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London is a great world city. Personally for me, it epitomises the ultimate city to live in alongside New York. These two world metropolises afford so much opportunities for growth and development on so many levels, that it is impossible to condense them into a comprehendible list. However, all great world metropolises including London, suffer of a few, sometimes insurmountable problems for young people. As I managed to run into these difficulties myself, I thought to list just a few that resonate particularly well with 21st century living in London for a person in their twenties:
- London is expensive. The rents are astronomically high, no matter in which part of the city you are ok to rent. Unless you are outrageously rich, your parents have lived in London for generations and you’ve got a huge house to share and subsequently inherit, you don’t mind sharing a house with a dozen housemates, or you don’t care that you would be travelling two hours from the centre of town and back each way, your rent for a one-bed flat in a decent area close to transport links would set you back at least £1200 per month, excluding bills. On the other hand, the transport costs are also prohibitively expensive, especially if you live where the tube does not go or you live in zone 3 and below, but work and play in zone 1. So even if you manage to offset part of the rent by looking for a house or flat in the suburbs, you would still be hit with huge transport costs that would most likely burn off the potential savings.
- London is huge and the traffic is outrageous. Let’s say that you managed to make a compromise which allows you to live in a good place near the tube, for an affordable price, chances are that you would be spending more time travelling from Ealing to Leicester Square and back than someone who does the same run from Brighton, Milton Keynes or Luton.
- The competition for jobs is immense. If you are an experienced person with lots of years under your belt, you should be well-paid and in a high demand, but if you are in your twenties and are still trying to find what you really want to do in life, or you are still building your work experience after University, the chances of getting a decent job that pays enough for you to afford a normal standard of living are very, very slim.
- These few years’ artists, hipsters and everything in-between seems to be moving to Berlin due to its world-class infrastructure, cheap prices, and good location right in the centre of continental Europe. Here London does not have a fault of its own, but it’s good to take the plunge forward and try to live in a slightly different place, experience a different culture, and hopefully meet many new and interesting people along the way, when the opportunity presents itself.
Due to these reasons, and due to the fantastic job opportunity that I found in Berlin, I would be moving into the city in January next year, for at least a couple of months with the option to stay for up to two years.
Don’t get me wrong. I really love London, in fact, I would be keeping my UK bank accounts, credit cards, phone and etc. for the time being, but I feel that at this moment in time, Berlin is a good place to move into, get some experience living somewhere else for a couple of months / years, and then return to London more experienced, culturally enriched and generally better prepared to face the bustle and hustle of the unique London lifestyle.
Therefore, I would say, goodbye London, I’ll really, really miss you! I hope to return sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, hello Berlin! I hope I’ve made the right choice and I really wish that you are not going to disappoint me! 🙂