Facing Your Fears and Taking a Leap!

Jessica shares how she faced her fears and took the leap to start a new life and adventure in the UK.

In Toronto, I saw sameness… The status quo. In the UK, I saw excitement, growth, the opportunity to explore a new a place, a new relationship, and so much more. I embraced the fear and decided wholeheartedly , that I would move to the UK in May 2019, and that is exactly what I did.

Let’s start at the beginning: Where are you originally from? When did you move abroad and where did you move abroad to?

I am originally from Toronto, and moved abroad for the first time a year and half ago to the UK.

How were you able to migrate? (Job, Visa, Spouse, Family or another channel?)

I came over on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa.

Why did you decide to move and did you know anyone there?

For my 20th Birthday, I took a trip to London to visit my cousin who had moved from Toronto to the UK the year prior. I was so in awe of how much she had grown as individual, and the life that she had made for herself in this amazing city that I told myself once I finished University I too would move to London. Well I finished university, and the prospect of moving across the pond was a bit scary, and I figured it would be a little less scary after gaining some work experience. Well year after year, the fears did not subside, they actually intensified.

On my 28th Birthday I told myself that if I didn’t buy a property by the end of the year I would move to London, especially since that door was starting to close as I inched closer to my 30th birthday. By the end of that year I was no where close to buying a house, and starting to realize that I would need to start getting my act together for this move. So instead, I decided to go on vacation with one of my girls to Thailand and ended up meeting a boy from London… wasn’t expecting that were you? Well neither was I lol. Well you think that would be enough, nope! Fears, doubts, what-if scenarios were on shuffle and repeat in my head, until one of my dearest, and bravest friends came home from Australia for Christmas. She had plans to move the UK the following year and had been encouraging me do the same on our quarterly catch-ups for over a year. A day or two after new years 2019, she summoned me to her house, pulled out a piece of paper and drew a line down the middle. One side she wrote Toronto, and on the other side she wrote UK. She then told me list all the things I thought I’d being doing in either places over the next 6 months, and just like that the doubts vanished.

In Toronto, I saw sameness… The status quo. In the UK, I saw excitement, growth, the opportunity to explore a new a place, a new relationship, and so much more. I embraced the fear and decided wholeheartedly , that I would move to the UK in May 2019, and that is exactly what I did.

How did you find the job searching process? Was there anything about working overseas that surprised you?

So as I mentioned, I decided in January that I would move to the UK in May 2019. I figured I would start applying while in Toronto, but more than likely would have to come to the UK unemployed and hustle to get a job. Well, as life would have it, a colleague of mine in the UK reached out to me to ask if I was still interested in moving as my current employer had an opening, and to make a long story short, I took it!

How was the experience finding a new home?

I started looking prior to moving over, so I knew which website to look on for rental properties, Rightmove and Zoopla. What I found out quite quickly was that nobody was calling me back because I still had my Toronto phone number. So definitely get a UK SIM asap. In terms of finding a place, I can’t say it was terribly difficult for me because I decided to live close to my Job, which was outside of London. So it being a smaller city, and wanting to be close to work, I was working within a pretty small radius. What you will find is that Estate Agents here are shady af, and you need to have your wits about you. I found out later on that 3 days after my move in date, they changed the laws that estate agents could not charge admin fees. Not knowing that cost me £400+.

How is the social scene? What was your experience making friends?

I feel like the first year I was just trying to get myself settled. I travel a bit for work, which made making new friends a bit difficult, plus I was exploring a new relationship so I can’t say it was my initial focus. Through the friend that moved over a month after me, I met two other incredible women who became apart of my tribe.

Did you date overseas? If so, what was that experience like? Any memorable stories you can share?

Part of the move was to explore a new relationship, and it has been wonderful and totally worth it!

Do you feel your race impacted your experience? If so, how?

Not for me personally.

What has been the most challenging thing about moving abroad?

Not having an established professional network to tap into. I eventually would like to change jobs and London is such competitive job market that “who you know” is important.

What has been the most rewarding?

Getting to really get to know myself away from everything and everyone I know.

Tips & Advice for the Her Expatise Community

What in your experience would you say is the minimum monthly cost of living? Please include the currency symbol. 

£1700/monthly

Any advice on the visa/migrating process that could help someone else’s process go smoother? 

If you are moving to the UK, set up a Monzo bank account. Trying to get a standard bank account is unnecessarily difficult and incredibly stressful!

Any insider tips on a place you enjoy going to or an activity you enjoy doing? 

Get outside of London if you can. The UK is a beautiful place.

Finally, If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before you got on that plane to move abroad, what would it be? 

Don’t be afraid to continue to jump and take risks. This is just the beginning!

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