Reyne’s “Just back from teaching in London” Travel Blog
Meet the newest member of our Melbourne Team, Reyne Auld, as he shares some of his favourite experiences from his recent stint teaching in London.
I’m Reyne Auld (strange name) & I’ve just moved back from London, as a teacher & have joined the Teach In Melbourne team.
I lived & loved teaching in London. I would love to be in your shoes & have all this travel adventure to come. Keep reading to get inspired to book your ticket to travel & teaching.
Having (cheap) European travel opportunities on my doorstep was one of my main motivations to teach in England. So my girlfriend Mikayla (also a teacher) and I decided to go see some of the world, and get some international teaching experience at the same time.
I can count SO many positives from my time living and teaching in London. From living in one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, to all the new friends you make along the way. But one positive really stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is the travel opportunities. London truly is the gateway to Europe.
Why is it so easy to travel while teaching in London?
First of all the school terms are set up a little different to the ones in Australia. In Australia we have 4 terms, a two break in-between and then a six week summer holiday. In the UK they only have 3 terms with a 2 week break in-between each. Each term you also get a half-term break where all students and teachers have a week off to recharge their batteries. This means you have the opportunity to go travelling every six weeks. As well as this, you also have the “bank holidays” (long weekends) in which to travel exploit Europe being on your doorstep. Mikayla and I took full advantage of this and went away every time we had any time off. Because of London’s close proximity to Europe, being able to explore a European city over a weekend is possible. One mid-term break we caught the train to Paris, yes the train. That was an opportunity you just don’t get here in Australia. You board the train in London, travel under the English Channel and arrive in Paris two hours later. Pretty cool. Being in the UK also means accessing budget airlines. Skyscanner is a great tool for the budget conscious teacher and is easy to use.
My favourite places!
It seemed like an impossible task, but I have narrowed down a Top 5 list. SUCH a difficult list to choose from, as we did so much, in such a short & unbelievable amount of time. You should maximise your full 2 years Youth Mobility Visa & make the most of your travel opportunities.
1. Budapest and Sziget festival.
On the top of my list is the city of Budapest in Hungry. While I was in Budapest, my housemates and I went to Sziget Festival. Budapest alone is such an amazing city, the festival was just a bonus – but what a bonus it was! Budapest itself is really funky with lots of cool eateries & with plenty to see. What makes Budapest so unique and fun is its array of ‘ruin bars’ – a rabbit warren of bars and pubs hiding in derelict buildings. Bar hopping is a breeze and the bars are in stumbling distance to one another. The Sziget Festival is on in the summer holidays so you don’t really have an excuse not to go! It is set on an island in the middle of Budapest. It is an dedicated music and arts festival that goes for a full week. Our ticket ran for 5 days and that was plenty. There are renowned international artists that play every night. If you need more than music to nourish your soul, you can re-balance with a bit of yoga or go watch the circus troupe!
Oktoberfest needs little introduction. If Disney World is the happiest place on Earth for kids, Oktoberfest might just be the equivalent for adults. We loved it so much we went twice! Below are some things to take into consideration when planning a trip to Munich for world famous Oktoberfest.
Plan your outfit. Make sure you get into the spirit and dress in the traditional lederhosen or dirndl. 95% of people are dressed like this so don’t be the odd one out that turns up in jeans and a hoodie. When in Munich … and all that!
Pre-book your accommodation. Accommodation is expensive in Munich during Oktoberfest so try to book in advance. Or if you’re OK with camping that is an affordable option – it is much cheaper than a hotel or hostel, and there are often giant pre-assembled tents you can bunk down in. You are bound to meet other young fun travel-types when you’re camping too.
Iceland is becoming increasingly popular, it’s easy to see why. Iceland has natural beauties beyond comprehension. It’s just a 3 hour flight from London – but culturally, it’s a world away! Mikayla and I went for a weekend and it was definitely a highlight. The Blue Lagoon (very famous) is a large natural thermal heated lagoon where you can spend the day relaxing – the perfect chill out after teaching children in London!
Another must is seeing the northern lights! The northern lights are best seen in winter so be ready to brave the cold. But standing in an open field when it is -11 Celsius is definitely worth it, because the view is incredible. The northern lights are hard to describe, you really need to experience this natural sensation for yourself.
Turkey is another must-do. I highly recommend it for all Aussie travellers. People are friendly, the culture is vibrant, and and food is utterly mouth-watering. To cover off the major destinations, we decided to join a 10 day tour which took us to all the tourist hot spots. This also took out the hassle of booking accommodation and travel between cities as tour company took care of all that. The main two highlights from our tour are below;
Gallipoli – It was surreal visiting Gallipoli and ANZAC Cove as it has such a fascinating history, particularly for Australians.
Cappadocia – You may have seen the amazing photographs of the 1000 or more hot air balloons in the air floating above the unique Cappadocia landscape. This experience is so incredible. A real must do if you have time, make it happen as the pictures don’t lie – magical.
To round out my top 5 I have left the best till last and it is …. the capital city of Great Britain. Wonderful, exiting, lovely London.
London is, frankly, mind-blowing for a young Aussie couple fresh from the country! As an Australian teaching couple, we were inundated with choices of schools to work in, and were grateful for an agency we could trust to steer us in the direction of schools they knew we would like working in. We met such a range of inspiring, challenging, rewarding and unique children. On the weekend we spent time exploring the streets of London.
One thing London does incredibly well is food but what I loved the best was the street food! Nothing cures a hangover better on a Sunday then the poutine at Brick Lane Market. I would say this gives the Canadian dish a good benchmark in London. But if soggy chips aren’t your thing there is a plethora of other options.
Parks galore – London has a many different styles of park, all of them lovely, real treat to relax in after a week’s teaching. My favourite park in London was London Fields. On a warm sunny day you will find friendly local London folk enjoying a BBQ & playing games.
Events – London seems to always have something going on. From pop-up pug cafes to Bogan Bingo, and everything in-between. If you’re a music fan then you’re in SO MUCH LUCK. There are cheap gigs every night of the week. Of course a huge number of internationally renowned artists also commonly play in London, although these gigs aren’t quite as cheap!
Sports – London is a sports lover’s dream. Football (soccer) is huge in England and if you can’t afford to go to a premier league, game the local games are just as fun to watch. England enjoys its rugby and cricket games too. On top of English sports, some American sports play a handful of games in London as well. NFL (gridiron) play 4 games while NBA (basketball) play 1. For those Aussies that love AFL, there is also a local league which you can play in or go and support (There is also a huge girl’s league, so it’s not only for the guys). GO the Mighty North London Lions!!
London is endless. And it has so much to it. I cannot recommend this highly enough to you!
And now, I’m home…
My life since living & teaching in London is enriched.
I’ve done, been and seen many things, places and had times of great wonder, that I would never experience here in Australia.
My girlfriend used her London experience to secure a teaching position here back in Melbourne. Her current school valued her experience in the UK.
For me, I’ve used my teaching experience to help other Australian teachers seek employment in the UK. I am very passionate about supporting your journey to England. Check out our article on Where to Live in London for extra information about where to hang your hat in this fantastic city!
Happy to share any more travel recommendations with you!