Patryk Klosowski - Expat in London, United Kingdom
We’ve had the chance to talk to Patryk Klosowski, 26, a Polish expat who has moved to London with his girlfriend. Mr. Klosowski who has been living there for two years, now works as a Team Leader at big data recruiters Churchill Frank.
Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.
Q: Where are you from originally?
Q: What made you move out of Poland?
A: Opportunity and curiosity. I always tried to be as independent as possible so I moved from my parents’ place when I was 16 and started to work and pay my rent.
Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: I’m living in London – only 10 mins away from the city centre. It was a very random choice, I sat down before Christmas two years ago and I booked my tickets only a week in advance. I packed my bag and moved to the UK without speaking a word of English, but I think it’s getting better now.
Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the expat lifestyle?
A: I live here with my girlfriend. It was always her dream to move to the UK, especially to London. I think we are settled now and ready for the professional life outside of our home country.
Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: Of course I do, who wouldn’t? But obviously, if you’re moving to a new country, you do expect homesickness and it’s up to you how you deal with that. I’m talking to my family very regularly – we stay in contact.
Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: I lived in Warsaw for about 20 years – I’m used to big cities and busy streets, bars or shopping centres. London is way more international and developed, which is a big plus.
Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in the UK? How did you manage to find a social circle there?
A: At the beginning, it was a nightmare. I didn’t speak a word of English so I had to start with people speaking my language. There are many Polish people in London so it wasn’t really hard to find friends. At work everyone was very friendly from the beginning – everyone started to talk to me as soon as I began to understand and respond to their banter.
Q: How does the cost of living in the UK compare to your home?
A: Poland is one of the cheapest countries in the EU. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it was definitely a shock at the beginning – but after first two payslips, I was settled.
- Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
- Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
- Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
- Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: “Weekend wine” is about £5, a dinner one is about £20-30, cigarettes are £7.
Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in the UK?
A: The first bank that I went to was Halifax – it went very easy and I opened my account just with my ID, no contract or anything else was needed.
Q: How would you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?
A: As I come from an EU country working here is straightforward. Any kind of appointment here is very easy and friendly. I wish I had the same in Poland.
Q: Would you say that healthcare in the UK is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Fortunately I haven’t had to find out, but it looks like very reliable and from what I’ve heard the NHS is a great thing.
Q: Did you secure health insurance in the UK? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?
A: I have my health insurance in Poland – I didn’t change it and if I need to go to the doctors, I prefer to go back to my country. It’s easier for me to have a chat with a doctor in my native language.
Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to the UK? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?
A: I packed a big suitcase within two days and moved to London without having any money – I think this was exciting enough. I found a very cheap room outside of London and luckily I was able to move to a much better place just two months later.
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: Learning the English language, definitely. I’m a very social person; I left many friends in Warsaw and it was hard at the beginning to make friends here.
Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in the UK?
A: The positive is definitely the opportunity we have here and the experience. In terms of negatives, you are basically alone here and you need to plan to spend your money very well otherwise you will struggle to pay the rent.
Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?
A: Thorpe Park and Hyde Park – I love going to all the music festivals every weekend during summer!
Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: I’m settled here. I wouldn’t move back to my home country.
Q: What tips would you give to expats living in the country?
A: Don’t expect a “high life” in your first weeks here. The money will come with time – be patient.