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Why London is the Perfect City for First-Time Expats

You've done some thinking and concluded that it is about time you moved overseas. Great news. Your life will change irrevocably as a result.

The next item on the agenda is – exactly where should you move to?

Millenium Bridge
Millennium Bridge with the Shard in the background

You have three options. Spin a globe, pack up, and move to wherever your finger lands.

Take a stroll off the beaten track. Or make a more calculated plan to follow in the footsteps of many adventurers before you to a well-established destination, such as England's capital.

Here are some reasons why London is the perfect city for first-time expats.

1. London is a Road that Has Been Walked Down Many Times Before

Although Robert Frost's famous poem The Road Not Taken may implore you to do just as the poet suggests and take the road less traveled, I believe there is some merit in choosing to journey down a well-trodden path – on occasion.

Getting settled into a new country takes time and effort, more than you may initially realize. It's not as simple as buying a plane ticket and packing your bags.

You'll need to find housing, secure a job, open a bank account, organize health insurance… The list goes on and on.

This can be difficult to deal with if you're moving to a country that is fresh on the expat scene (like Colombia, for example).

As so many others have moved to London in the past, endless amounts of information are available on the internet.

You can research how to secure a visa, find an agency to help you with work, and get tips on dealing with British bureaucracy.

Chances are you'll even have an acquaintance within your social circle who will have either lived/been living there or know another person who is.

Having someone you can direct questions to before and on arrival is always good.

Little Green Street
Little Green Street in Kentish Town

2. It's the Very Definition of a Multi-Cultural City

When I'm walking through London, I like to go sans headphones. I'm always amazed by the cacophony of languages and accents I hear as I pass the hoards of people making their way down the busy street.

London is home to an inconceivable number of people hailing from different backgrounds and cultures – thrown together and trying to survive in this bustling metropolis.

The upside? There's always some cultural event, and you can eat from countries worldwide without leaving the city's borders.

There are so many Australians here that I sometimes feel like I never left my country. If I'm ever homesick, I know all I have to do is take the Tube to Clapham, where I'll be surrounded by my kind once more!

3. It's the Center of the Modern World

Living in London truly feels like you've hit the country jackpot. There are not one, not three, but five airports and cheap flights to almost any destination you could think of all year round.

Europe is accessible from a short flight/bus or train ride over the channel, North America lies across the pond, Africa is a few hours away, and you can step foot in the Middle East after a mere seven hours on a plane.

If you've moved overseas intending to travel, this is definitely the city you want to be in.

4. London is Ideal for Tertiary Education

Many come to London to build upon their educational prospects (indeed, it is one of the easiest ways to secure a visa).

England's universities regularly make the top ten lists for educational institutions worldwide, and some of the best are in London – such as City University, Kings College, and UCL.

The world-renowned universities of Cambridge and Oxford are a little over an hour's car drive away from the capital.

5. There is an Abundance of Jobs

The question of work is often an iffy one for many would-be expats. Some are lucky enough to get transferred overseas by their workplaces – others risk quitting their jobs, hoping they'll fall on their feet.

Luckily, London is a place where work of any and every kind is always available. You can have a career break to pull beers, wait tables, or au pair.

However, if you want to continue working in your field, you'll likely pick up where you left off in your home country.

Related: How to Make Friends in a New Country

Two of London's most famous icons

6. There's Always Something Going On in London

While travel is a huge drawcard, one of the joys of living in a place like London is exploring the city.

The city is massive – 8.5 million people live here, a number that is steadily growing. As a result, there is always some festival or event going on.

Markets, rooftop, outdoor cinemas, ice-skating, gigs, international food festivals, morning raves, graffiti courses… You could live your whole life in this city and never run out of things to do.

Ultimately, it's best to go where your heart tells you to go. If it is indeed London calling, I implore you to answer.

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