Post by: Prospero | January, 19, 2016
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Preparing to Move From Canada to Teach in the UK

Canadian Teacher in London

Altogether Now: My Bags Are Packed I’m Ready To Go…

My name is Erin and I have just returned from my own year living and teaching in north London and I now work for the Canadian office of Prospero Teaching, located in Toronto.

I signed my own Guaranteed Pay contract with Prospero Teaching in January 2014 and moved to teach in the UK in London that August and even before school started, was offered a full-time position at a Catholic high school. I’m a Type A personality, so planning my move to the UK seemed very daunting because I felt there was so much to organise. But the truth is, there are three key things to plan and the rest is easy! The only thing I will add is DO NOT pack the day before you leave; doing that for a week trip to Cuba is one thing but not recommended for a year or longer move to the UK.


The first thing I want to mention is applying for your work visa. This will allow you to actually fulfill the contract you sign with Prospero Teaching, whether that’s a Full Time or Guaranteed Pay one. The most common visa Canadians apply for is the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa. This allows you to work and live in the UK for 2 years but is non-renewable. You should complete the online application only 3 months before you intend to travel to the UK and then have an in person interview at one of the UK’s Visa Application Centres in Canada. Now, I panicked about this interview. What if I had filled out the form wrong? What if my documents weren’t accepted? What if I was being watched to see if I’d mentioned wanting to kidnap the Queen? But it turned out there was absolutely nothing to worry about; it’s really just an opportunity to review your application, check your documents are all included, take your fingerprints and then you leave! Afterwards you get updates on your application status and email notification once it’s been authorised.

Alternatively, there are two more options to gain the right to work and live in the UK. One is the UK Ancestry Visa which you can obtain only if you have a grandparent or parent born in the UK. This allows you to work and live in the UK for 5 years and can be renewed, allowing you to remain in the UK much longer. The third option is obtaining European citizenship if you, a parent or a grandparent were born overseas. Being a European citizen gives you the right to live, work and travel through the European Union. Each country has different criteria for citizenship application, so it is best to consult specific embassies or websites for individual country requirements.


Obviously, you will need to fly to get to the UK and you may (or may not) have quite a bit of luggage to bring with you. Flights through Iceland and Hungary often include a second bag in your ticket price and an hour or so stopover means you don’t have to pay at the counter to add luggage. Additionally, the whole flight also tends to be cheaper. Another possible way to save money is to book a return trip if you know ahead of time that you’ll be returning for Christmas or another specific occasion. Sometimes booking the return in advance can save you money instead of trying to book during high season. Overnight flights are a good option because you can sleep on the flight and get a whole first day in the UK. Alternatively arriving in the evening allows you to head straight to bed and hopefully avoid too much jet-lag. Either way, a prepaid taxi will be waiting and take you straight to your hostel where you’ll benefit from two nights courtesy of Prospero, meaning once you land you get a break from all the planning.


The last thing I want to talk about is housing because this really will be just research until you actually make it to the UK. Take it from someone who tried, you cannot find housing or book viewings until you are actually there in person. The housing market in London moves SO quickly! It is an excellent idea to prepare by researching specific areas ahead of time so you know where to look. I knew I would be living in north London but there are so many boroughs that once I arrived in the UK I realised I needed to look into the area more. So my tip is keep a tube map and/or a map of the area you have chosen while doing your research; this helps you see the area in relation to other tube lines, central London, other cities and if you have a full-time contract, your school’s area.  The consultants at Prospero Teaching also have flyers they designed to help you learn more about the different areas and find the one that best suits you. Do not make any viewing appointments until either the day you leave for the UK or your first day there. Setting up in your hostel or a coffee shop and starting your search is a great way to get organised and you can often book viewings for the very next day!

I hope my blog helps any Canadian teachers trying to figure out what they should do before they start teaching in the UK! I can only tell you that living and teaching in the UK will definitely be a phenomenal experience and that the Canadian office and UK consultants will assist all Canadian applicants in any way we can.  If you are thinking of making the move to the UK or have any specific questions don’t hesitate to send an email to or call us toll free on (+1) 416-646-6611. We’d love to hear from you.

Are you thinking about coming the UK to teach? You can see the range of Prospero Teaching’s teaching jobs in the UK at our jobs search. You can read more about how we support and help our overseas teachers in London in this blog entitled Teachers New to the UK and Prospero Teaching.

Are there any questions you have about teaching in the UK? Do ask us here and we’ll gladly answer them.

Maybe you’re an overseas teacher who’s lived and taught here and have some advice you’d like to share?

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