Do Talk to Strangers

There is a beautiful scene at the beginning of Forrest Gump, where Forrest is reluctant to climb up the steps of the school bus on his first day of school, saying his mother told him not to talk to strangers. Then his face erupts in a smile as he comes upon the solution. He introduces himself ...  Continue Reading

#ExpatTip of the Day on Twitter

I was going through my old blog posts and realized I have 62 of them tagged as Expat Tips (not counting all the answers in my FAQ section). That’s more than in any of the other categories on Joburg Expat, like Schools, Travel, Crime and Security, or Health. It’s even more than I wrote under Bureaucracy, which is saying a lot because that one includes Eskom.

Everyone knows I’ve had a lot to say about Eskom.

I’ve always thought I should be doing something special with those expat tips, because surely there are other people out there in the process of moving countries (not just to South Africa) who might benefit from this collective, hard-earned, ...  Continue Reading

10 Things all Expats Should Know about Moving

Moving is hard. Moving abroad sounds even harder. But with the right point of view it doesn’t have to be quite as hard as you think. If we can’t change reality, we can change our thoughts about it. Here, then, are some of these thoughts when it comes to moving your family to distant shores: =&0=&=&1=&=&2=&=&3=&=&4=&=&5=&

I reflected on this phenomenon when writing a previous post, How to Be a Successful Expat. So you’ve been a good expat and focused on the good parts, and you’ve resisted all attempts to dwell on ...  Continue Reading

South Africa: All You Need to Know about Banking, Shopping, Healthcare, and More

One of the motivations for starting Joburg Expat was that I wanted to help those of you who came behind me with the long and often complicated process of settling in. I wanted to answer all of your questions and spare you some of the inefficiencies I had to endure.  In the end, my blog took on a life of its own and veered more towards the hilarious recounting of my day-to-day adventures, the almost philosophical reflections about South Africa and its people and life in general, especially as a parent, and a whole host of other stuff that popped into my head. Especially when it came to toilet humor. As a result, even though I’ve tried to keep it organized, the basic how-to aspect might have gotten lost at times. Whether you’re in the process of planning an expat assignment in South Africa or have just landed with 20 bags, 3 kids, and a dog, you probably have a million specific questions about the things that need to be done in the next few months. The good news is, I’ve been answering precisely those questions in a series of articles I wrote for Expat Quotes, a website focused on services for expats around the world. It covers a wide range of countries and topics, allowing you to easily find what you need to know. Below I’ve listed excerpts from my most recent Expat Quotes contributions including links to the full articles. I hope you find them useful.
Opening a Bank AccountIt is a question many an expat has asked when moving to a new country. Do I have to open a new bank account or can I somehow manage with the one I have in my home country?To some extent, the answer will depend on how you receive your income. Some multinational companies pay their employees entirely in their home countries, some companies pay everything in the host country’s currency, and some allow you to divide up your income between both according to an agreed-upon ratioRead more…
Standard Bank Internet Banking
Shopping To the surprise of many newly arrived visitors and expats, South Africa is a very Westernized country – at least on the surface. This will become evident when you turn your attention to (almost) the first task at hand upon arrival – shopping. Most likely you will find yourself with rather more choices than you bargained for. Read more… Healthcare

Most South Africans consider their public healthcare system a disgrace. In theory, everyone has access to state hospitals and health centers for emergencies and routine doctor’s visits as well as the dispensation of medicine, all for free or a relatively small ...  Continue Reading

Three Easy Steps for Quickly Settling in Johannesburg

The following is a guest post by Barbara Bruhwiler. Baby steps. Teeny tiny baby steps. That’s what they always recommend in self-help books. “As long as you move in the right direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you move” is one of the mantras in this field. Well, when you move abroad, things are a bit different. While baby steps are not completely wrong, giant leaps are much better. Because according to international research on expats, the faster one settles into the foreign place, the better. Why, you may ask. Why do I have to hurry instead of taking my time? I believe it has to do with our feelings. Before we are settled into our new life, we are in limbo, we haven’t arrived yet. Homesickness, frustration, sadness, even desperation are the feelings that go with this place, and they leave us drained of energy. But when we feel settled in, we experience excitement, interest and pleasure – feelings that lift us up and give us power.
Settling in: Not only the act of getting past THIS, but also a mindset.
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