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5 Things to Expect Before Becoming an OFW in the UK

Many Filipinos dream of working in the UK, and for many good reasons. However, it’s not always rainbows in this country, and you will learn from this article that you will encounter some challenges while living in it.

Also Read: What is the Monthly Salary of a Nurse in the United Kingdom?

Some of the many challenges ahead are shared to us by an OFW through his YouTube channel. To summarize, the challenges include the weather, climate, employee status, cost of living and racism. You will learn more about these things in the video and the article below.

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Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.

Why Life in the UK is not Always Great – See the original video from OFW YouTuber The Lucios Life here:

In the video, he talks about the 5 things he wish he already knew before coming to the UK. That is, if he knew these things, he wouldn’t be as surprised, shocked, or saddened by what he found out.

1. Winter is not always majestic.

Our YouTuber almost immediately found out that winter is not that enjoyable. Many Filipinos who have not experienced snow dream of experiencing it for the first time. We often only see snow in the movies, and they are usually portrayed as being this wonderful, white substance that drops from the sky, making everything look clean and snow white.

When it is really cold outside during the winter, nobody stays out of their houses for too long. It tends to get boring, as everyone is just staying home. You can probably walk around for an hour, but not beyond that. And you need to wear the proper winter gear, gloves and everything, to protect them from freezing over.

Moreover, winter is not always white wonderland. Sometimes you don’t get enough snow at all to cover everything in white, and yet the air is still super cold. People even describe it as being sad weather, and they feel the blues every time winter arrives.

When he first arrived in the UK, he didn’t expect weather to be this bad. However, he also acknowledges that the winter months in the United Kingdom are probably not as terrible as in other countries, like Russia, Canada, Alaska, Northern USA, etc.

2. Sunny season only lasts four months in the UK.

The rest of the year is dark and gloomy in the UK. Maybe, occasionally, the sun shows up once in a while. However, the sun usually just shows up for less than 5 minutes before it decides to hide again.

As such, when you first arrive in the UK, don’t be surprised that it’s dark and gloomy most of the year in the UK. You can only get sunny days during the summer, unlike in the Philippines where it’s mostly sunny the whole year round.

In fact, he said that there are some years wherein summer only lasts for one month.

Also Read: Salary of an Accountant in the United Kingdom

3. Employee status

Your status in the UK, when it comes to earning and expenses, is not that far better than those who are regular employees in the Philippines. In fact, it is comparable, especially if you’re spending in the UK what you’re earning in the UK.

This means that while your salary in the UK is higher, the cost of living is also really high. For example, if you are earning 30,000 pesos per month in the Philippines, you can save up on many expenses like accommodation. A lot of employees in the Philippines can cut back or eliminate completely their accommodation costs by staying with their parents.

In the UK, if you don’t have budget for rent, you won’t have a place to live in. You will become homeless. In fact, a huge portion of what you will earn in the UK goes to paying your rent.

Indeed, many people are thinking that in the UK, you can earn a lot of money, and you can send lots of money back home in the Philippines. In reality though, our YouTuber says that that’s not really their status in the UK.

Just like in the Philippines, as an employee in the UK, you still need to be wary of your expenses. Your earnings will be limited; it’s not like money will overflow in abundance once you start working in the United Kingdom.

He shares his experience back home in the Philippines. Back then, he mostly spends extra for weekend trips, going to different provinces and beaches. You had to save up for these extra expenses, and the same is true with their life in the UK.

That is, if he wishes to tour other countries in Europe with his family, they have to save for it. They have to be sensible with their expenses so they have extra income for these much needed vacation getaways.

To be able to tour Europe, you need to have extra money so that you have some money to spend when touring these different countries. The way to have that extra cash is by limiting your spending or by working extra shifts which many OFWs and other workers actually do.

4. Countryside locations in the UK with expensive cost of living.

Our normal impression when it comes to the UK is that London is an expensive city. Little did we know that there are other places in the UK that are, while more rural or country side, still expensive to live in. This is especially true in England.

In particular, he gives Cambridge as an example. He said that the probable reason for the high cost of living in Cambridge is the fact that there are many world class universities there. That means there are many foreign students studying and living in that place.

In fact, there are houses in Cambridge that are more expensive than those in London. That’s the case even if Cambridge is considered countryside.

He mentioned that Cambridge was only his second option when he was planning on moving to the UK. The first job offer interview that he passed was for Wolverhampton, a city in the West Midlands, England. Specifically, it is located in the Northern part of England.

As it turns out, that plan never came to fruition because that time, his mother got sick. That job offer was postponed until he basically no longer had time for that particular job processing.

After that, he was then offered another job interview, which he passed. This one’s for a position at the hospital he is currently working in now.

He did some research and learned more about Cambridge. He came to the conclusion that this city may be a good place to live and work in. It is, after all, a popular place, quite well known all over the world due to its incredible universities, among others.

The downside, again, is finding out that the cost of living is quite high compared to that in Wolverhampton. For example, a two bedroom house in Cambridge is worth 1,000 to 1,500 pounds per month, or in Philippines Pesos that’s a little more than 67,000 pesos to 100,000 pesos in the current exchange rate.

In Wolverhampton, though, the price is just half for a similar house. You might think that for that lower price, you get a lower quality house, but no. It’s just that the cost of living in popular Cambridge is really high.

If you think about it, house rent really then takes away a huge portion of your monthly salary. Our YouTuber has a bit of regret that he chose Cambridge just because it was a popular city and didn’t think more about his decision.

Having said all of these, he is really proud that he works in a hospital that is basically one of the best in the world in terms of research and development. The hospital also leads most others in terms of care, getting patients healed, conducting successful surgeries, and has one of the best trauma centers in the UK.

5. Racism can be a serious challenge.

He says that, while racism in the UK is not as bad as in other countries, it can still be a problem. He sees other races fighting against other races. Other races going against Filipinos. Caucasians having an issue with Asians, Africans, and the like.

Our YouTuber didn’t go into the minor details as to how racism is being conducted in the UK in the way he sees it or experiences it. He did say, however, that there are lots of people that are still affected by this problem.

Even if you don’t directly experience it, it makes you sad for those who do. When he was working at the hospital ward, he did face racism in a joking manner. While it was guised as a joke, he could certainly feel that he was belittled by that person.

He shares the story of how, as a nurse in the ward, he was routinely emptying the urine bags. That time, patients’ relatives were present for visiting hours. He approached the bed space of one of the patients, and one of the relatives told him that his job is quite noble. That may sound like a nice complement, and that simple statement holds many different interpretations, but you will know when you hear it or how it was said.

He responded to the patient in a professional way, saying that, indeed this is very important; otherwise, it could cause an infection to the patient. Despite the mockery, he kept his composure and professionalism. You can probably consider this as a minor racism incident, especially compared to other incidents that are more harmful. This is a sad reality because not everyone has the capacity to report such abuse.

Wherever part of the world you work in, there will always be challenges that you have to deal with, some on a daily basis. The great thing is that as human beings, we are highly adaptable. Living and working in the UK is still a great idea. You just need to grow and become the best version of yourself in the situation you are currently put in.

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