A-1 Auto Transport and Immigrants

Submitted by Leah Deacon
on 03/09/18

In 6 months’ time, I will fly over 980 miles from Birmingham (England) to Prague (Czech Republic) in order to relocate to study General Medicine at Charles University for the next 6 years and follow my dream to become a doctor. Why Prague I hear you ask? Why not? It has been the economic, political and cultural core of Europe for more than 11,000 years. Prague is nicknamed “the city of a hundred spires” and Charles University is ranked 314th according to the QS Top Universities and it is renowned for its contribution to research. Furthermore, my degree is acknowledged in Europe and in the majority of countries all over the world, including in the United Kingdom and the United States. The course will be taught in English, while also learning the Czech language as part of the course. Nevertheless, I have a sneaking suspicion that something will get lost in translation when I arrive in Prague and ask a local for directions – thank God for Google maps!

Then there is the hassle of exchanging currency from British pounds to Czech Koruna as you’ve got to ensure that you save enough money on your salary, loans, scholarships, and if you’re lucky the bank of mum and dad; to be able to pay your first month’s deposit on your rent, and prior to this actually finding accommodation that has decent wi-fi, and depending on your budget and your preference whether you’re going to share your home with other students or live on your own. The advantage of living in the 21st century is that we can use the internet to search for accommodation, however, it’s a good idea to view the property before signing a tenancy agreement as pictures on the internet may not give you the bigger picture, for example it may be situated above a nightclub and if you are a student with lectures to attend in the morning; I don’t think you’ll appreciate loud techno music into early hours of the morning!

I’ll have to admit; the thought of moving home is both exciting and scary. I will not only be moving to a different city but also an entirely different country, meaning I will have to get accustomed to a different culture as well as a foreign language. Moving home is also a very stressful experience – deciding what items to discard (that 10-year old mattress with protruding springs), replace, donate, and what to keep; what to put in storage and what to have shipped to my new humble abode.

Furthermore, depending on the size, weight, and number of items, you then have to decide on the size and number of boxes, and sorting items into categories (e.g., utensils, books, bedding etc). Some items could be packed into hand luggage on my next flight to Prague, however, there are many security restrictions on hand luggage, so you have to decide on what is appropriate to bring with you. The main guidelines on hand luggage (in the UK) include: ensuring liquids (like water, creams, lipstick, Vaseline, sprays, perfumes and mascara), gels and pastes are retained in containers no bigger than 100 millilitres each, filled in a clear and re-sealable plastic bag that should be 20cm by 20cm, and only one bag is allowed for each individual. This is pretty hard going for us girls as we need copious amounts of lotions and potions, sprays and water to stay hydrated and beautiful!

Also, when checking-in at the airport, I would have to remove my laptop, iPad and any other big electronic gadgets, from my hand luggage, so there goes the pleasure of watching movies on Netflix during my flight! It’s not quite the same as watching it on your iPhone. If that wasn’t complicated enough; you also have to follow the guidelines on hand luggage dimensions, which cannot be more than 56cm long, 45cm wide and 25cm deep (together with the handles, side pockets, wheels, and so on). In addition, luggage can only weigh up to 20 kilograms before being charged extra fees and then there’s the extra pain of putting travel insurance in place as well as home insurance for your new home.

I wish it was as easy as putting a few boxes into my car and driving up the road to my new home, yet the reality is that it has taken me around 6 months to organize and plan my move. Trying to move on your own seems like the ideal option as it can be cheaper as opposed to using a hire company, however realistically using a company like A-1 Auto Transport is cost-effective, for example knowing that professionals will take care of moving your items, particularly large and heavier items, such as a corner-sofa, which can be a headache when you live in a flat on the 8th floor and having to squeeze the sofa into the lift, the physical exertion involved and the possibility of slipping a disc. As well as the risk of breakages, such as that precious glass vase from aunt Laura, which can be placed in protective padding and handled with care by the removal workers.

Moving internationally is a daunting experience especially when I have to say goodbye to the family that has supported me for many years as well as friendships and to leave and set-up in a different country and make new friendships. However, I think of my grandfather who traveled from Jamaica to England on a ship with just the clothes on his back around 60 years ago, in the hope that he could make a better life for himself and his son (my father). I hear him tell me the stories of arriving in England and being turned away by landlords when asking for a spare room to sleep in. This was evidently a time when racial discrimination was, unfortunately, the norm, however, I’m glad he stayed through all the adversity to make a new home for him and my father, otherwise, I wouldn’t exist. Fortunately, I’m moving home in less trying circumstances yet it’s still a transition and change which can be a very challenging and uncomfortable aspect of life but can teach us a lot about ourselves. A wise man by the name of Barack Obama once said “We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. That’s who we are in our bones.”

Submitted by Leah Deacon
on 03/09/18

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