Ready, Steady, Come
It is a new world out there where most of what you have learned might become “old” or “unusual”. We should be ready, mentally and physically. It’s not always easy but I guess help is at hand. At Sharehoods, we are developing a product which will help you discover the world you are about to live, before you have actually arrived. I think, we have already started to prepare you for the mental and emotional readiness, but lets talk about some things you should have ready when you make that all important journey and arrive at your new destination. I like pointers so here goes:
1- Visa and accommodation arrangements – This, of course, is the first prerequisite of travelling and deciding to live abroad. If you are from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, there is a 99% chance that you will require a visa of some kind to live in the UK. You could fall in the category of a student, investor, professional or a founder. You should have acquired an ”Entry Clearance” which actually means you are allowed to board a mode of transportation to the UK. An immigration officer will grant you entry when he asks you a few questions at the port of entry. So be prepared for that too. Also make sure you have sorted your accommodation out. That is one of the most expensive and important things in London! Tips on how to find both short and long term accommodation will come soon!
2- Take your medical records including X-rays with you – There are chances that you will be asked for this when you arrive in the UK. You might have to prove that you are healthy and fit and are not carrying anything with you.
3- Take your prescribed medicines and your doctors prescription with you – You might not be able to get the medicine you need in the first couple of weeks, so make sure you take enough.
4- Take just enough clothes and bedding – London is cheap when it comes to getting bargains and buying clothes during the sales. Given the inflation in India and Pakistan, things actually can end up being cheaper in London many times. Travel light and bring as little as possible. You can get everything here.
5- Keep contact details of peers – These are people you or your family might know in London/UK. They always come in handy when you are unsure about anything or need help.
6- Keep the address handy – Know where you are going – hostel accommodation, private flat or a friend’s couch. Exact location is always useful. Use Google maps. You will be asked about this at the airport. Also know which station is the closest to that address. Google can help on this too.
7- Rail/Tube – This is the easiest way to travel from the airport. As soon as you get out of the airport, follow the London Underground signs or directions to Train services. Get an Oyster card (pre paid card) and put some cash on it. This will end up being the cheapest if you touch in and out at every station you use. After this you can get a weekly/monthly travel card, depending on your needs.
8- Carry some Pound Sterling – You might not have access to the local currency when you land so make sure you carry around £50 when you arrive. Money always comes in handy.
9- Bring all your documents with you – University acceptance letter, job approval, visa approval… anything that has helped you to get entry clearance. You will be asked for these on arrival. Be confident when showing these documents and talking to the officer. You have earned your place so be calm.
10-Always carry a pen! – For a million reasons… you will also need this to fill in the landing card (do it in the plane). Long queues at big airports, during busy times, are common so you might also want to carry a bottle of water. This is pretty much it. We will talk about what to do and what to see first in the coming days. Trust me, it’s going to be fun!