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Exploring and Integrating into the UK Local Community as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)

19 Aug 2023


For many reasons, the United Kingdom has been a favourite destination for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Numerous job opportunities are available, and the UK is famous for its welcoming and diverse communities. However, settling into a new community can take time and effort, particularly for OFWs unfamiliar with the local culture and traditions. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are held in high esteem by their families and communities in the Philippines for their sacrifices and economic contributions via remittances. The Philippines' economy relies highly on money transfer from UK to Philippines by expats. OFWs are recognised as a significant and integral part of the workforce in the United Kingdom, where they have been actively adding to the local economy for many years. An OFW must explore and integrate into the local UK community to thoroughly enjoy the benefits of living and working in the country. This blog will discuss the challenges and opportunities of integrating into the UK local society as an OFW.

 

Challenges OFWs Face When Integrating into the UK Local Community

 

  • Language barrier

The language barrier is one of the most significant challenges OFWs experience when integrating into the local UK community. Many OFWs may need to be fluent in English, making it difficult to interact effectively with coworkers, neighbours, and community members. This can result in feelings of isolation and social exclusion, making it difficult to form relationships and establish a support network.

 

  • Cultural Differences

Cultural differences are another significant challenge that OFWs encounter. The United Kingdom has a diverse populace with various cultural traditions and values. To integrate into their local society, OFWs must study and adapt to UK cultural norms. Understanding social norms, attitudes towards employment, and religious practices are examples. Understanding and adjusting to societal differences can take time, making the integration process difficult.
 

  • Discrimination

The third challenge that OFWs may encounter is discrimination when integrating into the local UK community. Unfortunately, discrimination persists in the UK, and OFWs may face racial or cultural prejudice. This can lead to insecurity, dread, and distrust, making integration and meaningful connections difficult.
 

  • Homesickness

Another difficulty that many OFWs experience when living and working in a foreign country is homesickness. OFWs may mourn their families, friends, and the comforts of home in the Philippines. This can result in emotions of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Adopting effective strategies to overcome homesickness can help you ensure better mental and physical health so as to work better, earn more, and send money to Philippines from UK to help your loved ones financially.
 

How to Integrate into the Local Community
 

  • Learn about the UK culture and customs.

Learning about the culture and customs of the UK is one of the most important things you can do to integrate into the local society. The United Kingdom has a diverse culture, and it is critical to comprehend their way of life to avoid misunderstandings or cultural shock. Begin by reading books, watching videos, or visiting cultural events in your area.
 

  • Join Local Groups and Associations

Joining local groups and associations is another excellent method to integrate into the local community. Joining one of the many organisations and groups in the UK that cater to particular hobbies or ethnicities can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. OFWs can look for groups that interest them, such as sports teams, dance groups, or hobby organisations, or they can look for groups that mainly cater to the Filipino community in the UK.
 

  • Work as a Volunteer

Volunteering is another excellent method to become involved in the local community. It not only allows OFWs to give back to the community, but it also allows them to meet new people and acquire new skills. Numerous volunteer organisations in the UK cater to a broad range of interests and causes, and OFWs can volunteer in areas that correspond to their interests and passions.
 

  • Attend Local Events

Attending cultural events in the UK is a beautiful way to learn more about the local community and meet new people. Something always happens in the UK, from food festivals and music events to art exhibitions and sporting activities. OFWs can discover events that interest them by checking local listings and websites like TimeOut and Eventbrite. Attending these events allows you to explore new areas, try fresh foods, and meet new people.
 

  • Attend Language Classes

Learning the local language is a great way to become more involved in the community and enhance communication skills. Many local councils and community centres provide language classes, which OFWs can use to acquire English or the local dialect. Attending language classes allows you to meet people from various backgrounds while improving your language skills, which can lead to more employment opportunities and social connections.
 

  • Networking

Anyone looking to start a new existence in a new country must network. OFWs can meet new people and learn about job opportunities by attending networking events or joining professional organisations in their area of work. LinkedIn is a fantastic networking tool that OFWs should use to connect with experts in their field. Joining other expats around you will help you learn several things that can help you live a smooth expat life. Besides other things, you can learn from fellow expats how to send money to Philippines from UK with the most benefits.

 

  • Join a sports club or group.

Sports clubs and groups are a great way to meet new people while staying busy. Numerous sports clubs and groups in the United Kingdom cater to various interests and abilities. Joining a sports organisation or group keeps you healthy and allows you to learn new skills and meet new people.

 

Benefits of Community Involvement for OFWs in the Uk

OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) in the UK can reap numerous benefits from community participation, including:

Support Network: Joining a Filipino community organisation can provide OFWs with a support network of people who have gone through similar experiences and can give emotional and practical support.

 

  • Cultural Connection

Participating in community-organised cultural events and activities can help OFWs feel connected to their Filipino heritage and identity, which is particularly important when living abroad.

 

  • Career Advancement

Community involvement can help OFWs network and develop new skills, allowing them to advance in their careers and obtain new job possibilities.

 

  • Advocacy

Being a part of a community organisation can give OFWs a voice in advocating for their rights and addressing community problems such as employment and immigration policies.

  • Health and Wellness

Many community organisations promote health and wellness programmes and activities, which can help OFWs deal with the stress and challenges of working and living abroad.

Volunteering: Participating in community service and volunteering can provide a sense of purpose, satisfaction, and chances to give back to the community and make a positive impact.


 

How to Send Money to the Philippines from the UK.

When migrants from the Philippines arrive in the UK, one of their first questions is how they will be able to send money to Philippines. Fortunately, you don't have to visit banks or money transfer bureaus because you can do internet money transfers instead. ACE Money Transfer provides a global money transfer service that allows you to send money back home for your loved ones while you are overseas.


Conclusion:

Finally, as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), exploring and integrating into the UK local society can be a challenging but rewarding experience. OFWs can better grasp their community and establish meaningful relationships with their neighbours by learning about the local culture, customs, and traditions.OFWs must proactively look for ways to interact with the local community, such as volunteering or joining local groups and organisations. Doing so can broaden their social circle and positively add to the community. They can provide for their family back home by an online money transfer from UK to Philippines. As an OFW in the UK, integrating into the local community necessitates an open mind, a desire to learn, and a positive attitude. OFWs can create a fulfilling and enriching experience while living and working overseas by embracing the community's diversity and actively seeking opportunities to engage with others.


FAQs


What are some popular Filipino communities or organisations in the UK that can assist OFWs in settling down?

The UK hosts several Filipino communities and organisations that support OFWs. Some popular ones include The Filipino British Society, The Philippine British Society, and the Filipino Women's Association UK. These groups often conduct social, cultural, and informative events to help newcomers feel at home and integrate into British society.

Are there dedicated services or platforms in the UK where I can send remittances back to the Philippines?

Yes, aside from global remittance platforms, the UK has several services tailored for the Filipino community, including ACE Money Transfer. These platforms ensure fast, secure, and efficient money transfers to your loved ones in the Philippines. It's always wise to compare rates and choose a trusted provider with good reviews.

How can I find Filipino-centric events or gatherings to participate in while in the UK?

Filipino-centric events and gatherings are regularly organised by community groups, churches, and associations. Checking community bulletin boards, joining UK-based Filipino Facebook groups, or visiting Filipino shops and restaurants can provide information on upcoming events. Additionally, the Philippine Embassy in London often posts announcements and events that are relevant to the Filipino community.

Are there resources available to help me learn about UK culture, laws, and norms?

Absolutely! Local councils often provide information and orientation programs for newcomers. Libraries, community centres, and adult education institutions also offer courses on UK life, laws, and culture. Furthermore, mingling with locals, attending neighbourhood meetings, and participating in local events can give you firsthand insights into British life.

I'm missing Filipino food. Are there Filipino restaurants or stores in the UK where I can find familiar items?

The UK, especially in cities like London, has a growing number of Filipino restaurants, bakeries, and stores. Some popular spots include Romulo Café, Lutong Pinoy, and Bistro Manila. Filipino supermarkets and stores are also scattered across the country, where you can find traditional ingredients and products.


 


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