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Choosing where to live in England!

Aussie Dreamer :

Agree; there's plenty of Hospitality jobs; but yet to see any offering accommodations.   However, being a Nanny do!

Quite a lot offer accommodation Aussie Dreamer, I lived all over the UK living in such digs.

That's great then.   SimCity; I can personally only speak from job listings I read online!

There have been a lot of solid suggestions in the last few posts, many suggesting places where a room comes with the job.
I think these are excellent as the young lady will be alone, so these offer a level of safety and security, as well as a salary to keep her going.

Nice job.  :top:

Readings Shopping Center is within The Oracle
They update this link on a as needed basis. 
Jobs.  LUSH would provide you with long-term employment. 
https://www.theoracle.com/jobs

Fred :

There have been a lot of solid suggestions in the last few posts, many suggesting places where a room comes with the job.
I think these are excellent as the young lady will be alone, so these offer a level of safety and security, as well as a salary to keep her going.

Nice job.  :top:

My first live-in job with a hotel was in Jersey, Channel Islands. I only went for the summer, I ended up staying for 2 years in 2 different hotels. As well as a roof over my head, I also good free meals. My Co-workers were young and on our free days we would hang out, go to a club sometimes or a coffee in the day. money was good as it was tax-free and the tips were great.

And Fred, this is why I love Expat.com where people can help each other, a whole better than comparison sites. It's where you can get first hand knowledge from people with past experiences.

Good job folk  :)

Check this figure; but in 2015 you could earn up to £12,700 before you begin paying Income Taxes on anything earned above this amount.

My experience was with many Chinese communities in a few parts of England, so I gained a better than fair understanding of how things worked, and the needs of the businesses.
That lead to my first suggestion as I know her language skills will probably get her a job quickly, and with a room and free food.
More so since the purge of illegal workers some years ago left these businesses with a major shortage.

However, many other very good suggestions have been put forward that could easily give this lady other possibilities.

Thanks for your excellent ideas,

Riley, what's your plans on completing your education?  GCSE's / A-Levels / Uni etc? You are arriving in October, a few weeks after colleges open. Not much happens at the start so you wouldn't be far behind. I wonder if it's possible to enrol?  Study part-time? Does this figure in your plans?

So everything is gonna happen in about 2 months as I'm moving in late October. If you're interested, I will give you guys updates when I eventually arrive in UK! I'm starting to make solid plans now so I still hope you guys can still be around lest I should need any further information!

I had good grades in my previous education but things didn't quite work out between me and my school, so that's why I quitted! For the moment, I think I will just try living the "adult life" and work to make a living. I look for having qualifications and experience rather than going to school to study. It worries me that people are gonna treat me like an 18-year-old loser who unwisely gives up education but I hope I can impress my first employer that I'm not. Anyway, thanks for asking!
P.S. I'm gonna write a CV in order to apply for a job, any ideas for someone like me who doesn't have much to put on it?  Do I have to bring along my previous academic results or anything?

So if I get a job with accomodation and free meals, will there be a proof of address that I need in order to open a bank account, get an NI number and stuff? Is it considered a permanent address?

Employers are likely to want proof of education so certificates will be required,.
I suspect our Australian friend will advise if the original is required or a copy will do.

They've tended to be content with information written on CV. 
However, I'd have originals handy at home plus a copy of them to leave with them should it ever be requested?

What's required is a great CV written up in the way UK employees prefer.  My hubs actually ended up getting his rewritten by a professional CV Writing Compsny in UK.  Often you'll need to go through their HR 1st to get a interview!  As things are preferred differently on CV's here by HR Company's than in USA and OZ and you've often got to get past HR 1st to get into a interview.

Best to bring proof of everything just incase needed.

You really need to get somewhere to live first, then use the evidence of a UK address to obtain a bank account and job.  As you have someone here basically offering accommodation, it may well be a good jumping off point from which you can explore and move on.......Reading isn't the most attractive town, but is close to London, better than Slough and cheaper than, say Oxford. 

Everyone will have an opinion about where it is best to live.  I recommend that you come and experience things for yourself and make your own decision.

As others have said, with your education, minimum wage jobs are probably what you would expect to get.....waitress, care work and so on.  In my opinion, the minimum wage really just covers basic living costs......the UK really is a very expensive country - you really don't appreciate how true this is until you live elsewhere and go to visit.  I know of several Kenyans who got stuck in the UK, as they were unable to raise the cost of an airfare home, from their pay. I would recommend you purchase a return ticket, say for a years time, which will give you the opportunity to get out if you need to.

Cost of living; it is generally considerably cheaper to live in the north, but apart from say Manchester and Leeds and maybe Newcastle upon Tyne, the north tends to be economically worse off and unemployment higher. London is unaffordable for anyone on low pay, in my opinion.

I lived in the Maidstone area of Kent.  Arguably the best climate and beautiful countryside. I kept my living costs down by renting a room in a house, which worked out well.

Unfortunate news for you Riley;

I've just received a email from my Landlords Rental Agent with regards to hosting a Short-Term Guest for more than a week or 2 here in our rental properties Rear Cottage.  They sent our request off to the Landlord who currently works and lives in Australia.....   Unfortunately he declined our request; stating the most time we could Host any Guests is 2 weeks (other than Family and then permission is sought from Landlord if it's going to become more than a 2 week time frame). 
So I'm afraid Riley 2 weeks, that's the best we can accommodate you for is a maximum of 2 weeks.  Although this Cottage does contain a Bathroom and laundry; it doesn't contain any cooking facilities of any kind!   Oxford Road is only steps away - filled with a variety of Eating establishments including several Pubs.

We've lived and worked in Australia, USA & UK.
Hubby had held a Senior Managers Position in both OZ & USA yet even he had to endure a relocation from where we chose to settle - in Cardiff, Wales where we had lived for 12 months, made friends and loved this area a lot - to relocate to live in Reading where there were more job opportunities; yet hubby still had to accept a £40,K Pay-Cut to end a 20 month job search to get accepted into a job which was a non-management role: employed in UK.  He had 32 years of Electronics Engineering experience - 17 years in a Senior Team Management role within a Global Telecommunications Company.  I'm yet to find a job for myself and I'll also be expecting to be having to accept a £20,K pay cut myself too when I do finally get a job offer!    So we've had to take a huge Lifestyle hit; thankfully there's only 2 of us to feed and support now or we'd be definitely struggling living here in UK.   Even so; we've had to adjust our lifestyle to fit our new lower income budget!  We are also Renters instead of a homeowner too!  We've previously owned in OZ & USA. 

Life is definitely not always greener on the other side!    You need to ask yourself why you really wish to relocate and for how long and Is it worth it?   It'd be much better for you if you found another friend to join you on this journey for you both to share this experience with each other!  Even if it meant a delay in travel plans.  Plus your heading into unknown waters with UK unsure of how things will pan out with this Brexit turmoil still to come UK's way??

That's good advice from both Longonot62 and Aussie Dreamer.

But actually you could theoretically live almost anywhere in the UK. The thing to remember is that you don't really need to be rich to live in a city or anywhere in the UK. The people who work in fast food restaurants and Chinese restaurants and takeaways and coffee shops and so on are not earning a big salary. But they can still work in London and Reading and Nottingham and Winchester and anywhere else.

If you are prepared to do those kinds of serving and waitress jobs and live more of a student type lifestyle and share accommodation with flatmates then it may work out for you. And you don't need to think too seriously about the future because if it doesn't work out or you begin to miss HK then you can simply go back.

Gosh, you are young, adventurous and obvious willing to give it a try. You only need a big salary if you want to live in a nice house or nice apartment with a good standard. But But I've struggled too in the past but something always comes along, a job, new opportunities, new friends that can help, whatever. The important thing is to be positive and try your best.

I'm an entrepreneur, and I just don't like to see too much negativity. You have to think positively and you have to adapt and meet people and just go for it. You can live in the North of England or the South or anywhere. But I believe if you set you mind on something and work hard at it that you can succeed, and by that I mean survive in the UK. If you don't succeed then try something else.

I said I lived in Heng Fa Chuen in Hong Kong before, I had a job with HK$8,000 a month which wasn't a a lot, and Hong Kong is and was a really expensive place to live and a bit of a struggle in the beginning for me. But within three years I'd set up my first company. I actually poached a Senior Merchandiser from Country Road's Buying Office in HK to come work for me as my first employee.

My point is that all the advice given here is good, but ultimately you will make your decisions when you get to the UK and adapt and do whatever is necessary to try make it. Just think positively. When you are there, you will make new friends for certain, and they will help and give advice that is perhaps better than the advice that we can give here. Just think positively.

OK that's my lot on this topic. It seems most other posters do not agree with me. Anyway Good luck.

I just Googled Backpackers / Youth Hostels throughout UK and there's many of both available throughout most areas of UK:  for you may find this a good place for you to begin your accommodation there?  Those staying there may be on a similar path to yourself; or have experienced stuff your thinking of.   Plus most will be of a similar age group and ethnic group for you to possibly establish a friendship to Network with beyond their stay?   Most are Budget friendly too!

Hubs and I are not at all experienced in guiding you through information your going to be wanting to know; given we've only been living in Reading area 5 months and UK 19 months ourselves; and so still learning too!   We do wish you well in your endeavors though Riley; this has been a active thread filled with plenty of information that has hopefully helped you in your research in preparation of your future journey throughout UK.

Do you guys know if I can work without a bank account for a while? It takes time to open one especially when I don't have proof of address instantly. I think I will use my NI number letter as proof of address to open an account but it takes a month to do that.

I had to show my new employers proof of Address and Bank Details for them to deposit pay to qualify for the job.  Not sure if Bank Account is necessary as I can't see why without they can't just pay you with a Cheque; but that then needs to be Cashed into a Bank account anyways??   It's a sticky situation initially for you that's the issue?   I know we couldn't get a Bank Account without proof of an address.  So not until after we got our Rental Lease approved with paperwork to prove we've paid and it's ours to  live in.

Hansson :

But actually you could theoretically live almost anywhere in the UK. The thing to remember is that you don't really need to be rich to live in a city or anywhere in the UK. The people who work in fast food restaurants and Chinese restaurants and takeaways and coffee shops and so on are not earning a big salary. But they can still work in London and Reading and Nottingham and Winchester and anywhere else.

The people in the take aways aren't top earners, but they don't pay for their room and food.
As for the rest, what about their quality of life?

Living isn't the same as existing (assuming they survive the crime rates in the cities).

A new arrival in England, especially a young girl, alone, with no job, limited cash, and little knowledge of how things work, should not start her life in a city with no friends to fall back on.

Yes, she could live in London, but staying in some lousy room in a high crime area is all she could afford.
I've been to many such dumps, and I didn't feel safe as evening fell. At that time I was an extremely fit  guy with over 15 years of martial arts training and an experienced second dan full contact fighter, still active in the ring, but that means bugger all when you meet a gang with knives, and there are plenty around those areas. I've taken on two or three in street fights, beating them easily as they had nothing more than fat mouths and testosterone, but not the gangs you see in many of those areas.

This is a really bad idea, one I'd go as far to say is irresponsible.

Aussie Dreamer :

I had to show my new employers proof of Address and Bank Details for them to deposit pay to qualify for the job.  Not sure if Bank Account is necessary as I can't see why without they can't just pay you with a Cheque; but that then needs to be Cashed into a Bank account anyways??   It's a sticky situation initially for you that's the issue?   I know we couldn't get a Bank Account without proof of an address.  So not until after we got our Rental Lease approved with paperwork to prove we've paid and it's ours to  live in.

Between drug money and terrorist cash, the banks took a tough stance, and that leaves a lot of people with problems when opening an account.

A possible alternative could be a prepaid credit card in place of cash, but you'd have to be really careful with it. I'm guessing the OP has a bank account in HK (or should get one quick). Perhaps a HSBC would be a good idea as they will help customers get HSBC accounts when they move countries.
That might only apply to long term customers, but they were very helpful when I moved to Indonesia.
Most foreign bank cards can be used in the UK, but there will be charges on transactions.

We are with HSBC and found they were not at all helpful with International Money Transfers.  Plus whilst overseas on vacation they put a block on our account because it was used overseas.  So we tried to phone them and they don't have a 24 hour help line that's got people working; only a pre recorded message and when we did find someone to talk to they informed us their trouble shooting team only works between 7am - 7pm.  This was at 3am in a Airport Terminal.  Thankfully we had our Barclays account that provided us with cash.   When we did speak to a person the next day; then they put a note on our files that we were traveling overseas between this date to this date.   So we were fine for the rest of our trip. 
However, we font wish to have a Bank babysitting our every transaction - we are adults who don't need a bank needing to know each time B4 we travel OS.    So can't recommend HSBC.  Choose 1 with a 24 hour Helpline that's actually operated with people who can trouble shoot any issues instantly!   The moment we reached that person the next day it was resolved instantly!   That wouldn't have helped us had we been trying to pay a Restaurant Bill though!    We've been surprised how many businesses don't accept anything but CASH...   Even a car mechanic required our £357.00 invoice be paid in Cash.  So having access to available Cash is important living here in UK.  Cash is KING; and what's mostly used here in UK by many Businesses!

Best idea is to find a bank in HK that is also available here in UK; and chat with them - don't presume the same rules will apply at their bank here in UK.   Different Country - May not have same user conditions?     This was the case when we moved from Australia to USA.   Although we had same bank; it was like re opening a new bank account as it was in a new Country!  So we were still required to prove we resided in USA.  It'll these little details that matter when moving overseas.   We actually brought with us £30,K in GBP Cash to help us through until these things got sorted out.   But we didn't have a bank account to even get it safely placed into a Safety Deposit Box.   At that time their wasn't a business with them for public either.   That business came to Cardiff 6 months later.  So it was very Nerving having that LGE amount of cash on us until we could offload it (after background checks were cleared) to pay for our Rental and 1st car!  Took us first 3-6 months to sort a lot of the finer details out.  We found the only way we could transfer our Funds across from USA was to set up a PayPal account entirely dedicated to Transferring our funds across in £10,K lots daily through until we got it sell across into our new HSBC Bank Account.  Very frustrating as when we moved to USA; we were able to transfer any funds between Australian Bank & USA Bank online and these were 2 different Banks.  Unfortunately; we Couldn't do same between USA & UK.

Yup I use HSBC too. You usually need to inform them in advance when you go traveling so that your cards continue working overseas.

Recently HSBC have been fined massive amounts of money for not doing enough to prevent money laundering with some of their clients. This also includes clients who use a personal account for business, which is also not permitted, and those who do so may face having their account closed at very short notice. The owner of "The Expat" magazine in Malaysia had his account closed a short while ago, and he talked about it in a recent issue of his magazine where he slammed HSBC.

The advantage of HSBC is that they are international and friendly with lots of branches in the UK and in many countries overseas. I have always found them helpful and haven't had many problems, although they do make mistakes and seem a bit clueless at times.

But as far as choosing a bank in Hong Kong which also exists in the UK, then HSBC is a good idea. Other banks in Hong Kong include the Bank of America, Bank of East Asia, Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank etc, and these are not common in the UK. So having an HSBC account in Hong Kong may help opening an account in the UK.

Fred :
Hansson :

But actually you could theoretically live almost anywhere in the UK. The thing to remember is that you don't really need to be rich to live in a city or anywhere in the UK. The people who work in fast food restaurants and Chinese restaurants and takeaways and coffee shops and so on are not earning a big salary. But they can still work in London and Reading and Nottingham and Winchester and anywhere else.

At that time I was an extremely fit  guy with over 15 years of martial arts training and an experienced second dan full contact fighter, still active in the ring...I've taken on two or three in street fights, beating them easily as they had nothing more than fat mouths and testosterone

You had a point to prove, didn't you? As for the rest of us peaceful folks who don't go out of our way putting practices into action, I haven't had any trouble in London. On a serious note, I don't think it's that bad in London. Living in the 'good' parts of London isn't necessary any safer. Actually no where in London is particularly safe. I guess this is because of the fact the rich and less well-off are actually living side by side. Multi-million pound properties beside Estates/Tower blocks. This probably explains why even 'posh' areas suffer from the same problems that 'dumps' suffer from. High crime rates:

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Link: http://oi68.tinypic.com/dzjrcm.jpg

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Link: http://oi66.tinypic.com/1z1e5uw.jpg

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If you look closely on the last image, even Buckingham Palace, and 10 Downing Street are within areas of 'high' crime rate. What's interesting is the fact within the same area, the crime rates can be very different. This makes sense, as I said, the rich and poor live close to each other.

Thx for that wealth of interesting information.  Yes agree; it should also make it easier to transfer money across from HK as well, for her parents to make Riley's deposits since she said her folks were supporting her initially financially!

Thought you'd like to read Riley; Reading isn't such a great option 4U after reading this Top Story in Today's Reading News:

Reading has higher youth unemployment than South East average - Get Reading
http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/busine … ext_Story1

Maybe Portsmouth is the place you should be considering your Starting point?   It's easily accessible to London by Train and has a smorgasbord of Restaurants and Retail establishments along with Pubs and Hospitality and Accommodation types of places where you'd probably quickly find Work.   Plus It's a lovely Navy Based Waterfront Town with a Heavy tourist base too!   It'd be a lovely place to start and bet you'd want to stay!

XB23 :

If you look closely on the last image, even Buckingham Palace, and 10 Downing Street are within areas of 'high' crime rate. What's interesting is the fact within the same area, the crime rates can be very different. This makes sense, as I said, the rich and poor live close to each other.

Buck house and Downing street have security fences and lots of armed guards, the other places do not.
That leave a small hole in your argument.

Fred :
XB23 :

If you look closely on the last image, even Buckingham Palace, and 10 Downing Street are within areas of 'high' crime rate. What's interesting is the fact within the same area, the crime rates can be very different. This makes sense, as I said, the rich and poor live close to each other.

Buck house and Downing street have security fences and lots of armed guards, the other places do not.
That leave a small hole in your argument.

Well yes, they are well protected from the crimes in the area. All I said was they fall within areas of high crime rate, which they do according to the Metropolitan Police, not me. Of course they are given special attention to stop criminals targeting them, and for good reasons. I'm not encouraging her to come and live in London. That's not what I'm arguing. I don't know as much as you about the UK or Chinese communities so I didn't come up with any suggestions. But I've lived in all sorts of 'dumps' in the city, and my brother was nearly 'shanked' (stabbed) in St.John's Wood, and mother was robbed in Holland Park. While nothing happened to us when we lived in Hackney, Peckham, and Brixton (not particularly known to be great areas). Whether she pays £90 a week for accommodation in a 'dump' or £500 a week in Chelsea or wherever, you can be a victim of crime anywhere in London because people of all backgrounds are living together in the same area. As an example, I lived in Worlds End Estate, which is 30 seconds walk from where Roman Abramovich bought a £25 million mansion on Cheyne Walk. There are other estates/tower blocks beside the mansion. As expected, the mansion was protected from any problems the 'riff raffs' in the area may cause.

I lived up North. As foreigners, we had our windows smashed in a few times, and clearly not made welcomed. I certainly believe the 'dumps' up North are a lot worse than the 'dumps' in London for a foreigner (I don't know about the attitudes towards Chinese). I haven't personally experienced any explicit racism or trouble in London. But we have plenty of time up North (actually this was one of the reasons we considered London). So that's why I'm defending London. As to whether she should live here, that's not something I'm going to talk about. But can she survive and thrive? I believe so. Can she avoid trouble no matter where she lives? I believe so. Can she be a victim in the 'best' parts of London? Certainly.

That's right XB23, I must agree with you.

She could be a victim anywhere in the UK. The very nice and posh areas have problems too, that's why burglars target those places. St John's Wood and Holland Park are both nice areas but as you say anyone can be attacked anywhere.

I like Portsmouth a lot, especially Hayling Island, and all the places along the coast there, Havant, Emsworth and on to West Sussex. Perhaps even Bournemouth or Poole too. Or, Hastings, Taunton, Newquay is nice, Malvern, Exeter, Chichester, Wokingham. Plymouth is a dump. The people are apparently very friendly in Glasgow....

Actually I think it has become pretty obvious that we can name almost every town and city on the UK, but ultimately Riley will come to the UK and make up her own mind. Every place has some risk because today's society is changing and we read about more violent crimes in the UK all the time. If someone is not being knifed or shot or mugged or abducted, they are being hit on a bicycle by a truck or smashed into a wall by a truck or hit by a stolen car in a police chase, or drown off Camber Sands whatever. That's life.

My guess is that Riley will settle for a city or close to a city. Hopefully she will let us know how she gets on and where she decides to live and I wish her good luck.

hi hows your search going? there are ways to work without a bank account anywhere. i guess it comes down to who you know. feel free to pm.

Hansson :

She could be a victim anywhere in the UK. The very nice and posh areas have problems too, that's why burglars target those places. St John's Wood and Holland Park are both nice areas but as you say anyone can be attacked anywhere.

Yes. A few days ago, someone got stabbed in the Royal Borough of Kensington in broad daylight, and another on Portobello Road. It happens anywhere, anytime in London & the UK unfortunately. Living/working/travelling in a nice area isn't going to protect you from those intent on committing crime.

Hansson :

Every place has some risk because today's society is changing and we read about more violent crimes in the UK all the time. If someone is not being knifed or shot or mugged or abducted, they are being hit on a bicycle by a truck or smashed into a wall by a truck or hit by a stolen car in a police chase, or drown off Camber Sands whatever. That's life.

Yes, everywhere in the UK has it's issues, not just London. One of my brothers moved to London alone around the age of 21, before the rest of us, with rubbish GCSE's, no A-Levels or degree, but managed to quickly make contacts, find something, and settle in. He's that type of person. I wouldn't of survived at all if I came alone with little mainly because of who I am. So I can definitely see Fred's point, as not everyone can manage it, and yes can quickly end up in trouble, which is true without doubt. If I was the OP of this thread, I would follow Fred's advice and others who suggested to start elsewhere, as that's what personally suits me. People are different of course, so some do manage somehow to start in London, so I think it's more about the person, than the city. It would be a good idea for Riley to speak directly to people from her own background living in various parts of the UK, and learn from their experiences. And more importantly, make as many contacts as possible.

How have I managed to stay safe in London and as a foreigner in the UK?

- Don't stare at anyone. I don't know what it is about some people, but they seem to think if you turn away first after your eyes meet, that they have 'won' whatever it is to be won. Stare-down? Well I didn't know I was in a challenge with them...So if someone stares at you, or you are caught staring at them, don't rise to it, and quickly turn away and let them 'win'! Seriously you can find yourself in trouble if you don't let them 'win'. Some very sad people indeed.

- I stopped cycling because of reckless drivers. Otherwise I would of ended up knocked down or attacked by a driver at some point. So for the sake of my own well-being, and to avoid altercations, I no longer cycle.

- If you're driving, be very patient. Some will loudly beep at you, shout at you, for no reason when it's them who are in the wrong. Don't react and turn it into a shouting-match, rather remain silent, or apologize to them especially if there is potential of it escalating.

- Always apologize, no matter who is right. And don't expect to get an apology. If they don't apologize, ignore them and move on. Don't stand there and argue.

- Don't speak to anyone, whether they push in the queue or whatever they do. Let them do it. Never get involved or show emotions. You don't know who you're dealing with. Someone died as a result of a single punch for telling someone not to cycle on the pavement. Probably plenty of other similar examples. It's not worth it. Look up statistics on mental health. There is nutters out there walking the streets. Keep your distance.

- Live as if no one is living in the property. Don't give your neighbours or anyone any excuse to make a fuss about something. Some people have nothing better to do than look for something to complain about. It gives meaning to their otherwise boring lives.

- Careful who you befriend. You can get caught up in their trouble whether you're a law-abiding citizen or not.

That's pretty much it. Kept me safe no matter where I lived in the UK (in total, I've spent about three decades in the country so I'm not a newbie). Keep to yourself, put your pride to one side and always say sorry for everything & anything no matter if you're right (when dealing with strangers in public). And try your best where possible to avoid anything that can lead to a confrontation with them. And remember, no matter if you're born in this country, or how long you've spent here, you're still a johnny foreigner. So my advice is aimed at foreigners like me. I'm born in Leicester, have a Geordie accent, have the Passport, but still!

Hey that is again such good advice, and telling of how it really is. I mean not just in the UK, but in Paris and so many other cities and towns in the world. Today's youth seem too aggressive and looking to argue and fight. People are more stressed and that results in road rage. But read the news and you can see that it happens everywhere in the country.

I have relatives living in Paris and they learned to street fight to protect themselves. It's funny listening to them explain how to do it, where to hit the other person in order to incapacitate him in some way. But they also say you have to cross the road when there is a gang and not make eye contact. That was a few years ago and fortunately they are both doing well in studies and business now.

But getting beaten up in London or anywhere in the UK isn't something that most people come across, I mean it is actually pretty rare, we just read about it in the news from time to time, an incident in this town, a knifing in that city.

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