Altogether, I have moved seven times in my life. Five of those were international moves. And six of them were with children in tow. So I think it's not too much of an exaggeration when I say I know a little bit about moving around the world. By far our best experience came when Crown Relocations did our shipping for us. Read more about their services here.
One of the most profound lifestyle changes we were subjected to when moving to South Africa was the way we consumed books. Back home in the United States, going to the library had been a regular family ritual. Books were abundant and free, and everyone read to their heart's content. Not so in South Africa. This is why you need and Audible subscription as an expat.
When I recently got introduced to Hannah Pirnie, another long-time expat in Johannesburg who herself is a great resource for newbie expats with her Translating Me service, we came up with the idea of starting a Webinar series for people who have questions about moving to South Africa. I'm excited to announce our kick-off event with the topic "5 Mistakes To Avoid Your First Month in South Africa."
Finding a group to join is a big deal for many newly arrived expats, especially those with young children who won't easily meet people through school. Translating Me helps you make friends from around the world, provides valuable resources to you, connects you with interesting volunteer opportunities, and gives you many options to explore your new surroundings.
You could do no greater disservice to yourself and your family to stay at home and within the confines of your safe neighbourhood. There are beaches, wildlife, amusement parks, museums, scenic drives, and countless other mind-blowing activities all within driving distance of wherever you happen to live in South Africa. Get out there as often as you can.
So you’ve taken the plunge. Someone has convinced you that you’re special and talented. Your company could really use someone with your specific skillset at the branch in South Africa. Now you’ve just arrived in South Africa, and you’re filled with bright-eyed wonder. If you’re reading this, great news: you managed to find an internet connection. That’s your first win. Now what?
Johannesburg is Africa's most visited city, ahead of Cape Town which is a distant second. As a visitor, you'll hardly be alone. Nevertheless, many consider Johannesburg to be too unsafe to explore, especially parts of the Central Business District. If you are concerned about safety, I recommend taking a tour as part of a group. Here are some recommendations.
One of the hardest things about moving abroad as an expat, especially with children, is to have to begin from scratch when it comes to sports and other activities. What you used to play/practice is often not offered in the new country, and beginning with a new activity can be difficult because you start out so far behind everyone else. And yet it's a good thing too.
Surely the grass must be greener on the other side! One would think this sentiment is particularly true for expats, especially repeat or serial expats. People who are constantly yanked from their surroundings and have to rebuild their lives elsewhere might be excused for not embracing each new place equally well. But I have found the opposite to be true.
A while back I started an “Expat Tip of the Day” Twitter campaign to give advice to fellow expats.
Some of these were specific to South Africa (All expats/foreigners HAVE to apply for a Traffic Register Number to buy a car in ...