Canadian Expat Living in England - Interview with Alanna

Published: 7 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,England
Alanna is a twenty-something Canadian making adventures in South East England. She's a self-proclaimed crazy dog lady, has a love for the outdoors and trying new things. Alanna's expat blog is called Adventures and Naps (see listing here)

Here's the interview with Alanna...

Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Canada.

In which country and city are you living now?
Medway, Kent, England, United Kingdom. It's a long one!

How long have you lived in England and how long are you planning to stay?
I moved over to England in November 2015 on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5) which allows me to stay for two years. If all things work out, who knows how long I'll be here.

Why did you move to England and what do you do?
I moved across the pond for love: My boyfriend is English and grew up in Kent. Now we're able to spend time together without the need for Skype or email. Currently I'm an administrator for a local college and love it!

Did you bring family with you?
No, I moved from Canada on my own.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The first few months living abroad were very rough. The feelings of nervousness, isolation and homesickness were sky-high but it gets easier as time goes on. I feel a lot more comfortable and less like an outsider now that I've had time to adjust!

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Making friends in a new country is tough but it's definitely possible. I don't know any other expats living in Medway, so those I've met locally are just that: locals. Everyone is very friendly and polite so it makes things easier. Just a short train-ride to London and you'll find loads of expats from all over the world.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Kent is a beautiful area and is comprised of numerous towns and villages. Close to home is Rochester Castle and Cathedral, stopping along the high street afterwards for a pint and some lunch is a nice day out. Hitting up the coast on a lovely summer day is great, or visiting historic Canterbury is excellent as well. Don't forget to check out all the parks, trails and forests in Kent - it really is "The Garden of England!"

What do you enjoy most about living in England?
I love that Kent moves slower than London: it's calm, beautiful and definitely not overwhelming and crowded like the big cities. There's lots of fields and trails along Kent and the locals feel very genuine.

How does the cost of living in England compare to home?
Kent can be expensive the closer to London you go and it's hard to swallow house prices when you convert the English pound to the Canadian dollar. However, it's definitely possible to live off a basic English wage in Kent.

What negatives, if any, are there to living in England?
If you're relying on public transportation to get around the country, it can be a long journey from Kent. Because it's situated in the most South East part of the country, nearly (if not all) trains must go through London first before making your way anywhere else.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to England, what would it be?
If you're about to move abroad, even to England, make sure you understand that it will be rough at the beginning. Accept that it will be difficult but you can get through it: Nothing worth having comes easy.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest part of my journey is missing my family back in Canada. I've very close with my parents and it's tough not having them around. Plus I miss my friends, dog, and Timmies.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Because I'm living in England to be with my British boyfriend, a move back to Canada will be very tough unless he comes with me!

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Do your research. Don't base your move on TV or movie portrayals of your new potential country. Make sure to research all the pros and cons of your new home so you can make an informed choice of where to move!
  2. Pack only things you need and know you'll use. That dress you only wore once? Probably best to leave it behind.
  3. Understand it'll be rough at first. You'll get through it.
  4. Embrace the cultural differences of your new home and explore as much as possible.
  5. Appreciate the good and the bad of moving abroad. So few people get to experience what you're about to go through. Enjoy the ups and downs, the adventures and the naps!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Adventures and Naps follows the ups and downs of a Canadian's experiences living in South East England as well as tips, hints and suggestions for living and travelling abroad.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Feel free to throw me a line on Twitter, follow my blog on Facebook or comment on

About the author

Expat Blog ListingAlanna is a Canadian expat living in England. Blog description: The ups and downs of living abroad. Adventures and Naps follows the life of a Canadian in England and all the places in between. Here you'll find advice, suggestions and tips on making the most of your big move abroad!
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