What on earth is BritBound? I hear you say
It’s probably the single biggest thing that made my time in London best in my life. I was pretty nervous and scared about moving to the other side of the world by myself; but BritBound made it a breeze! BritBound is a relocation company based in London. They help Kiwis, Aussies, Canadians and more to move to the UK on their Working Holiday and Ancestry visas (to name a few). They help you with the nitty-gritty of setting yourself up in another country, i.e. bank accounts, tax numbers etc. But most importantly to me I think is they gave me a sense of community, when it could have been very easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.
How BritBound works
I was linked up with BritBound through IEP in New Zealand. I used IEP to help me with applying for my visa, making sure I had all of the correct documents in order and they sent off my application for me. Part of the package is being linked with a company on the other side that helps on arrival. That company was BritBound! (I believe the universe was definitely working in my favour there).
If you’re Canadian you’re linked through SWAP, Australians through the Aussie branch of IEP. Or you can just go directly to BritBound online.
What BritBound do
They take the immediate stress out of arriving in a foreign country, by arranging 2 night in a hostel for you. They have a ‘Welcome Session’ for all the new BritBounders arriving that week; where they give you the low down on what to expect, how to make the best of things, where to start and the glorious public transport system!
The nitty gritty I mentioned earlier involves arranging an appointment with a bank to open an account. This was so easy I couldn’t believe it! (This was 4 years ago so things may be different now). They choose a branch near their office, you can use their details if you need to, as proof of address or even a mail holding service.
BritBound also help with getting your National Insurance Number (tax number) which you need to be able to work. They help by setting you up with recruitment agencies and tell you where to look for jobs. They tell you what the best sites are to look for a flat – what’s dodgy and what’s not.
You can use the computers, wifi and printing services in their office not just for when you arrive but for your whole time in the UK. They really are the bees knees!
BritBound help you make friends
Which let’s be honest, as an adult can be a bit hard sometimes.
They have a social events group on Facebook with currently 3581 members. You can meet up with others to go musicals, the Harry Potter Studios, go on day trips to Brighton or Bruges Christmas Markets. They have Friday night drinks and pub crawls, dress up boat parties on the Thames. So many things to do with so many people. All in the same boat as you (pun intended!) needing to make new friends. I met my new friend and future flatmate Laurel through BritBound, also Blake who came and lived with me in Dublin a couple of years later. The awesome thing is there is so much to connect over, you are having an incredible shared experience so you have so much to talk about with these people. They’re often other kiwis or Aussies, Canadians, German and more so it’s so easy to relate them
So many friends!
I was probably most nervous about not knowing anyone over there. (The one girl I did know went home 2 weeks after I arrived). I worried I was going to be all alone when the homesickness struck. But it was actually really easy to make friends! I was so busy all the time that I never had time to get homesick. So many of the people I met in London and on my travels I still count as friends today. They will be friends for life because we shared such a special time in our lives. All because BritBound brought us together.
So if you’re thinking about heading over to London and are a bit nervous about it, don’t be! Join up with BritBound and you will have the time of your life. You won’t regret it.