When looking for a job abroad is it better to move to a Capital, one of the major cities or a small town? In this post I look at the pros and cons of each option and share my experience.
I lived out of a suitcase from the age of 18 to the age of 25. During this time I lived in Rimini, Paris, London and then Sandy (a small town in Bedfordshire) where I still live now.
In my opinion there are 6 key considerations
- Learning the language
- Night life
- Cost of living
When you are young London and Paris are very attractive propositions and the night life and buzz are big draws. I have never found it difficult to find a job as a chef and I assume it would have been the same had I been a pizza chef. Things in the hospitality sector have changed a little in the last few years as there is more competition from the rest of Europe and especially from Eastern Europe where people are notoriously hard working and often time speak better English. This said I can’t imagine a pizza chef struggling to find work in London, especially if salary is not your top priority and you are there to learn the language, discover the city and make new friends. There are of course plenty of downsides too, the first that comes to mind is the extremely high cost of living (rent, transport and going out), but also if your aim is to learn the language you may find there are too many Italians around and you may end up in an “Italian bubble”. I know people that have been in the UK for 10 years and still struggle to speak the language.
The second option is going to a city big enough to have some of the advantages of a capital (in the UK think Bristol, Brighton, Leeds) but also lower cost of living and more of a English speaking population. Of course nothing compares to London, where you can literally go out every night of the week and eat at any time of the day. But still. I feel this is a good compromise if you don’t want to move to a large city, but think you may struggle in a very small town.
The final option is moving to a small town. Here chances you will learn the language (with a bit of sacrifice) are very high. The pizza place you are going to will have British staff and possibly British owners (sometimes second generation Italians), the clientele will be mainly British too. You will have to mingle with the locals and make the effort to speak English. Rents will be lower, but finding a place to stay may be a little harder as with just one salary you won’t be able to get your own place and most likely will have live in shared accommodation or as a lodger in someone else’s house. It may be a bit harder to make friends as the locals will have known each other for a long time and to integrate yourself in the community will take some effort. This will depend on your personality, but you must be someone that enjoy his own company and can fill the time with hobbies such as sport, reading, studying or travelling around in your time off. I think a lot of Italians struggle with this as they are used to their friends and family network back home.
In conclusion where to move to is a big choice and you have to think hard before committing. If you are young a capital may be best (London, Dublin, Edinburgh) and as you progress in life a smaller city or town, with a slower pace of life will be more suitable as your priorities will change and you are more likely to wake up at 4am than to go to bed at that time!
We would love to hear our experiences and stories.
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