8 November 2016

Sylvia Filozof - Expat in England

Sylvia Filozof - Expat in England

We’ve had the chance to talk to Sylvia Filozof, 26, a Polish expat who has moved to England alone. Ms. Filozof who has been living there for seven years now is a blogger.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I’m from Poland.


Q: What made you move out of Poland?

A: I started University in Poland and thought the subject I’ve chosen weren’t really of my interest so I decided to explore UK and if I happen to like it I would stay and try my luck here.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I’m living in the UK now. As a little girl, I used to tell my Mum that one day I’ll move to London. I chose it mainly because I loved English language and thought there are far more opportunities here than in Poland.


Q: How long have you been living in the UK?

A: I have been living in the UK for seven years now.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I’m living alone although I have some members of my family living here for quite some time now.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I don’t really miss home, I feel like this is my home now but I miss my Mum terribly, there are times where it’s quite hard to cope but when I reach the point of being really homesick I book a plane tickets and fly to Poland for a week or Skype my Mum.


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 first it was easy to make new friends as I was living in shared accommodation with other expats from Poland. We used to go out together and mainly hang out with other Poles, then at some point I decided that sticking to only Polish community isn’t what I came here for and that I need to not only improve my English but also meet some new friends from different countries. That’s when I moved to a shared house with expats from different countries.


Q: How does the cost of living in the UK compare to your home?

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: I only started drinking coffee when I moved to the UK.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: £5 - £7.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: £10 - £12.

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

A: I don’t smoke and I’m not an avid wine drinker.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in the UK?

A: Once you settle, make sure to book an appointment with a bank to set up the account. You’ll need a proof of address and ID or passport.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I don’t need a visa.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in the UK is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: It’s worth registering with your nearest GP clinic as soon as you move in. They usually require proof of address, proof of employment and ID, the whole process does not take long. Once it’s completed, they will book you an appointment with a nurse.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Poland or the UK? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A:  N/A


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 only had two pieces of luggage when I moved. I didn’t use any movers.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: I think the biggest challenge was to understand different accents of English and getting out of my comfort zone to be more confident when speaking English. Getting a proper job wasn’t easy either as most companies required UK experience.


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

A: Negatives are probably the weather although I’m getting used to it now and expensive housing. Positives are once you have a job it’s not too difficult to save up some money and go on a decent holiday abroad.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: In a place I live at the moment, there is not many great things to do but it’s relatively close to London so if you happen to move there, you have loads of different things to choose from - museums, restaurants, quirky coffee shops, libraries, and clubs.


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

A: I’m planning to stay here, I feel like this is my home now.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Get a job as soon as you can, once you start earning live is a lot easier. Sort out your GP and bank account as quick as you can - it will save you a lot of hassle in the future.


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

A: I’m a blogger myself so I read a lot of other blogs, mainly food from all over the country.