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London - Overview

Few cities in the world match London's diverse work and lifestyle choices. Whether you are considering moving to the capital alone, with a partner, or as a family, Europe's largest city offers excellent career opportunities and 620 square miles of unique neighbourhood communities, from the vibrant and energised to the tranquil and serene.

London is the city of television, film and books - the Royals, well mannered gents, well heeled ladies, famous museums and galleries, the flowing Thames, tennis at Wimbledon, afternoon tea and scones, the local pubs, monopoly board landmarks, East End humour, cobble-stoned streets, and the labyrinth of the Underground 'tube'.

At the same time, it is a melting pot of cutting edge trends. The mix of western culture with people from all over the world has produced innovative entertainment, dining, and shopping experiences for all ages and tastes.

Despite its enormous geographic size, London is one of the most densely inhabited places on earth, with over 8 million people calling it home. Fortunately, it is a very safe city for its size, and there are hundreds of open green spaces and parks in which to escape the daily congestion.

The British people are a proud and reserved breed. The philosophy being that the less said, the less likely they are to draw undue attention or cause embarrassment to themselves or others. Visitors often mistake their ill ease and shyness for rudeness. If you take the time to get to know the people and respect local customs, Londoners will welcome you into their beloved city, shower you with well-mannered hospitality, and charm you with their wonderful sense of ironic humour.

As the commercial centre of Europe, and a hugely popular tourist destination, London offers careers in almost every imaginable industry. The British Pound Sterling is one of the strongest currencies in the world. The downside effect is that London has the third highest cost of living in the world. However, if you can bank money whilst living here, it will translate into greater savings once home.

Along with the many rewards of London life, there may be some challenges. The weather is officially 'mild', yet subject to frequent rain and occasional extremes in temperature. If you are not used to this type of climate, it can have an effect on your mood and enthusiasm.

Life in England is not that different to other English speaking nations. However, adapting to day-to-day routines and the way people interrelate in any foreign country may be a culture shock for the unprepared, whilst trying to find housing that best suits your lifestyle is often stressful for all involved.

Visit before you move to get a feel for the city. Research potential housing and schooling needs from home to avoid spending too much time in short stay accommodation before finding somewhere permanent to live. When you arrive, make new friends at work. Join one of the clubs for expatriates and business people; or take up a sport, course, or hobby. If you don't know where to start, ask around or call your local council or Chamber of Commerce.

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