An Aussie in London
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Australians in London

Australians in London

For many young Australians the draw to the United Kingdom is undeniable. For more and more Aussie kids it's becoming a rite of passage. Something Mum and Dad did back in the 80s and 90s. They make their plans, spurred on by tales of Antipodean share houses and bar jobs, of weekends in Paris and trips to Munich for Oktoberfest or Pamplona for San Fermin.

They gather in groups and head off together, perhaps with a stopover in Thailand or Vietnam to work on the tan. Others scour the Internet for the cheapest flight they can source and four hops later find themselves staring at a Tube map in Heathrow with 30 kilos of pack strapped to their back.

For the lucky ones there's a spare room, spare bed or at least a couch to call home until they find their feet. Others head straight for the myriad of cheap backpacker options that litter the London boroughs and begin their adventure in a small room with half a dozen others, all in the same boat.

In many respects not much has changed in terms of the Australian experience in London. Often it's still a struggle to find you feet. Opening bank accounts, finding a flat and getting a mobile phone contract can still prove difficult. And then there's landing a job.

In the past, the stereotypical Antipodean in London worked as a nanny, in a cafe or a bar, did manual labour on a construction site or worked retail. Often for no more than a few quid an hour. What they did professionally at home often had no bearing on the type of job they took when they arrived in the UK. There was visa restrictions to deal with and even those with working visas were often working to a two-year end date.

But that was then. Today, rather than taking on any old employment to make ends meet, many Australians see their time in the UK as a way to enhance their CV, rather than resulting in a blank space on their CV that needs to be explained away to future employers.

With the emergence of the Internet, many young professionals have employment lined up well before they hit Heathrow. Professional agencies link Australian job seekers with employers in the UK in fields ranging from engineering to information technology and from teaching to nursing.

Whilst there's no shortage of Australians still pulling a pint in the capital, you're just as likely to come across an Aussie submitting your tax return or replacing your clutch. Today, temporary positions are easily found online and professionals are needed in a temporary capacity for anything from between a day to a year. It's the type of job market tailor made for an Australian on the road.

With Europe on the doorstep and travel a big draw in Australians spending time in the UK, many will still use every spare amount outside of work on the road. And that's fine too. Furthering your career and seeing the world at the same time. For many it's the perfect trip. So much so that many choose to stay on indefinitely.

Then there's a whole other area opening up to Australians spending time in the UK. Rather than a working holiday, some Australians are choosing to take a prolonged study holiday - either embarking on full-time or part-time degree in London. With the ballooning cost of further education in Australia, why not double up your time away in the UK with an educational qualification?