Big Ben, Harrods, Buckingham Palace – these are some of the many places you want to see when in United Kingdom or UK. Everything looks sophisticated and who knows, you might be able to see a real-life prince. More than the attractive destinations, UK is a haven for many Filipinos. Job opportunities are endless, especially for caregivers and health professionals.
If you’re thinking of working in the biggest island in Europe, then this one is for you.
Facts about United Kingdom
United Kingdom is a union of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. English (with distinct accent) is the major language, but you will hear people speak in Welsh and the Scottish form of Gaelic in certain areas.
Tip: Make sure you familiarize yourself with British terms. “Cupboard” means cabinet, “lift” is for elevators, and they use “pub” instead of club.
Its form of government is Parliamentary (House of Commons and House of Lords) with constitutional monarch headed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Don’t worry too much about “locals” because UK, especially in London is a melting pot for people of all races. You will definitely have co-workers from different countries, so diversity will not be an issue.
The weather in UK is dictated by southwest winds off the North Atlantic. Rain is also evenly divided throughout the year, so make sure you always bring umbrella or raincoat even if it’s sunny because you’ll never know when it might rain.
Be careful during summer because unlike in the Philippines, summer in UK means temperature above 10 degrees Celsius.
Cost of Living
Since the financial crisis in 2008, living in London can be too much for one’s pocket.
One of the most important things you need to budget is accommodation, which will take a big chunk of your salary. It is best to look for fellow Filipinos to share the rental fees with so you can trim accommodation expenses to £300 to £400 per month. Consider living in urban areas since rural areas tend to be more expensive.
You also have to worry about council taxes, which vary depending on where you live. The council taxes in London can be £150 per month but if you live somewhere in North, the taxes to be paid is around £70 a month.
In terms of food, UK is among the countries in Europe with the highest prices. You can opt for fast food but if you love your health, you would want to consider going to supermarkets and cook your own food. You’ll be able to save more. Oh, and British people prefer tea over coffee, so make sure you have a stash before you leave the Philippines.
You can find all sorts of transportation in UK, so going from point A to point B won’t be a hassle for you. Make sure you get a Travelcard since you can use it access the tube (subway), train, bus, and other modes of public transport. Depending on your location, you can spend approximately £80 per week for transportation expenses.
Ask your employer for transport services since some companies, especially hospitals, provide rail cards to assist in transport costs.
There is so much to see in UK, so take some time to explore them while you’re there. Get acquainted with their history by visiting museums. Unfortunately, entertainment is considered as a luxury because of the ticket prices, but it won’t hurt if you experienced watching a theater show at least once in your life, right?
The good news is there is a solid Filipino community in UK, so make sure you make friends with them. It feels good to have a piece of home in a foreign place and the Filipino community can help you battle homesickness every time you feel like giving up.