Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in South Africa:
Life here, quite simply, is more challenging than anywhere else I’ve lived. I wouldn’t say that I experienced culture shock though. I’m an adaptable person. I moved here because I wanted to change my life completely, and to make it more challenging. I love the way Joburg straddles the line between the developing world and the developed world. Everyday life can be frustrating at times, but the joys and constant surprises you experience while living here are worth the frustration.
All in all I think we were well prepared, thanks to a relocations agent who was of some assistance. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that I didn’t have to fear for my life every time I left the house, and that going places and exploring South Africa was perfectly fine. But regarding the decisions we made, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would always enroll the kids again in a local school instead of an international one, as this has been one of the best developments in their lives.
There was no culture shock per se. More so as language was not a problem – English is spoken by almost everyone. People are warm and friendly and the fact that the Indian community is quite big also helped.
Unfortunately most expats here are on short term contracts and have everything provided by their companies, cars, phones, furnished houses etc. I found many expats easily mainly by hearing the accents, but found it to be a closed group for me either I had to learn to play golf, join singles clubs or be expected to show them around and entertain their young children.
The expat community in Cape Town is well-developed. I have quite a few friends among South Africans but many young and educated people here lack general knowledge and have no interest in culture.
I think anytime you move to a foreign country, there’s gonna be a little shock (except maybe Canada to the US). South Africans, thankfully, speak English so there was no adjustment necessary there. However, the culture is so different here. Pace of life is incredibly slow in Joburg and that whole driving thing took some getting used to. Nevertheless, the culture is quite similar. People here are obsessed with American media, and the culture is similar to what I grew up with.
Life in South Africa is different to life in my country, although there are some similarities, but I believe every country is unique… as I moved here, I meet a group of expats that were very negative about this country but slowly I started discovering that this country is not that bad but the opposite.
We came to South Africa knowing that we would not live the same life as in Europe. This might sound obvious, but I believe it is the main reason why people face some challenges when settling in a new country.