over book tickets, but have a priority system so that if you’re offered tickets, turn up, and don’t get in, you’ve got priority for the next thing you go to, and will ALMOST certainly get in. If you have friends to line up with and an alternative plan just in case, this can be a good way to see things you really care about)
- Theatre: One of my pals, LD, the theatre-geek extraodinarie, spends many a weekend day camped out outside the BFI or other in search of £10 or so tickets to usually-more-expensive shows. While this may sound scammy, most theatres keep ‘day seats’ aside for such aficionados and they’re not only cheap, they’re often among the best seats in the house. To make up for getting up at 6am and waiting in the snow for two hours, of course.
- Various: Groupon is great for the usual cheapies like Haircuts, coffees, meals out, etc. that you can get in any Groupon city. But it also sometimes has great deals on tourist attractions, like walking tours, the Eye, Ice Skating at Christmas. Beware though – it might be worth using it for ideas, but check the ratings on Tripadvisor and see if there’s a better/similar competitor with the same/cheaper prices.
Please, for the love of London, help me fill this out some people!