Author Topic: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?  (Read 984 times)

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Offline Socalstef

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UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« on: January 18, 2018, 05:53:22 PM »
Hello Forum! this is a bit of a reflective piece? with a few questions thrown in there. maybe a rant. Ha!  :P :-\\\\

Ive been a bit MIA since i arrived in the UK. I got here at the end of october and have now experienced my first holiday season with my husband since being married. (i was here on a visitor visa last year around this time unmarried). Christmas was hard. It was nice to be with my husband but i missed my family traditions. i tried to incorporate where i could but Im mexican-american and many traditions come in the form of food, which i havent been able to find yet lol.

ive also found myself having difficulties adjusting. we live in a small village in the west midlands outside Stratford-Upon-Avon. We have one bus that goes only into Stratford every 2 hrs or so. I AM GOING STIR CRAZY. i dont know how to find a job which i could get to on foot or with my one bus. My degree is in biology and would like to be a lab tech somewhere but there are so few places that are accessible. i applied to the one closest to me and was rejected. Should i simply stop being picky and apply to any office job and hate every minute of it because i know i am not the right type of person to work in an office? I love working in a lab. i get to work mostly alone but still have some group interaction. Office life, it just doesnt feel like my element. But i know i need to work. I need/want to help my husband and just have a little independence you know? not feel bad or guilty about buying myself a treat once in a while. it is very frustrating. I feel frustrated. And i wont even start on my experiences learning to drive here! life was easier when i was mobile. *sigh*

because reasons above ive also looked into maybe a career change, or something to make me more employable at least. I know work and study are allowed on a Spouse Visa but i also know we arent allowed benefits. Are those schemes where the government helps with education for fields such as teaching or NHS careers, is that considered a benefit? Would we not be eligible? Also, is there such a thing as community college here? Like if i wanted to take a course on something or a refresher course, are those available here? My husband mentioned 'College', but those are mainly for 16-18 yr olds? im so confused.

The weather i have not gotten used to (im from sunny Los Angeles!), even though for christmas i got myself some proper wellies and winter coat. the prospect of wandering around Stratford looking for job in the cold, rain or wind has me shivering in my wellies! Just last night we had some strong winds (my husband said they are called gales?) and i didnt sleep all night for fear of the house toppling on us.  :-[

however, i dont want to sound so pessimistic. there are things i love about my new home. for starters my husband was born and raised here. the idea of him as a kid growing up here is adorable. second, the big open fields are wonderful. on the rare sunny morning, the fields and hills look absolutely stunning. ive never had fresher air! third, the Pubs!!  ;) dont need to say much more about those :) and most of all, i love spending time with my husband. quiet nights reading or watching tv/films. cooking together, going out to shop together. the rare days we do a bit of gardening. walks through the fields. raiding antique shops to find anything that would fit in our home.

its been bittersweet. ups and downs. he and i are young and perhaps fumbling through life still but at least we are together. I just have to keep reminding myself its only been a couple months. itll get easier.

anyways sorry for the long post. if you read all the way through, thank you for listening to my rant. i felt i needed to get it out. hoped maybe someone understands and/or can provide insight and wisdom.

thanks!!
“ For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice.”
– John Burroughs

US wife, UK Husband
Met-Aug 2011
Married-July 2017
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Biometrics apt- 8/24/17
Package sent-8/28/17
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UKVI email confirming receipt -8/31/17
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Passport returned-10/4/17
Decision-Approved!!

Offline jfkimberly

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 06:09:34 PM »
Clearly, you are not driving now, but make sure that's always a choice you're making by keeping the option to drive available to you.  You arrived in October, so your US license is still valid to drive on over here for a while.  But I would recommend taking driving lessons now, as both a way to work toward your UK license for when the US one runs out, as well as a way to get out of the house?  Once you get your UK license, you have it forever (or until age 70(?), at which point you have to renew it every three years, I think?), but it takes several months to get it.  Used cars are rather inexpensive, and if you have transportation, you can look for work further afield so you won't be forced to take some office job just because it's what you can get to.  (You don't have to wait 'til you have a UK license to get a car, either.  You can just start driving on your US license when you feel comfortable... you'll need insurance, of course!)

I spent 2011 in Los Angeles (Culver City), and any time I caught myself checking the weather, I would laugh at myself and remember that it's 72F and sunny.  Because that's what it always was.  Now I live in the UK.  Trust me, I understand what you are going through.  You will get used to it.  You'll still look back on LA wistfully, but you'll come to accept the weather here.  You'll even stop feeling cold all the time.  Eventually.

Other than that, all I can say is it's an adjustment.  We have all gone through it, and we all survived.  You know you will too.  And we're here for you to "rant" to whenever you need to.  We all know.  Trust me.  We know. :)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 06:12:25 PM by jfkimberly »
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
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Offline F4mandolin

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 06:16:46 PM »
Other than the fact you don't live in "God's Country"......it sounds like things are going really well. You will of course spend the rest of your life wishing you had moved to "God's Country". But......I guess somebody has to live down south.
Fred

Offline historyenne

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 07:56:02 PM »
Try http://mexika.co.uk for Mexican groceries. It's expensive, but the tamales are made fresh by proper Mexicans and they are delicious! TBH though most of us miss Mexican food like crazy--it's just so hard to find in the UK and what is here is often disappointing. I saw Rick Stein eating carne asada the other day and had to turn off the TV I was so jealous!

Also, don't be afraid to look into colleges. They're not just for teenagers, there's plenty of classes available for older people as well. Here's one in Stratford: http://www.stratford.ac.uk/part-time/

If you don't want to travel to classes, maybe look into the Open University?

On s'envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets,
Pour cette vie et celle d'après
Tu seras mon unique projet.

Je t'aimais, je t'aime, et je t'aimerai.

--Francis Cabrel

Offline larrabee

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2018, 08:21:25 PM »
It will get easier, as you say. You don’t hate everything, so you’re already ahead of the game!  ;)
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline jimbocz

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 11:24:48 AM »
Even your complaining is pretty positive! 

I totally agree with JF KIMBERLEY that a licence and a car is going to make a huge difference to your life.  I'd keep trying with the driving.  It's all about practice and it just gets better with time. What about a scooter in the meantime?  You just need to take a one day course on top of your provisional license and then it's freedom!  Buy some proper clothes and you are totally cool to ride to work in the winter rain. 

Offline jimbocz

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 11:25:59 AM »
Even your complaining is pretty positive! 

I totally agree with JF KIMBERLEY that a licence and a car is going to make a huge difference to your life.  I'd keep trying with the driving.  It's all about practice and it just gets better with time. What about a scooter in the meantime?  You just need to take a one day course on top of your provisional license and then it's freedom!  Buy some proper clothes and you are totally cool to ride to work in the winter rain. 

Offline phatbeetle

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2018, 11:26:08 AM »
Aww, yeah, you're now in the days of 'it's not a holiday anymore and it's my life' kind of things.

Folks here can help you with finding cherished Mexican ingredients, though you may need to bring back stuff from the USA as not everything can be found.

Driving, if you can do it, will definitely help and not limit your job searching.

Colleges do offer lots of continuing education and I know plenty of folks who have retrained or taken Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in college as adults.  There are also the options of uni.  There will be costs associated with any of this. 

What were you rejected for from the job? If it's visa related, it could be that your CV may need tweaking. If it's UK work experience, than perhaps some volunteering may help you.  Also, I'm wondering if you may want to get in contact with the Royal Society of Biology. These kind of places offer CPD, help with qualifications, training, help, etc. You will have to be a member to access their services, but once you're paid up, they're a great source of information and help.

Daylight, well we're on the up. But afraid the weather will never be like LA!

Best of luck to you!
I've never gotten food on my underpants!
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Offline jimbocz

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2018, 11:35:20 AM »
About work, I think a really good job could go a looong way to sorting your problems.  Money, independence and your own friends could be just the ticket.  I would keep an open mind, I bet there are office jobs out there that would be perfectly interesting.  Or you can tolerate easily because the people are so fun.  You won't know until you try.
If you do decide to change jobs, consider something software and computer oriented.  Development or testing can be learned reasonablely easily, is logical and methodical, can be done independently and there's tons of jobs that pay above average.

Offline jimbocz

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2018, 11:45:11 AM »
Maybe it's time for your hubby to make some sacrifices and move to a place where you can find a job.  Seriously, you have made a massive change, it's only fair.  You need a bit of independence and you'll have a tough time forging that if you are still living where he grew up and there's no lab jobs.  If you are both starting a new life in a new place then you'll understand how each other are feeling.




Offline historyenne

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2018, 12:17:08 PM »
You just need to take a one day course on top of your provisional license and then it's freedom!

Tell me more about this one-day course. I looked into getting a motorcycle licence here, but it seemed awfully complicated. Please tell me it's actually easy!
On s'envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets,
Pour cette vie et celle d'après
Tu seras mon unique projet.

Je t'aimais, je t'aime, et je t'aimerai.

--Francis Cabrel

Offline F4mandolin

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2018, 12:20:57 PM »
What about a scooter in the meantime?  You just need to take a one day course on top of your provisional license and then it's freedom!  Buy some proper clothes and you are totally cool to ride to work in the winter rain.
Yowza! I used to have a small motorcycle back in my younger days in W Washington. Riding in the cold and wet was something I wasn't thrilled with and got rid of it after a few years. Coming from S Cal......it would be a bit of a shock I would think. But....it might be a good option in certain circumstances.   
Fred

Offline KFdancer

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2018, 12:23:09 PM »
I completely agree that a license and a little car is going to help your sanity.

I'd hate to see you leave a job field you love!  Only move into another area if you unhappy with your current qualifications and think something else will provide a better work/life balance.  If it is something else, go for it!  You don't have to be 16.   :)

Definitely watch the Mexika.co.uk website for tamale sales.  They are expensive but A-MAZ-ING.  Worth every single penny.  Unfortunately your husband will love them and find them appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you will spend more money than you want.  ;)

Offline MPI

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2018, 12:23:32 PM »
Also, if you only got here in October, you have only seen the worst of British weather.  I feel so smug around Valentine's Day in the UK when we have crocuses and daffodils peeking out and my parents back home have snow.  It might not be as warm as home but springtime will really redeem the UK after the winter.

Sometimes the job thing just takes a long time.  I agree with above that it would be best to have a car in your situation.  But you'll find the right job!  I had to remind myself that the job market back home was competitive too when I was looking.
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Offline jimbocz

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Re: UK life so far and Higher Education/Community college?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 12:59:56 PM »
Tell me more about this one-day course. I looked into getting a motorcycle licence here, but it seemed awfully complicated. Please tell me it's actually easy!
Well, it is complicated to get a motorcycle license.  The one day course is called a CBT and is available everywhere.  At the end you can legally ride a bike as long as the engine < 250 cc and you have L plates. All courses include the use of thier bikes.  You'll meet a bunch of Delivroo drivers. 

Scooters are cheap, but if you spend some money you can get a proper motorcycle that has a tiny engine.

Like Mr Mandolin said, riding in the winter is not so fun but that's just a clothing issue.