26 August 2016

Sara Frost - Expat in London, UK

Sara Frost - Expat in London, UK

We’ve had the chance to talk to Sara Frost, 28, a New Zealander expat who has moved to London alone. Mrs. Frost who has been living there for five years now works as a teacher.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: I am from Auckland, New Zealand


Q: What made you move out of Auckland?

A: I have always had itchy feet, at age 21 I moved to Thailand to work at an international school on Koh Samui and after returning I knew that I wasn’t ready to ‘settle down’ in New Zealand. It is a small place and there are limited travel opportunities as it is so isolated. I am a keen traveller and always have been so it made sense to move to London.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: I live in London, UK


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Moving to London is pretty much a rite of passage for kiwis. It was an easy option for me because I have a British passport. London is also a fantastic place to travel from as Europe is on the doorstep.


Q: How long have you been living in London?

A: I have been living in London for five years now.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in London?

A: Without a doubt, the most difficult experience was the first year. I only knew a few people when I moved here and they were more friends of friends. It was very hard to find a place to live without a full time job and no one would give me a full-time job without UK experience. It took me six months to find a flat and after temping for eight months I finally got a full-time job. My first winter in London was also really tough, I’d never experienced cold weather like that.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in London? What was your experience with these?

I was lucky enough to get a British passport as my Dad was born here so that whole process wasn’t too painful. Luckily in the UK there is no need for health insurance as the NHS provides healthcare.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: When I first moved to London I lived in flat shares and after meeting my now husband we moved in together.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in London? How did you manage to find a social circle in London?

A: At first it was easy to make friends as I was living in a house with other kiwis and we would all go out together and meet their friends so in the beginning it was a lot of hanging out with other kiwis but I soon decided I didn’t come to the other side of the world to hang out with kiwis so I made more of an effort to meet other people. After a year a lot of my friends from home came to live in London so I have a big friendship group from home. I also have lots of good friends from work as well.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: There are a million and one things to do in London. I love to walk, go to parks, go to museums, eat at different restaurants, go to markets and just enjoy everything that London has to offer.


Q: How does the cost of living in London compared to your home?

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: I don’t drink coffee! I’m a hot chocolate girl, they are around £3

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: An inexpensive restaurant is around £12

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Anywhere from £25 up, I go to expensive restaurants very rarely, mainly for a special occasion.

  • How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine is a shop is about £8-10, unsure of cigarettes.


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in London?

A: People in London aren’t the same as people in the rest of the UK so it’s hard to answer this. People in London can be the rudest people on the planet but its all part of being a Londoner. I have been lucky to meet lots of lovely people and make great friends.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in London?

A: The main positive about living in London is the ability to travel frequently.

The negative is the expense and cold weather and London is also full of some really weird people.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: I can honestly say I don’t miss home that much, I have been gone for five years so my life in New Zealand is a distant memory. I miss my sister a lot, especially because she has had kids since I’ve been gone so I feel terrible that I am missing that.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: If I am feeling home sick, I might catch up with friends or Skype friends back home.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: At the moment my plans are definitely to move back to New Zealand at some point in the near future. As my husband is English it all depends whether or not he can get a visa.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: I think the initial 6 months were the hardest as I didn’t have anyone to turn to, no one to help me, I just had to get on with it and do it all myself. I am grateful for that experience but it was hard.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Get a job as fast as you can because once you start earning the pound life gets a lot easier. Get a good group of friends that become more like family and just enjoy it!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about London?

A: Being a blogger myself I read ALOT of blogs, most of them are London based. I also like reading time out London’s website as there is always something good on there to do or new places to eat.