Saturday, June 18, 2011

Expat List - Forewarning

This blog hasn't been very expat-y recently, so I'm going to copy the lovely Michelloui over at The American Resident and give you a list of Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved To The UK.  (Thanks, lady - I know you know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.)

1. It will get easier and then it will get harder and then it will get easier again.  The graphic below is nowhere near scientific - after all, I made it myself - but it is indicative of what I've found from my own experiences and those of my friends:

2. The change in routine will wreak havoc on your body.  It's difficult to maintain a decent diet, let alone a decent exercise routine, in a new country.  For example, food groups seems to have shifted slightly here - chips, or fries, seem to be a vegetable in the UK, for one - and the UK certainly differs on the importance of purchasing a gym membership, which costs much more here than it would in the States.

3. There's nothing wrong with relying on the internet to keep in touch with family.  Do rely on Skype, gchat, whatever - there's no shame in calling your mother every day from your laptop just to check in.  (At least, I hope there isn't, as that's exactly what I do!)

4. Don't let all your vacation time be used on trips back home.  I'm struggling with this at the moment, actually - I have a finite amount of vacation that I can take, and I want to use it all to see my family and friends.  At the same time, though, I don't want to spend all of my days off back in DC.  I have managed to arrange the best of all possible situations this summer: one of my BFFs (she's going to hate being labeled that!) is coming to London in August and we're arranging our own Eurotrip.  I think that's ideal, to be honest!

5. Research every change in immigration law every time policy shifts.  Just because it doesn't apply to you at that very moment doesn't mean that it won't affect you down the line, and it's worth keeping in touch with the changes in law so that you're as aware as possible when you need to change your status.

Last but not least: have fun!  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you should absolutely take advantage of it.  Best of luck to all expats out there!


  1. I think I skipped the euphoria and descended immediately into disintegration (what am I DOING here) since I arrived yesterday and it was miserable, raining and cold...

    But, I was a little better today :)

  2. Oh no, Sarah! First of all, though, welcome - but that's no good. We'll have to show you the best of London. Drop me an email if you want to get coffee - it's always good to make new friends in a new place!

  3. Sarah, it's sunny and warm here in Rhode Island, but I'd trade places with you in a heartbeat! You're in London - you're living my dream!

  4. Betsy this is great!

    Sarah, I'm the Betsy...its great to make new friends.

    Here I am inviting myself out with you 2 :)

  5. ps~ I meant "with" not "the"

  6. Definitely agree with 5! I almost wish I had moved over sooner as there seem to be a ton of changes coming!


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