Moving from India to UK…… Chapter 3: the preparation

‘Making a big life change is a pretty scary, but, know what’s even scarier? Regret’

50 applications, 4 interviews, 1 job offer and 2 months of radio silence.  Absolutely no correspondence with hospital HR and I had begun to wonder if it was all a dream. Finally a second email explained that my paperwork had been started and blamed the delay on holiday season.

(If you interested in reading previous part I will link it below)

Chapter 1: the vision

Chapter2: the application

So it was time for me to actually start preparations to make the move. The thought of moving from one country to another was overwhelming and I realized that until now the application process was actually the easier part. Sometimes it’s the smaller things that make a big difference.

I was 6 months away from the move.

1.Finances:

“With great ambitions, comes greater expenditure”. Trying to quote Spiderman.

I was trying to make it on my own and hence wanted to plan the finances with little possible help. The first step I took was changing my job. Although it was a new place and had to start from scratch, it was double the pay than my previous job. I started saving up 50% of my pay especially for my ‘UK fund’.

Apart from medical sponsorships, licensing fees, tickets and visa fees, I had to save up funds for the first month in UK for rent, food and travel. It is better to research the total expenses required and keep aside 1/3rd of it as extra savings for any emergencies.

If I have to quote a figure to sustain for a month in the UK until the first pay check I had around 1500 pounds stashed up for deposit and 1st month rent, food, basic necessities and travel. I wasn’t planning on shopping or sightseeing till my payday.

  1. Basics (Accommodation/groceries/clothing)

Finding a place to live in a new country without any references, credit scores and documents can be a quite a daunting task. After hours of research and several panic attacks later, fortunately my hospital HR was able to sort it out for me in advance. And being at a 10 minutes walking distance I could save up on travel expenses. Sometimes it is just better to ask your employer to help out!

I had to research on the weather conditions and buy appropriate clothes. The British summers are equivalent to Indian winters. As it was summer in India and hence all the autumn-winter collection was on sale. Checking YouTube videos and reading personal experience stories on travel websites did help a lot. Research is key! I needed to shop for basic work attire (all I ever wore to work were India traditional kurta and leggings), travel outfits, basic formal and casual shoes. Imagine trying to fit a million things from a girl’s closet into a suitcase. I did buy in excess and hence overloaded my bags.

With zero experience in cooking, I had to find out means of sustenance. The cheapest option was to cook at home so again I did check out local grocery prices online (Tesco, Sainsbury, Co-op stores). I was ready to survive on eggs and bread, till my first pay check!

  1. Travel:

The most important task is to get all your travel documents sorted. Needless to say make sure your passport is up to date. That’s your master pass to everything, including travel, opening a bank account, renting a place etc. Your first form of identification document.

Visa: I booked an appointment well in advance and went through the procedure and yet it took 3 weeks to arrive, just 2 days before my scheduled day. The wait was excruciating. Make sure you have everything needed on the checklist ready to go and as per their specifications. It avoids any delay and hassles.

Tickets: I booked my tickets before applying for visa and attached a copy, as I had read several experiences saying it helps the visa process speed up when you have a designated date of travel. Still remember the adrenaline rush I had while booking them. Just a tip; if you are going to be travelling back and forth stick to one airline as you can earn miles and discounts for future travels.

Travel gear: Believe it or not, it is important to pay attention to tiniest details, make sure you bags meet the airline specifications. It’s better to have one cabin size bag for all your valuables including documents. As bags are thrown around at airport luggage holds, get a sturdy one. The last thing you want is your stuff spilling all over.

  1. Connectivity:

Imagine one day of your life without a cell phone. I cannot imagine one hour without it. Lol. My cousin lives in a different city in the UK and hence sent me a sim card. You can always buy at the airport too.

  1. Weather:

The British weather is as fickle as a woman scorned. It changes by the hour. Always helpful to download a weather app, it helps to plan your outfits and travel plans.

  1. Resigning the previous job:

I just took 10 days off between resigning my job in India and travelling to UK. I planned it in a way I could complete 6 months and get an experience letter for the same. Give an advance notice. It prevents any troubles with obtaining references and helps maintain good relationships.

  1. Taxes:

I made sure all my tax paperwork was through and had been filed for that year. Also research about appropriate bank accounts to transfer money from abroad tax free.

  1. Hotels:

Booking.com helps to select from a wide range of accommodation choices according to prices and travel ease and pay on site. Book your hotel in advance to avoid last minute price hikes.

I relived my experience just writing this!

“You get a feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.” – Azar Nafasi

Copyright 2018 Chris Lemos All rights reserved

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