21 Sep Survival guide for Aussies in London
Moving halfway around the world can be daunting at the best of times, but it’s twice as hard when you don’t have familiar home comforts to fall back on. Hopefully the following short guide can act as a cheat sheet for the homesick Aussie, and will encourage you to stick it out as we head into the grim winter months!
Depending on how long you’ve been in the UK, you may already be on board with consuming an obscene number of cups of tea on any given day. Back home, you would probably turn to a Tim Tam as an ideal accompaniment (which are, in my opinion, massively overrated – but that’s by the by…). Sadly, you won’t find a Tim Tam down the local corner shop, but you can console yourself with a Penguin. All the joy of a Tim Tam, but bigger, with proper chocolate and a joke hidden in the wrapping – what’s not to like?!
Pub grub is a big deal in the UK, but you won’t find a chicken schnitzel on many menus; however, not to fear, when it comes to food that is deep-fried and a uniform orange in colour, we have you covered. Treat yourself to a portion of breaded scampi and chips (a pub staple that doesn’t seem to be a ‘thing’ in Australia) – you won’t be disappointed. It’s a far superior version of prawn cutlets, and you get tartare sauce instead of aioli – another big win in my book! Just don’t ask for “hot chips” (unless you want to be offered wet water to wash them down). I can only imagine what reaction you would get if asking for chicken salt…
When it comes to “hot chips”, we are similarly blessed with some sweet combos that will more than compensate for the lack of a widely available poultry-based condiment. If you haven’t added curry sauce (specifically the tan coloured stuff that is only available in fish & chip shops), or mushy peas to your chips, you’re not doing the UK right.
A slightly less tasty Hot Chip
We get it, the coffee over here is rubbish. Luckily, the hipster revolution in the last five years has brought more than sourdough, little beanie hats, and avocado to our shores – crucially we have inherited loads of excellent coffee shops. While you can now secure a passable flat white in most places with an espresso machine, I would personally recommend Ozone, near Old Street Station if in London.
If you’re out in the pub, you also won’t be short of beer choices. Save yourself from another potential faux pas, however, by ordering a pint. A request for a schooner will provoke at best a puzzled look, at worst it will lock you into a two hour conversation with the previously dozing regular slumped on the bar who spent some time in the merchant navy, and is keen to reminisce about his time as first assistant to the second mate on a schooner back in the 60’s. Probably.
Don’t be that guy
It may well be September and (nearly) officially Autumn, but you can guarantee that any short break in the clouds will see everyone and his mate heading to the local park or driving to the beach for a bit of sunbathing (NB – never sunbaking). What you need to remember is that you have now effectively moved North of the Wall (© Game of Thrones), so summertime must be embraced, as Winter is Coming.
The only thing we like more than a bit of sun is talking about it, so prepare yourself for several mundane discussions about what the weather is doing today, what it might do tomorrow, as well as my personal favourite, the comparison to a noted hot place to make us feel smug:
Arguably the hardest part of moving internationally for work is having to rebuild your office social status from scratch. It’s impossible to put a value on your internal network built after a few years of long nights closing deals and commiserating in the pub afterwards. If you’re worried about feeling like a fish out of water in your new shop, have a browse of Roll on Friday before you join. It is an invaluable stopgap of useful/useless inside information on law firms, none of which will be on their official website – Australian firms also aren’t exempt… Make this part of your market research, and you’ll go far.
You might be wondering what value we can possibly add in addition to the comprehensive guide above. It’s a fair question, but for an informal chat about the market and prospects for making a move to the UK, please reach out to Glenn Johnston in London (or your local Montgomery contact), who will be more than happy to put the question to the test.