The London Experiment My UK Adventure – Sam Mckenzie

International Resource Consultant From: Wagga Wagga, Lived in London for 2 years. Currently: Living in Sydney, Australia

It was January 2015 and I had just realised that I had failed my last New Year’s resolution and had no idea why I was still working a never-ending series of night shifts at the bar and why the farthest place I had travelled to date was Thailand.

Fast forward another month and much whining later and I was still pondering these same facts when my brother mentioned he was off again to the UK for a while and if I was really that unhappy why didn’t I just quit and move to London, as it was the simplest thing to do in the world! As if I didn’t have an entire life here and no responsibilities…

Now this was not the first time it had been mentioned but it WAS the first time it had been really heard and I thought to myself, well yes why don’t I do that? What is really holding me back? The answer was me; I was just too afraid to make the leap, WELL not anymore!

So, decision made I decided to give myself a date and book flights so I couldn’t back out…. The 4th of March, that sounded like the perfect date, so I locked it in and stood back to congratulate myself on a job well done.

Turns out that the 4th of March was just over 4 weeks away and I had NO idea what I needed to do or WHERE to start.

Thus, began my journey through the world of blogs, visa websites, social media pages and contact lists with little luck and a whole lot of frustration.

Looking back, I really wish I had someone to point me in the right direction and offer the right kind of advice less of the… “You will need those ten thousand pairs of socks and thermal underwear” and more… “check out this website for the guidance notes on how to fill out that application”  even though at the time I completely shunned agencies due to the cost I now realise that some of them may have been if not beneficial financially, definitely worth it for my stress levels. 

Fast forward 4 years down the track and I now spend every day at work helping people just like I was, make the same life changing decision I made, give the advice I wish I had gotten and then ultimately enjoy the most AMAZING experience that I enjoyed.

So, because of all of that I thought why not give you all a snap shot each week of what I did and what my time working with Sugarman has taught me about how to prepare and then enjoy your move to the UK with as little stress as possible!

This week’s post is all about #PREPLANNING

First things first, this will only work if you have made that decision so stop second guessing yourself and commit!


Now it might sound fun to fly by the seat of your pants but lets be honest it rarely ever works and more often than not you end up out of pocket and hostel hopping for a month without unpacking your bag while rewashing your work uniform every night before eventually running out of money and heading home with your tail between your legs! So, get to making that list.

  1. Create the list and section it into months as a countdown, it should include the following columns: To Do, Cost Involved, Completed.
  2. Make sure you keep it updated, it isn’t enough to just update it once a month in the lead up put aside the time you need once a week or on the weekend where you can take the time to finalise the points!
  3. Monitor your cost so you can create a Pre UK and Post UK budget.

Things to include in your checklist:

  • HCPC Application – for all my AHP candidates
  • Decide on a date – make sure you know this before completing your Visa application
  • Visa application
  • Book Flights
  • Agency registration paperwork – get it out of the way
  • Sign up to social media pages – Facebook groups are a great place to start, Aussies in London, Social groups, event nights. Keep yourself up to date with what’s happening and use the people in the groups as a sounding board they have been and are doing the same as you!
  • Make a list of what you need to sell prior to leaving i.e. Furniture and Car – put those things up for sale: Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, are all great places to start.
  • Make a list of anything that will go into storage and price storage facilities – remember that you will potentially be gone for 2 years + so if you have family or friends with storage space don’t be afraid to ask.
  • List, finalise and cancel any outstanding debt or ongoing payments such as: Toll bills, credit cards, insurance, health cover, phone repayments etc.
  • Notify your bank and decide if you will keep the accounts open.
  • Notify your real estate – organise break leases and bond clean etc. consider moving home in the lead up to save on rent.
  • Notify the Electoral commission
  • Notify the ATO – especially if you have HECS debt.
  • Make sure that your phone is unlocked and will work in the UK.
  • Look into Bank accounts and phone companies – This is much easier with all the online banks like Monzo that are floating around. Also luckily Sugarman send out Sim Cards and Oyster cards to all our Candidates prior to their arrival in the UK so that is one thing you can make off ahead of time.
  • Temporary Accommodation in the UK while looking for permanent lodging – weigh up the cost difference between a long stay hostel room and Airbnb, alternatively you may have a friend with a couch or available floor space for you to rest your head till you are up and running.
  • Pre booking Mandatory training – book on line and save yourself the hassle
  • Book in with your GP and organise all your health needs, including if you need

Check in next week for my guide to all things Visa Applications.