I asked three people who’ve moved to the UK from other European countries how the quality of life in the UK compares to the quality of life back home. Here’s a little summary of their responses…


Image via Flickr: MagdaMontemor

UK vs. Ireland

Carolyn from 9th place Ireland has lived in the UK for 8 years.

“Work/life balance isn’t good in the UK. I work longer hours.  In Ireland they know how to live outside of work. I’ll give you an example; I was in a pub in Dublin and some Bankers on their lunch break sat on our table. They weren’t talking about their jobs or work, they were talking about their pets. I only knew they were bankers from their badges.”

“When it comes to money, nothing seems to works out.  Salaries are crazy in the UK. You can get a lot more for your money in Ireland in terms of rent.

“There is more opportunity. There is also a lot more to do; big days out, theatres etc. Everything seems grander. I would still rather live in the UK than back home.”

UK vs. Germany

Silke from 6th place Germany has lived in London for 3 years.

“It’s the basics, like transport, that are worse in the UK.  What really takes away your quality of life in the UK is things like the way your journey into work,  you are squashed and the wait is always longer.”

“The health service is better in Germany, you get an appointment very quickly and everything just seems more fresh and modern. The decor in some of the UK doctor’s surgeries looks very 1960’s.”

“I love the culture in London, the museums for example.  We have quite a lot of cultural offer in Germany as well, but most of London’s museums and cultural offers are for free. In Germany you usually have to pay an entrance fee which stops many people from visiting museums etc. spontaneously or between two appointments for example.”

UK vs. Italy

Fabrizio from 5th place Italy has lived in London for 5 years.

“I prefer the climate and the food in Italy; we have better quality raw materials. For example, even the water tastes better, which means the coffee taste nicer. The vegetables and the olive oil are fresh and so the pizzas taste better.  Small things that make a big difference. There seems to be more flavourings and additives in UK food.

“Living does seem easier in the UK. Though it really does depend whether you are in North or South Italy. In southern Italy, for example, unemployment rates are at around 27%.  And, the cost of living in Italy doesn’t seem relative to what you earn.”

“UK public services like buses and tubes are better in the UK, in terms of regularity and quality of service. There are less delays (believe it or not!) In Italy, you know when you’re leaving, but you never know when you’re going to get to where you’ve got to go.”

A few differences in opinion. Generally speaking, the British culture seems to have a lot of appeal, and perhaps goes part way to making up for dissatisfaction with other things like working hours. One thing worth noting is that these three have all spent a lot of their time in the UK living in London, which isn’t necessarily representative of the rest of the country. 

Have  you recently moved to Europe? Or from  Europe to the UK? 

Has your quality of life improved?