Travel Confessions: Stuart Burvill on his London gap year
After spending six months touring through the UK and Europe, Student Flights customer and recent uni graduate Stuart Burvill jet-set to London with the help of our London Jumpstart Pack. He worked in London for three months then set off for Barcelona by way of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Brighton. Here, Stuart tells us about getting settled in London, travelling around Europe and his gap year in the UK.
What made you decide to go on a gap year?
I went straight from school to university and having just finished my bachelor degree, I was 19, I had never travelled by myself, and I was bored and ready for adventure.
Where did you land a job in London?
I was with the Egoli recruitment group - they trained me and got me work catering with hotels such as Claridges, Connaught, the Marriott (my favourite), Novotel and the Riverbank.
How did the Jumpstart Pack make it easier to integrate into London life?
It helped me find a place to live and a job, which was good as I had never lived away from home. I was surrounded by fellow expats in similar scenarios - I also travelled with a number of them, one highlight was renting a house in Edinburgh for Hogmanay on New Year's Eve .
So you made some great friends and contacts through the Jumpstart Pack?
Oh yes, the social life was phenomenal, I made many great friends. There's something about expat communities that makes it adventurous - I wanted to see, meet and experience everything.
What was one of your favourite things about living in London?
Having grown up in a very relaxed, laidback, quiet environment in Brisbane, I almost felt like a country boy in the big city! It was sensory overload, so much to see and do, new people to meet - it keeps you on your toes and on the move. Also there was never a dull moment working in the hotel industry.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt - or a tip you can give fellow travellers?
Learnt a lot of lessons - I was young and naïve - it was a good starting point to learning to be independent and survive on my own. My tip would be: be open to everything, take everything in. I recommend going alone so you can do what you want to do and avoid anything that gets in your way!
Where was favourite place to travel to in your time off?
Actually, it’s pretty hard to narrow it down to one! Favourite places include the French Riviera, Venice, Dublin, Edinburgh and Barcelona.