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My Relocation Experience – Relocating from Sicily to London!

Written by: Salvatore Gullotto – Relocation Coordinator, Cornerstone

Are you thinking of relocating to London?

If culture, history, diversity, excitement, and career advancement are what you are looking for, then London might be the place for you!

Whatever your reason for wanting to relocate to London, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed – but this exciting and vibrant city has a unique charm and character that you won’t find elsewhere.

I can still remember the wonder in my eyes when I first visited London as an 18-year-old student. I immediately fell in love with the city, its landmarks, streets, and parks and I promised myself that “One day I will live here”.

Obviously, dreams don’t always come true immediately. It took me 11 years to fulfil that promise, and after 6 years as Londoner, I still have the same wonder in my eyes every time I cross Albert Bridge and see the sun setting behind the city skyline, painting the Thames bright scarlet and orange.

I recall that even though relocating to London was one of my biggest desires, the idea of leaving my family and country was terrifying. Fear led me to believe that it was too late for me now, that I had lost that chance. My anxiety led to questions and doubts creeping in.  ‘How will I do it? I do not speak English, where will I live as soon as I arrive as I know no one there?’ For a long time, I let my doubts and concerns overwhelm me. I believed I would never fulfil my dream of living in London.

The turning point came one day, whilst I was on a business trip in London.  I felt so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t even order a coffee without someone else’s help. Coming out of the café I heard the word HELP, and turning around I saw an elderly lady, looking at me. I approached her and she asked me something that I did not understand, but she took my arm, leaned on me, and started walking toward a small food shop. I felt a bit of shame for not understanding what she said, but when that lady smiled at me thanking me for my help, something changed. All the frustration I felt at my inability to speak English turned into determination. Coming back to Italy, I said farewell to my comfort zone excuses, and I made that ‘One Day’ dream come true.

The first thing I did was book a one-way ticket to London focused on my goal of building a life there.  I gave myself a few months to organise my relocation and resigned from my job.

I started to search for temporary accommodation, which I admit was the hardest part as I didn’t have any help or connections in London. I found my first job within ten days of arriving in the UK and shortly after I enrolled in an ESOL course, and from there, step by step I built my life here.

Did you know that there are over 300 languages spoken in London? The English capital is a figurative melting pot of different cultures. Contrary to what some might say, most Londoners are genuinely friendly, helpful and will chat with you and your bestie when you’re in a café or at the park.

An essential factor to having a healthy life in a city like London is to make new friends. A tip from my personal relocation experience is to take a weekly class in anything you are interested in. Perhaps a spinning class at your local gym or a cooking class, or even being a regular at your neighbourhood café can make a difference. As mentioned before, you will be surprised at how friendly people can be here.

You might often hear complaints about the bad weather in London, but it’s actually milder than you think. It is true that from time to time you may experience two or three seasons on the same day, but that can be overcome by dressing up in layers and keeping a small umbrella in your bag.

London is undoubtedly a global city full of opportunities with something new for everyone to experience. Living in a vibrant city like this can have lots of advantages, but renting a property is not one of those. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it’s very important to be prepared before you relocate here. A clever step ahead of your relocation is to research and calculate the living expenses and salary to draw up an initial budget that is achievable.

From my point of view, relocating to London is a great idea for a number of reasons that far outweigh the cons, and it’s an experience that I recommend anyone try at least once in their lifetime. As we say in Italy, Provare per credere. – ‘Try it to believe it’

Get in touch with our friendly team today to discuss your relocation needs.

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