You are considering moving to South Africa and trying to decide if it is a good idea. Naturally you Google South Africa and hit the information overload, positive and negative. Ideally, I would say stop reading, take the leap and experience the country for yourself. But if you are not feeling quite so adventurous, here are my thoughts and ideas that may help you decide faster.
Yes, we the South Africans may not be happy about this but for an expatriate from abroad our weak currency can be a blessing. Try and negotiate that at least a portion if not all of your salary is paid in USD, Euro or Pounds and you will be enjoying the buying power our weak Rand gives you. Added to that is the fact that our food and housing (rent or buy) is generally cheaper than 1st world countries, giving you a lot more quality and purchasing power for your money.
South African climate
At first, you may think that the climate cannot influence how you feel about a country, but I beg to differ. Nothing can beat sunshine most days of the year to raise your vitamin D levels and positive thoughts. Moderate climate, brief rain spells to refresh the air, no tornadoes or hurricanes and sunshine all year around make South Africa the best prescription for an increase in your serotonin and dopamine levels to bring feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Our summer thunderstorms are so spectacular that they deserve to be mentioned as a stand-alone reason to live in South Africa. Mostly occurring at night, quick to come and go and followed by rain, you are not likely to witness such powerful and beautiful lightning and thunder elsewhere. A little safety tip: if you want to admire the lightning and thunder in the open, count the seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the sound of thunder. Each second in between means approximately 2 kilometers away from you. Make sure you are safe and indoors well before it is too close.
We socialize actively
South Africans love the outdoors. We use every opportunity to go out, lunch break in the office, early morning ride or jog, weekend activities. Everything revolves around being outdoors and breathing fresh air. If you are getting together with friends this is likely to happen outside on your patio around the braai (South African for barbeque), at a picnic spot, around the pool or on the golf course.
I remember when my European family first visited us in South Africa. They were amazed that the guests did not sit around the table for hours, talking and eating. We had invited around 30 people and everyone milled around, standing, playing darts, playing badminton, swimming, sitting at the table or in the garden and even taking short walks around the neighborhood. When the food was ready everyone ate either standing, sitting or on their laps. This “active outdoorsy socializing” was such a revelation for my folks that they promised to introduce it back home.
Sporty health conscious people
South Africans love sport, you will see runners, cyclists, and gym goers at any time of the day. Group activities are very popular and newcomers are welcomed and supported. Healthy living and eating are not just trending now, it has been a way of life for South Africans for a long time. You can’t help but get hooked on the drive to make good choices. Join a sports club you enjoy and feel the pleasure of the vitality this lifestyle brings. You will definitely meet many new likeminded friends along the way and experience parts of the country that the regular couch potato may not have even heard of. Best of all is that each time you go home for a visit you will hear endless compliments about your good sun-kissed looks.
South Africa is big and spacious. Our streets are wide, our homes are very spacious, open and airy. It is normal to have a garden and pool, separate bedroom for each child and a large patio for your outdoor socialising. If you are coming on an expat assignment you are likely to get a lot more space than what you are used to. Prepare to shop for more furniture and clothes because now you will even have a walk-in closet.
Our private schools are great. They promote balanced lifestyle and education including academics, art, and sport. The kids will be well rounded and if you ensure they actively participate in the school activities, you are unlikely to hear the familiar “I am bored” refrain. The schools also have regular projects where parents are welcome to get involved helping you find friends and feel a part of your child’s life.
South Africa is vibrant, interesting, busy and cosmopolitan. Open up your mind and self for meeting new people and new experiences and there will be no better place for your next expatriate assignment.
We at Expats On The Globe have been walking the journey of moving country with our expatriate clients for many years and understand what it takes to move your entire life across borders. Call us for a quote on immigration, relocation, intercultural training or personal goods removal.