On the 1st of July, I moved from Newcastle to London to pursue the media dream. I had been applying for multiple different jobs in many locations, including Barcelona, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Brighton. I had no real desire or desperate need to move to London as I had never lived there before. It can often seem at UK universities that the obvious thing to do straight after graduation is to move to London to start a grad job on Sep 1st. I had only ever traveled through busy airports and train stations in London to transfer elsewhere or had been there and back in a day for interviews and assessment centres. I visited London for the first time at age 18, which can be seen to be rare for someone UK based.
It all happened relatively quickly; I’ll give a short break-down of my application process below:
- March/April – initial job application/emails
- April – a phone call
- May – face to face interview
- May/June – Skype interview
- July – start date
I am working in an exciting industry in a company I have been aware of for around eight years. It is not directly associated with audio, but there will be elements for me to learn more about podcasting and music production hopefully. I am five weeks in, and I love it. I learn something new each day and have a great team around me that have such a vast range of knowledge and skills regarding TV, advertising, social media, film, music, theatre, podcasts, radio, law – and so much more!
The physical move down to London, however, was quite stressful. I thought finding somewhere to live for my year abroad in Bordeaux, France was difficult, but this may have been worse, or more disheartening at least. I used SpareRoom.co.uk to start looking for properties a few weeks before I was planning to move down. I was met with many responses stating that I was too early to be getting in touch. I contacted 64 people on the website, got around 30 replies, and visited 20 properties. The way I did it was staying in an Airbnb for four days in London to find a place. I went to seven viewings on my first day and was at the point of moving back home at the end of the day. I had never experienced so many out of date or misleading advertisements. I realised how lucky I was to have had a relatively easy university experience in terms of first-year halls and second and fourth year housing. This was next level.
I spent every evening contacting different people, scouring search results for something in my budget, with as short a commute to work as possible. I also wanted to live with other people and preferably those that spoke French and/or Spanish to keep up my language skills (I’m aware I was probably asking for too much!). I then resorted to Facebook pages to enquire about renting rooms. I kept notes about every property in my red notebook so that I could analyse and make decisions at the end of the day. I rated each place out of 10.
In the end, I got lucky. I found a nice big room in a 3-floor house with two other really nice girls. We have a garden and I have a direct tube route to work. It’s all going so well so far! I would recommend anyone moving to London, or any other city that is known for it’s “housing crisis” to not take the first thing you see. I know I had the privilege of being able to stay in an Airbnb for a few days, but I can’t imagine if I had felt pressured to take the first property I saw. I understand now why there is such an issue in large urban cities with landlords that take advantage of tenants and tenants feeling unable to do anything about it.
I am settled into my new house and job now, enjoying London life each day and trying not to get too busy or become too overwhelmed by it all. It feels like such a great time for me to have moved to London. I could never have done it when I was 18, or even last year straight out of uni.
I wish everyone else that is making big moves the best of luck!
Alexandra McLeod: Alexandra is a recent graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree in BA Geography and Sustainability with Advanced Proficiency in French and Spanish with Study Abroad. Yes, its a lot! However, her main passion throughout university was her role as ‘Head of Station Sound’ for XpressionFM (student radio) where she created unique events and promotional material for the station. She hosted a weekly tri-lingual radio show and continues to host a comedy/poetry podcast. She has had experience working at BBC Devon, Cornwall and Newcastle as well as PhonicFM (Exeter).
WHERE ELSE TO FIND ME:
Tri-lingual radio show (Sobremesa): https://www.mixcloud.com/Alexandra_McLeod/
Sobremesa Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraSobremesa/
YouTube and Geography blog: https://alexandrasobremesa.wordpress.com/