Low wages and high costs sour the British experience

Australian blogger Rayne 'Roma' Small at the Walkabout pub.
Australian blogger Rayne 'Roma' Small at the Walkabout pub. 

It is Friday night at the Walkabout- the last remaining in London after gentrification forced the Shepherds Bush branch to shut-up shop.

For some, this is Aussie expat culture at its most cringeworthy: flags, cliches, beer and bad chat-up lines. For others, it is a home away from home.

However, Australian blogger ''Roma'' said the ''Walkie'' is, these days, more often filled with Brits than Aussies. ''Times have changed. It's a different kind of Aussie coming over.

Rite of passage: Nadine Stedman at the Flat White.
Rite of passage: Nadine Stedman at the Flat White. 

''[Expat pubs] would pump out Khe Sanh until the wee hours … [but] while there is still a small percentage of antipodeans that come to the UK in their late teens to pour beers and have binge sessions at an Aussie-themed pub, it seems the market is now driven by those in their mid to late 20s, wanting to explore Europe from a central base while having one or more international jobs on the CV.''

She said others came to London ''for a bit of life experience, a better career move or to shake off the cobwebs of a doomed relationship''.

More than once the grim UK economy has made Roma question her move 18 months ago. When she got her first bar job, and worked a whole day to come home with just £25 ($42), she actually cried. London's sky-high rents have forced her out into an un-groovy south-eastern suburb, and she didn't think much of the so-called ''glorious'' English summer.

Meanwhile, over at the Flat White in Soho, 23-year-old Nadine Stedman has also been shocked by the economic reality of 2013 London.

''Wages here are significantly lower, and living expenses are higher,'' she said.

Ms Stedman arrived six months ago on her British passport, thanks to her British mum - ''I always wanted to do the whole post-uni Europe travel thing,'' she says. ''To see where it took me. It's like a rite of passage.''

While she is enjoying London, she has seen a lot of Australians who came over in the summer, and looked for work, start to rethink their plans.