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Moving to London? 17 Tips for Thriving and Surviving

Moving to London? 17 Tips for Thriving and Surviving

London is a popular destination for expats not only because it has a large population that speaks English, also because it has a strong economy. In close proximity to both the rest of Europe and North America, London is the ideal place to plant some new roots. In this situation, it is important to not only adapt to the different life that needs to be lived, but rather embrace it.

1. Practice Tube Etiquette

On the escalators, walk on the left and stand on the right, when in rush hour walk off the escalator, and don’t be overly friendly or make unnecessary eye contact with anyone on public transport.

2. Expect to be Lost in Translation

Western phrases don’t translate well at all but the local slang will become apparent with time. Misunderstandings are to be expected.

3. Don’t Travel by Tube Only

In addition to the Underground, there are also trains and buses that are beneficial to travel to smaller neighborhoods and will help to get a better feel of the layout of the city.

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4. Enjoy the Sun

It is not always raining in London, so when the sun is shining, expect to be flooded with last-minute plans. Find a park close to home and grab some drinks for the picnic – it’s legal!

5. Take in the Culture

London’s museums are always packed with locals among tourists, and many permanent exhibitions are free.

6. Get a Dog

London is extremely dog-friendly, as they are allowed on trains, buses, and tubes as well as some restaurants and pubs. London relocation services can help in finding a pet-friendly home.

7. Get out Whenever Possible

London is so close to other desirable locations, going away for a weekend will never be a big deal. With four airports and a train, anything is possible.

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8. Put the Phone Away

Having your phone out slows the pace of everyone around, and spending your time taking selfies will make you look like a tourist. Plus, you miss out on a lot when your nose is buried in the screen.

9. Don’t be afraid to Make Friends

The city can feel lonely sometimes, but many people feel the same. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation – but don’t go overboard!

10. Say “Yes” More

Spend the money, take the trip, eat the food, do it all. London has so much to offer, that if you put anything off it’ll likely never happen.

11. Don’t Eat at the Same Place Twice

The cuisine available in London is a foodie’s dream, never sell yourself short by eating at the same restaurant twice.

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12. Small Talk is All About the Weather

This is the key to existing happily in the city. It is a safe topic that can fill the void in any conversation.

13. Avoid Time-Wasters like Netflix

With so much to do in the city, don’t let Netflix eat away at the time that could be spent exploring.

14. Speak up About What you Want

Nobody can read your mind and in a city like London, everyone is only looking out for themselves. Speak up when you need to.

15. Mark your Territory on the Tube

Making yourself too small can lead to you being crowded onto. Claim your space confidently and you’ll be okay.

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16. Everything Takes Some Getting Used To

The city is loud, expensive, and very fast-paced. All of this at once can be a bit overwhelming, but embracing it as a whole can lead to feelings of fulfillment not disappointment.

17. When it all Seems like too Much, walk the Waterloo Bridge

This will take you away from the crowds and the noise, and will show you exactly why you made the decision to move to London in the first place.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

How to Self-Taught Effectively

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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