Michael Dunn is an Australian trained primary teacher who left Brisbane life for London town. Here is an honest rendition from Michael on what it’s like teaching 10,262 miles from home.

Living in London

Since you’re moving to London and have been attracted to the city for whatever reason, you’re probably thinking that it’s a great city. Guess what, you’re absolutely right. London is a truly amazing place to live, and it won’t disappoint. But as there are (literally) millions of other people who all feel the same way, finding a place to live can be a challenge.

When deciding where to unpack your bags, transport links are probably the most important factor to consider. They will give you a greater opportunity to travel, get around the city quickly, and allow you to be flexible with the schools you can get to.

Having travelled on most of the London tube services, some are better than others. Picking an area where you can get multiple tube lines can be helpful, although it can cost you a bit as well.

Zones are important. The closer to central London you are (Zone 1), the better you are for transport but also the more expensive it is. I would say limit your parameters from Zone 1 to Zone 3. There is a bit of a trade-off between living expenses and travel times.

Personally, I went west, although there are loads of Aussies living south of the river in Clapham. (Scratch that – there are Aussies living EVERYWHERE in London. Your Aussie twang will fit right in wherever you wind up.) You’ll also find younger crowds in the up-and-coming boroughs or east or north London.

What’s neat about London is that each area is quite unique and offers something different. Smart Teachers has actually compiled their own little Guide to Living in London which may be worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Once you’re on the ground and going to various room viewings, you’ll get a sense of vibe in each borough, and which one suits you.

Helpful links:

Spare Room
Gumtree
Easyroommate
Moveflat

Using public transport in London

In a city as large as London combined with the amount of people using it, transportation can seem overwhelming at first. However, it won’t take long to learn just how efficient public transit here is.

You’ll quickly grow accustomed to navigating London’s labyrinth of tube lines, rail links, and double decker buses, and in time you will accept the fact that issues will arise and they are sometimes simply out of your control, so you’ve gotta go with the flow. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to give yourself a few spare moments, especially if you’re going to somewhere new.

Mind the gap

Before you start minding those gaps, I strongly suggest downloading Citymapper on your smartphone. Not only will it provide you with a variety of efficient routes, including transportation times and updated delays, it will also provide you with the cost of your journey.

You may think it’s better to appear independent, but it honestly is better to communicate with your Smart consultant if you’re in need of directions.

They will not only navigate your route, but they can also save you a bit of time by calling the school on your behalf to let them know if you’re going to be late. It’s better for them to know you’re on your way than wondering whether or not you’re actually going to be there.

London transport website: https://tfl.gov.uk/

Stay tuned for the final part of Michael’s series, where he will bare all and talk about the best way to work with your recruitment consultant. 

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