Surprisingly enough, young Australian backpackers are everywhere, especially in Europe and London. This seems to have always been the case. There are many areas in London where there are large Australian populations and you talk to locals who say that has been the case for years!
What many Londoners don’t understand is why we all flock here on the 2-year working visas/ancestry visas or put all the effort in to get our British or European Passports. Every time a local at work asks if I am Australian, they always point out, “Isn’t it Summer in Australia at the moment? Why the hell are you here?” (Honestly, if I had a £1 for every time I have been asked that I would be able to pay a week rent!)
I thought it was time to finally address this and put words to paper (well type it out to the net.)
I thought about it and really thought about why I had done it and there are a few reasons!
For starters, it is one of the largest and fast-paced cities in the world. There are always so many different events, for so many different interests! Honestly, every day in London there is something new to explore and see, whether it just be a cafe, a new piece of graffiti or a new area you haven’t been to yet, days off here can never be boring! It’s also incredibly easy to adventure out from London! Whether it be via the train to places like Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, etc. Even for a weekend away to your favourite European city, easy and cheap!
There is then the aspect of comfort and we can look further into this. There are no language barriers. London is an English speaking place. Sometimes there is the case of misunderstanding due to the differences in slang, but at the end of the day, we can mainly understand each other!
There is always a connection of knowing someone who has done the 2-year working visa before you, or if you are lucky, you may know someone who is still over in London doing it. This makes it incredibly easy to make more friends and start having a social life.
Another thing for comfort is two things to do with history and politics. One is that a lot of Australians have English roots. Mine comes from my grandmother and grandfather, who are Scottish and Irish. And even though I am based in London, it is not hard at all to get to their hometowns (which I do plan to do at some point!) There also is the fact that both Australia and the United Kingdom are a part of the Commonwealth. So there are a few things that help Aussies out over here because of that!
On this point too, it is actually not too hard to get the visa for a working holiday in the UK! Possibly other than New Zealand and Canada, the UK is where it’s at! Why not take advantage of these reasonings to go on a new adventure!
Definitely one of the other points is to escape. Now, that definitely sounds like it comes with negative connotations and it definitely can. This is one reason I needed to get out of my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I am from. I love the beaches, I love the warmth, I love my family and friends, I love the food and coffee, but I knew I needed to get out. My home wasn’t offering what I need at this point in my life. I wasn’t seeking new adventures, I wasn’t finding new passions or knowledge, I wasn’t meeting enough new people and there weren’t any prospects of new a relationship. I wasn’t necessarily seeking new a relationship, however, past relationships were haunting me and I needed an escape. I needed a way to get my mind away from it all and to expand and focus on myself.
Leaving home is always a major part of someone’s life. However, I feel like it is becoming more of a right of passage for Australian’s to take part in this 2-year visa in the UK. Sure, you can move out down the road from your parents. Don’t get me wrong, that is still a massive step, however, there is something about packing up your life, moving away from everything you know and struggling through and making it. If you can make it in London by yourself, you can make it anywhere in the world.