London has a massive population of over 9 million people. It’s also got a highly mobile population – with a huge influx of individuals coming here to work and settle. In fact, a vast number of Londoners are expats. Surely, therefore, moving here and settling in should be easy. The reality is that moving to the capital can actually not only make it harder to settle, but being surrounded by others can exacerbate any feelings of loneliness you have.
However, London can be an incredible city in which to live and work. You just need some pointers on how to make it work for you. Knowing how to make connections and how to make London feel like home will soon have you feeling that this is the place you’re meant to be.
Choose your accommodation wisely
London is enormous. In fact, it is around 35 miles across, depending on where you calculate from. It’d take you a whole working day to walk from one side to the other. This means that there are pockets of culture and community within the whole. Therefore, you want to choose to live near to where you will work and/or socialise.
If you’re being sent to London for work, you may also be put in a hotel, often not immediately close to your workplace. You may do better to choose a serviced apartment which will still give you the benefits of a hotel, with the feeling of ‘home’, thanks to the additional living space, helping you to settle faster. Having more than a bed and a suitcase will really help.
Work is an important consideration. If you are new to the capital, then it will likely be through work that you make your first connections. Therefore, it can be most sensible to choose accommodation close to work, even if this is a temporary accommodation until you really find your feet.
Londoners aren’t a single beast
While London is intensely cosmopolitan and full of a diverse range of people, Londoners are famed the world over for putting their ‘eyes down’ and keeping themselves to themselves. The unwritten social rule is that you don’t speak to people, for example on public transport. Everyone minds their own business.
The problem with this as an incomer is that it is hard to make connections. Indeed, if you try to spark up a chat on the Tube, you’ll likely have people thinking you’re up to something. However, this doesn’t mean Londoners aren’t friendly; you just need to meet them in the right setting.
Start a hobby
Once such ‘right’ setting is within a hobby. The benefit of such a highly populated city is that there are plenty of other like-minded individuals and a hobby can help you find them. Undertake a Google search for your local hobby, and you’ll likely strike gold. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in – from crochet to line dancing – there will be a group you can join.
Be a volunteer
Another way to get settled and get to know your immediate community is to volunteer. Team London is a way for Londoners to help out in their community in the ways they can. Through this you’ll meet other locals, as well as feel good for giving something back to your new area.
Let sport be your guide
Exercise will help you feel better anyway, but sport can be another great way of meeting others and feeling more settled in the area. Amateur sports teams are prolific in London. Whatever sport you’d like to try, or believe you’re good at, you can do it with others here.
If your sport is unique to your home country, don’t panic. London has a huge expat community and thus lots of expat sports options too.
Take a class
If you’d like to improve your English then take an English course and the by-product is that you’ll meet new people. However, courses aren’t limited to this alone. Learn something new by signing up for a class which fits around your timetable. Perhaps learn to paint, or dance or do pottery. The choice is endless. You won’t just learn a new skill but find connections too.
The digital age has made things easier because there are social groups which you can easily access online. CitySocializer is one such way of going along to events with other people looking to build their network in London. London Meetup is also a great place for meeting others doing things you’d enjoy with a huge choice of meetup groups.
Use social media
Social media may make you feel homesick while you’re getting settled, but it can also be a way of finding others in London. Facebook groups are a great example of how to find others. If you’d rather meet people one-on-one or in smaller groups then try Bumble BFF – it’s like online dating but all about meeting friends, not lovers.
At London Serviced Apartments we are keen to help you settle into London life quickly. If possible, choose a serviced apartment with a concierge who will prove an invaluable source of information for helping you get out and about.