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Expat Groups in the United Kingdom

Submitted: August 2013

The age of the internet has made it easier than ever for individuals to stay in touch with friends and family they left behind in their home country when coming to the UK. However, Skyping and emails can replace human face to face interaction only up to a point.

Living in the UK, away from friends and family, is often more difficult for expats than they might have imagined. Adjusting to a different way of life and coping with all the new aspects of day to day living can be a lonely and bewildering experience.

Luckily, in this day and age it is easy to find out about the way of life in another country. Learning at least a little about it before arriving is advisable. There are a number of UK forums covering various subjects   (/expat-forum/United-Kingdom/1/) covering a wide variety of topics and can be a valuable source of information.

Expat groups can be found in many cities in the UK and this has been made easier through social networking. Individuals coming to the UK can make contact with compatriots already living in the country before arriving in the UK themselves, thereby gaining an insight into life in the UK prior to arrival. The groups usually consist of individuals from different nationalities and are not limited to a certain country of origin. Comprehensive expat group listings for the UK can be found here: /expat-groups/UK-.html.

InterNations (https://www.internations.org/great-britain-expats) facilitates regular expat events in various locations throughout the UK, enabling individuals to meet and exchange views and information about life in the UK. .If you are looking for job fairs or other events that are of interest to expats in the UK you can browse listings here: /expat-events/#&search=where%3Atag%3AUnited%20Kingdom%3AUnited%20Kingdom. Expat websites also offer individuals the opportunity to join regular social gatherings, meeting compatriots in a relaxed setting with the chance to pick up valuable tips on various subjects.

Other expat websites are designed for individuals from a particular country; for US nationals, https://www.americanexpats.co.uk/ has a forum designed to help fellow Americans coming to or living in the UK.  The German expat community in London is well served by https://www.deutsche-in-london.net/forum/page/index.html gives details of German shops and restaurants in London, as well as addresses for doctors, dentists and other members of the medical profession.

Generally, it has to be said that the expat groups in the UK are well established and a lot can be learnt from their websites.

Expats living in a part of the UK where an expat group is not already established can affiliate themselves with other individuals in the same area by setting up an expat group of their own or via one of the many websites.

While it is a comfort to many foreign nationals to have such a link to their country of origin or other foreigners in the UK, one must not forget that the experience of living in the UK is enhanced by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and discovering culture, way of live and all other aspects of daily living while in the midst of it. The knowledge gained by finding out for one’s self the challenges living in the UK can present for someone not familiar with the country’s customs and ways of life are just as much part of the whole experience of coming to live in the UK. The knowledge can then perhaps be shared with one of the many expat groups around the country…

 

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