Expat Voices: Sherina Zain on living in London
At age sixteen, Singaporean Sherina dreamt of moving to London and is now living her dream. She finds more than the weather can be cold in the "buzzing" capital, though.
Name: Sherina Zain
Nationality: Citizen of Singapore
City of residence: London
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Senior Product Developer (fashion accessories, timepieces & jewellery)
Reason for moving to the UK: Career
Lived in the UK for: 10 years, on and off!
What was your first impression of the UK?
Bright lights, big city! :) I first visited London at sixteen and was completely blown away by the cosmopolitan mix. I have never seen such a melting pot of world citizens. Couple that with a distinct culture, gorgeous historical architecture and amazing retail scene. I knew from that moment on that I would move to London when I grew up! :)
What do you think of the food?
The array of international cuisines on my doorstep is simply out of this world. London has made me completely adventurous when it comes to wining and dining. There is nothing you cannot find here. Malaysian? Check. Nigerian? Check. Greek? Check. Moroccan? Check. Tex-Mex? Check. I could go on and on...
The beauty of being in London is that if you are daring, you can indulge the taste buds of the whole world and its sister here. Whatever cuisine you can think of, London has it. You don't have to travel the world just to taste it.
Although saying that, I absolutely love to tuck into British traditional fares like fish and chips and Sunday roast. These dishes are so unfairly underestimated.
What do you think of the shopping in the UK?
A true shopper's paradise! From fashionista to bargainista, it has something that is guaranteed to cater to everyone's budget and needs.
Londoners, especially, have a quirky yet distinct sense of style. Everyone is individualistic in their fashion takes and the retail scene reflects that, from clothing to technology right down to food.
London high street retailers are also incredibly trend driven; much more so than most other countries. Almost all the fashion trends on the catwalk are filtered into the high street at lightning pace.
Being a product developer myself, I am lucky to be amongst those to shape and influence the UK retail scene. It's a truly dynamic industry!
What do you appreciate about living in the UK?
London has almost everything you can think of. The cultural, entertainment and night scenes are extremely vibrant. You seriously cannot be bored in London.
Personally, I am absolutely smitten with the stylish cocktail bars and traditional afternoon teas. I also love being able to escape to the endless galleries and West End theatres at a moment's notice. In the rare summers, the countless green parks are divinely perfect for picnics and walks.
London is also extremely well linked to Europe and the USA, making travelling a very feasible and affordable option.
What do you find most frustrating about living in the UK?
I am going to be cliche and say the crappy weather.
Oh and being a Londoner, we are all rather dependent on Transport for London (TFL) which at the best of times is pretty much unreliable. It seems that every day, there is one issue or another that is bound to delay you from reaching your final destination. The challenges of commuting really frustrate me on a daily basis. Ironically, it now seems the norm.
What puzzles you about the UK and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Why is it always grey? Why so dreary? Why is it always raining? Is that snow? But the weatherman said it's going to be warm today..?
I truly, madly, deeply miss sunshine.
How does the quality of life in the UK compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
I'm not sure about the whole of the UK, not having lived there at all. I can only speak about my experience of being in London.
As one of the world's biggest city, London is hectic, buzzing and at times cold. I don't mean that literally either. This is pretty much a youth oriented city and almost all of my connections here are transitory. Friendships are made easily but lost easily too. People are generally too busy or not willing to take it to a deeper level. Most times connections are perfected on a superficial level.
London is also an expatriate centre. So your turnover of connections is pretty high. Someone or other is always moving to the next big city. Easy come, easy go. It's just the way it is.
If you could change anything about the UK, what would it be?
Warmth, both weather-wise and quality-of-life-wise.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Be open minded. Embrace the adventures. Milk it. Squeeze it. Enjoy every moment of it. But never ever lose yourself.
Joining Expat Voices
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