London, the capital city of United Kingdom, is an amazing European metropolis with lots of new opportunities. It is rich on history, various art, fashion and nature. Because in this city live lots of people from other cultures you can be sure that you will find here delicious dishes from all over the World. In London everything seems to be possible and that’s true, you can achieve whatever you want if you are hard-working, reliable and ambitious.
My London Work Experience
To come to work and travel to London I had decided in the beginning of June and approximately 3 weeks after I already had a job here but it is always better to look for it earlier as there are lots of other students/people want to get a job here.
But before I hit the road, there were so many things to settle.
- THE PASSPORT – My old passport had expired, therefore I had to make a new one. It usually takes up to one month so don’t forget about it.
- THE ACCOMMODATION – London is really expensive in some ways but when speaking about accommodation it is double true. If you want something cheap you have to look in advance and very carefully. Remember, the cheapest flats/houses/rooms are mostly located far from the centre. It is always better to travel with friends (4+) and rent a whole house, it will be cheaper and far safer. London is divided into 6 tube zones. I lived with my friends in a house in the 4th zone, which was about 30 minutes by train from the centre. The house itself was a typical English terraced house with a small garden. We had just a room for ourselves and had to share a kitchen and bathroom. For this “luxury” we paid 550 pounds per month- and believe me that it is cheap!
- MONEY – When we had the accommodation arranged we had to pack up and change quite lot of money. To start I had about 450 pounds which was enough to pay part of the rent and buy some food until I found a job.
- FLIGHT/BUS TICKET TO LONDON – We had chosen to go by bus even though the flight would be more comfortable. The thing was that when we were looking for the tickets the flights were already very expensive, even with the low cost airlines. Therefore you should book your ticket in advance, at least 2 months before, but the sooner, the better.
First days and looking for a job
Finally we arrived. Our bus from Czech Republic took us to Victoria Station. Excited and little bit confused. So many people were everywhere, noise, the double deckers, insane traffic. But on the other hand it was beautiful to be here. The next day we took a trip to the centre of London, with our CVs in bags. Our dream was to work in a typical English restaurant and to draught the English ales. Therefore we were asking for a job only in restaurants and pubs like these, luckily there was one at each corner.
In most cases someone from the bar staff took my CV and I was said that they would call me. BUT in many restaurants or pubs I was asked to contact them through the internet application. This is becoming more often form nowadays. It may be more comfortable for you but I liked that I could see the environment environment live. I would like to highlight that very important is the place where the business is situated and the main reason for this is the difference between English people and the tourists. Usually an Englishman doesn’t leave any tip. On the other hand, tourist are really generous. So if you want to earn nice money, look for something in the centre or near some monument where will be lots of tourists.
All in all, I went through approximately 40 restaurants and pubs. It took me 3 days, during which I got also the English SIM card, so that the employers could be in touch with me. I also arranged an appointment in the Job centre to get my NIN – National Insurance Number and an appointment in a bank. You have to open an account in one of the English banks, such as Lloyds, Barclays, etc. So that your employer can sent you your pay there- but don’t worry, there are no fees!
After these exhausting 3 days I had already arranged 3 trial Shifts and several interviews, all this just in a one week! Get prepared to come for a trial shift which is not paid and can be quite stressful for you, especially if you don’t have any experience. I was lucky to fall in love with one pub where they offered me a job. It was my 3rd trial shift and I was becoming self confident. When They hired me I was happy like never before. It was really beautiful restaurant, full of history, typical english beer and delicious traditional food. Moreover, it was situated right in the centre, near Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament. All my colleagues were friendly and helpful so i quickly managed all the duties connected with the bar work, even though I had never worked in any restaurant before.
To be honest, working in London was not a bed of roses all the time. I was tired, in stress sometimes, i stumbled on few rude customers, i was bleeding many times when I broke a glass, i was smelling like a beer all the time… But I loved it. I was in the centre of the most beautiful city I have ever visited. I was serving people from all over the World. I had so much fun with my college and customers as well. I improved my english and Spanish and I PROVED MYSELF SOMETHING. Moreover I earned lot of money. So if someone asked me what I liked about it all the most, I wouldn’t be able to answer. If you are considering to spent some time here or to move here, don’t hesitate and do it. You have nothing to lose.
I hope my story helped you at least a little and here are some last useful tips!
- Get yourself an english number and write it in the CV. Employers will contact you there.
- Mention your language skills. In London there are many foreigners and if you speak more than one language it‘s a big advantage.
- Arrange your accommodation in advance – it is too complicated to look for something in London and hotels are too expensive.
- Before going here think of the kind of job you would like to do. Then go for these jobs only, so that you wont suffer in job you don’t like
- When acquiring for a job ask how often you will be paid off- the best is per week
- If you are invited on an interview or trial shift, get prepared for it! Write down questions about the business, the revenue, the Shift, the job role…
- Always SMILE 🙂