Travelling has always been on the bucket-list for many people; seeing the world, experiencing different cultures and spending a mortgage-sized amount of money. But what about moving for work? An exciting, if over-whelming idea and something that requires more than a spontaneous mind-set: a job requires structure, a plan, a back-up and quite obviously, a place to live.
Moving countries presents its own challenges, but funnily enough, moving within the same country can have just as many obstacles to overcome. This time last year I moved my home and my work 5000 miles across the globe to Beijing; today, I find myself having made another big change, and am just starting to settle into a new routine; this time living and working in London.
The jobs are different, the workload is different, the people are different, and the locations are very different – but I am the same, just ever growing. A move to a city like Beijing should not be taken lightly. It takes a few months to get used to the language barrier, the tens of thousands of bicycles and the big culture shocks. The job? Teaching, like moving to Beijing, is something you cannot do lightly; you do it all or not at all.
Everything was fast paced, everything was changing, there were new colleagues arriving every week and goodbyes to good friends every month. You are surrounded by individuals from all over who are thrown in at the deep end and expected to sink or swim. I’m proud to say, we swam well, and we swam far. Beijing was home.
One year and a new job later brings another move, this time to London. I understand the language, the currency, even the tube system, yet it takes a while to adjust and feel at home. Seriously, this city doesn’t stop.
Starting work in a new city is always exciting. Having a new career and living here in London is more than just a holiday – it’s a lifestyle choice; despite living in the UK all my years prior to China, this city also presented shocks to the system. You’re a tiny fish, in a very big pond.
Moving elsewhere for a career isn’t for everyone; you aren’t just turning the page, you’re starting a whole new chapter. If I had to compare London vs. Beijing, it would be a near impossible task, as both have their pros and cons, but there is one major similarity. Moving for work is never easy, it’s never straightforward – but in my experience it’s definitely worth it.
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This post was first published in January 2020.