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In the process of planning a move to the UK

Hi all,

We have decided in our late 20s/early 30s that we want to work overseas. As we are both New Zealand citizens (and my husband has right of abode in the UK) we are planning to move to England next year. We are aiming for London or somewhere in the south of England.

I think the hardest thing will be leaving our dog (he will live with my in-laws) but I am excited to live overseas. DH has lived in England on and off his whole life however I have only ever travelled around this side of the world (mainly Asia) so I am excited to be on the doorstep of Europe!

So those of you that have made the move overseas - what did you find harder than expected? What did you find easier?

TIA :)

BFP 16 June 2012 | M/C 28 June 2012 at 7 weeks | D+C 3 July 2012 Joined WW in order to get healthy 18 Sept 2012

Re: In the process of planning a move to the UK

  • We brought our dog and cat with us to the UK, quarantine and all.

    I think that moving from NZ to the UK won't be all that rough, there are loads of Kiwis here, language and visas aren't a concern for you and your husband has lived here previously.

    I find that in London it's difficult to choose a place to live - there are great areas and bad areas and most are divided by only a single street or block.

    Very cool that you two are doing this together in your 20's. My husband and I are Canadians living in London with our kiddos. Our expat life started in my really early 20's when on a whim I moved to China and he followed (with minimal prodding!). We haven't looked back since!


    Chronically hilarious - you'll split your stitches!
    I wrote a book! Bucket list CHECK!
  • I'm an American who moved to London in my mid-30s and I LOVE it.  I met and married my DH here and have been for 8 years.  I'm totally a city girl and find it's the best city I've lived in so far (out of Boston & DC in the States).  I too left behind my dog as I knew she couldn't handle the quarantine (not in place now which is fabulous).  That was tough.

    What was hardest? Adjusting to some new things - systems such as banking and real estate for instance.  Not having friends and not knowing how to make them over here at first.  I would say that I met some awesome expats (Tofu is one) through this board (though many of us are now on:

    and I play hockey where I have a bunch of friends too.

    What was awesome was the new experience, the city & having tons to do, and the international community.  I have a fab job, great hubby, a dog (rescue).  We're overdue a gtg (get together) in let us know when you arrive!

  • I moved to the UK in my mid-20s and getting citizenship next week.

    I also left my dog behind, but the current laws do not require the quarentine if you do rabies testing and such.  You can look up the new regulations on the UKBA (UK Border Agency) website.

    The hardest part for me has been the weather and the dark winters. I did not like London, for I am not a city girl and I was living in SE1 and WC1.  I currently live in Cheltenham about 2 hours west of London (on the train) and right between Bristol and Birmingham.  It's in the Cotswolds, so it's very beautiful and there are lots of other ex-pats here!

    And lucky you, as a citizen of a commonwealth country and resident in the UK, you will be allowed to vote in all elections.

    BFP: 12/7/12 Expected: 8/15/13

    Estimated Due Date: 12 August 2013

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I lived in the UK and moved to the US to be with my husband.

    In the UK, biggest problem is costs. It's getting expensive there. Petrol is expensive, groceries are expensive.

    Pros are, healthcare is free. Con is that because it's free and everyone wants to use it, its quality has been getting depleted.

    So advice: be stringent on saving up for retirement. If you run out of money and can't afford a good carehome, you go to the mercy of the NHS hospitals and the's not a good position. Another tip, network. It's hard to be alone in England.

    Another tip: southeast England is where I came from. It's expensive as heck, but it was far more beautiful than London. London is smelly and cramped. I lived in Luton for a bit which is 20 minutes by train from London and it smelled just as bad.

    Another tip: the weather is sometimes bad, you just have to learn to make a cosy environment for those times, i.e. fireplace, crumpets and toasting fork and jar of jam = cosy.

    Another tip: don't be afraid to try british cuisine. It's considered strange to others but it is good such as toad in the hole, suet pudding, rock cakes, eve's pudding, yorkshire puddings, bakewell tart etc.

  • Please note that different people have different reactions to London - I don't see it as smelly and cramped at's a matter of where you live and where you came from.  Some of us love living in London - there is so much you can do, it actually has tons of green space compared to many other cities, and it's very multicultural.  But do note that some of us don't love living in London - it's not for everyone.  England has its issues and its positives like everwhere else - so if you decide to move, come with an open mind and eyes - don't judge it based on your past and expect it to be different.  And good luck!

  • My husband and I moved to the UK from the US about a year ago.  We live in the far southwest of England, so I do not know much about London, but I think some of the hardest things for us to get used to were the general cultural differences.  Simple things like knowing when to leave a tip, learning some of the slang, figuring out the train system, etc.  Also, getting used to the weather was a bit difficult- it isn't QUITE as bad as some people make it seem, but I can't deny that it does rain A LOT!  

    Nevertheless, it has been fun, and it's incredible to live this close to so many interesting places- everywhere in Europe is just a quick (and usually cheap) flight away!  Also, the UK itself has a ton of great places to visit, so I would suggest exploring as much as you can- it's pretty easy to get to most places by train/bus.  

    A few things to watch out for- when we shipped all of our personal belongings over here, we got hit with a TON of customs taxes that we hadn't planned for... I would take a good look at the HMRC customs page on what items will and will not be taxed (e.g. "new" belongings- owned less than 6 months- will be automatically taxed something like 20% of their value!!).    

     Good luck with the move- it is a great experience! 



  • Ktbug - you poor person - you moved over during the year of the rain.  Seriously - I've lived here for 8-1/2 years and this is the worst year for rain EVER.  It doesn't normally rain this much.  Dark in the winter, check.  Cold and overcast, check.  But honestly, it's never rained like this year's crazy!

    And when you ship things, make sure that you put that you've previously owned things...I put it on all my boxes I shipped.  (and tell people who are sending you stuff to put previously owned item on it too - not taxed).


  • I lived in England for awhile after my husband (an Englishman) and I got married a couple of years ago and I had a difficult time.  I know this sounds silly but I reeeeeally missed the sunshine.  I'm from South Carolina where it doesn't rain often.  I didn't think it would be an issue since I had visited his home several times and loved it... but after being there everyday... it gets depressing.  Hopefully you have a better experience than I did. The people are super friendly and I do miss having a chinese or indian take away on every corner. haha.
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