Say a big old hello to Laura Martin, the latest adventure seeker to be featured in my Expat Living Interview Series.
Originally from Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, she now lives in London, England.
All About Laura.
I’m a 29 year old Chilean-Spanish-German woman. I’m from Frankfurt am Main where I worked as an Account Manager for an IT and Telecommunications company before moving to London four months ago to start work as a Business Consultant. I love the multicultural flair of both, Frankfurt and London, and I am very happy to be in London now. And yes, I like Guinness beer!
Where are you from?
From beautiful Frankfurt am Main, Germany (also where one of our other interviewees, Georgina Rico now lives.)
Where are you living now and how long have you been there?
I moved to London, England four months ago.
Have you lived anywhere else around the world?
Do you plan to stay in your current location or move somewhere else in the future?
The only plan I have right now is to stay some years in London, but how many that will be and where I’ll be afterwards? No idea.
What’s your personal story? What made you decide to take the big leap and leave home?
I had a serious romantic involvement with a London resident who I got to know during my studies in Frankfurt. When he moved to London after graduating, we had a long distance relationship going for quite some time.
I then decided to find a new job and started to look for new opportunities in London. After a short search period, I got an exciting offer from a small consultancy in and accepted immediately. Three weeks later, after arriving directly from the airport, I found myself sitting down at my new desk in London.
Four days after my arrival we moved into our new apartment, less than four walking minutes away from the Tower Bridge.
Do you ever miss home? What do you do to cope?
I miss my family and my friends A LOT and thinking about my mother and closest friends frequently causes me to feel homesick. But as I work a lot and there’ so much to do in the city, it fortunately keeps me distracted.
We often use Skype and WhatsApp and that makes me feel like I am on holiday and will be home again soon. When there’s a birthday party, I connect via Skype video conference call everyone feels as if I’m actually there.
How do you blend in and be accepted by locals?
Due to my work, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people. The British are masters of small talk so you get involved in conversations quite easily. The pop culture generates a lot of new contacts because when everybody is totally drunk, you can make new friends in seconds. If these people remember you the next day is another question.
Often when I tell people that I like porridge and English breakfast, they think I’m just trying to be polite.
Did you have to learn a new language? If yes, what? How did you go about learning the language and how long did it take you to become fluent?
I learned English at school and then worked for a UK based company which uses English as their operational language.
British English is very complex and rich – the British have thousand words for one thing! I learned very early which roles irony and sarcasm play in the whole language game. New expressions like “whatever floats your boat” is my favourite so far.
What has been the most shocking thing you learned about the local culture?
The English really drink gallons of alcohol and also, the weather in London is really bad, like really, really bad! I’m very sorry my non-continental friends but that’s reality.
What is your number one tip about how to live life as an ex-pat?
Have knowledge of the language, no matter where you go.
What do you love most about living abroad?
London offers a lot to do so it never gets boring. Even if you just go out to the supermarket on the weekend, the drunk people I meet on the street always make me smile because they’re pure entertainment.
Did you make the move solo? Or are you with a spouse or significant other, other members of your family, or friend(s)?
Fortunately, my boyfriend took care of finding a new apartment which took that big task out of my hands. It’s nice to have somebody close with you, especially at the beginning when you really don’t know anyone.
What do you do work wise? Did you have a job before you arrived or did you look for work when you got there? If you didn’t have a job, how did (or do) you land work?
I’m a business consultant. I hated my previous job so a change of position was a major reason to move to London. I’m very happy now!
I recommend having a signed employment contract BEFORE moving to London as the living costs are very high!
Expat Living Information
If you thought what Laura Martin in London, England had to say about expat life was cool, then check out even more interviews in my Expat Living section. If you’re thinking of a move to Berlin, then check out my handy Berlin guide.