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My First Few Weeks In London

As most people well know, we have many overseas teachers who make the journey to the UK to teach. Lara had found her feet pretty quickly. Read about her experiences so far in her debut blog. 

I arrived in London at 6.35am on the 14th of January ready for an amazing adventure oblivious to the cold weather outside and how many new things I would have to learn.

As I stepped of the tube and walked out of the station I immediately thought to myself; what was I thinking, I’m freezing and I’m in a completely new city with no idea as to how to find the street that my hotel is on! After calming myself down by counting to 10 a couple of times I used google maps and found my hotel and decided to check out the local streets around the hotel. I ended up wandering for a couple of hours and soon realised that to find a street name you actually had to look on the buildings; quite confusing when you come from a small country town where everything is on signs or you just know where it is because you grew up there!

After meeting my friend and making my way back to her place successfully I started to plan my next two days of sightseeing (remembering the few tricks I learnt on my first day here) and getting to know how the tube worked. I thought that was pretty good until I nearly got off on the wrong station (thank god for Google and the very kind citizens of London; I think they noticed I was a tourist by the ‘dumbfound’ look on my face)!

So moving on, I saw the sights of London and thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the culture as it did not take long to figure out which bus or tube I needed to be on to get somewhere (either sink or swim as my wise mother would say!).

I had my induction that week and Protocol Education were very helpful and gave me a few handy tips about what to expect for work and what apps to use to get around the city! They also helped me set up my bank account and fill out all the required forms while reassuring me that this was a good decision!

I would recommend attending the teacher events they host as you get to meet other teachers who are in the same vote as you. I went along to their ice skating in February. I’ve never skated before and I ended up making a group of friends who gave me some tips and before I knew it I was whizzing around the rink (quite easy once you get the hang of it although I’d wear thick socks as the skates can dig into your calf muscles a bit!).

Protocol Education were also very quick with making sure I had work for when I started the following week and have been great at getting me work every day since I have arrived here (get on the guaranteed work agreement when you first sign up)! The consultants are very good at ensuring you get work and place you in quite nice schools/year groups you prefer (once you know where you are staying for the time you are here let the branch know so that you go through the one consultant, as it can get quite confusing otherwise!).

Also there is always someone to talk to, especially if you are like me and get homesick easily. Protocol Education are good at giving you solutions when you think you want to just pack your bags and go home. Trust me, a couple of times that has run through my head but then I think of all the places I can travel within Europe (can’t do that back home as it takes quite a few hours to get to the big smoke!). So far I have been to some wonderful countries and parts of the UK and I would recommend getting a 16-25 railcard if you are in that age bracket as you can get discounts on train trips within Europe.

I would also recommend signing up to where you can get cheap trips to places like Brussels for 20 pound or less (it’s my main source of travel). A very helpful app to get on your phone is citymapper as it can give options and times when travelling to places within the London area.

All in all I’m not regretting my decision one bit as I have made some great new friends and seen more of Europe/UK than I can have imagined I would if I was back home in a full-time job.

I think I’m starting to ramble on now so I’m going to stop. I hope this helps those who are new to London and are questioning their choice of moving away from the comforts of home (especially if it is summer there at the moment). I hope I have given you some tips and laughs and look forward to adding more entries about my experiences.

Want to share your experiences with us in a blog? Contact Megan for more information?

Tags: Lara, Australia, London

Category: Australian Teachers

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