This month marks fifteen years that we now live abroad in Australia. I am constantly quizzed about life in another country so I decided to re-count just how my journey has transpired with a question and answer blog.
Why did you leave South Africa?
I am often asked this question. Fifteen years ago a much younger and adventurous me was keen to move abroad. We were feeling a bit disconcerted about safety and politics in the country and also concerned about what the future there held for our two young daughters.
Why did you choose Australia?
Several of my colleagues had relocated to Australia and kept proclaiming how amazing Australia was. I hectored my other half constantly about us moving abroad. At some point he yielded and so the application process begun.
What was the migration application like?
I have to say rigorous in addition to being stressful plus extremely costly. Australia is a strict country in terms of migration rules and policies. I was tenacious and our application was approved in under a year. We entered Australia on the skilled category migrant. Read REFUGEE WEEK 2016 if you want to learn what this means.
How old were your kids?
The girls were 3 and 5 respectively and have now spent more of their life abroad than as South Africans. They love it here besides this is home for them.
Tell us about your arrival?
When we arrived I was aghast at what we had embarked on. True realisation at being so far away from home set in. The homesickness as well as getting used to a new country was unquestionably challenging. Additionally, finding our feet and settling in took a fair bit of time.
What is life like in Australia?
I get asked this question frequently especially with my blog being so global. Well Australia is titled the land of milk and honey. 100% true!! I cannot stress just how wonderful this country is. In terms of health, safety, education and economics life here is remarkable. Australians are treated so well plus if you are prepared to knuckle down, the opportunities are endless. Be warned there are many rules, rules, rules; but then again that’s what makes things work so well here!
The best part of migrating has been the remarkable people I have met along the way in addition to the safety as well as the multitude of opportunities that have opened up for us here in Australia.
The worst part of migrating has been having to constantly explain and prove yourself. Your culture, your education and your background is always under scrutiny so that can be suffocating at times. Personally the housework part and maintaining the home as well as juggling a family with a full time job can be difficult but over the years I have learnt to relax and only do as much as I can.
Do you have any tips for aspiring migrants?
Do your research. Be prepared to assimilate into the new country and culture as this helps a lot. As South Africans we come in with high standards and expectations so be prepared to accept a more laid back way of life. I have embraced this remarkable nation and you will need to come with an extremely positive mindset if you want the move to work out.
Would you do it again?
In hindsight and all honesty no. Our move has been brilliant and also has worked out magnificently for us. As pioneers we have set a solid foundation for our girls, however it has been a long, lonely journey for us, and being separated from culture, family and friends has been much too trying.
I am keen to feature a few more stories on expats from South Africa. Readers in Canada, UK and USA etc. Please come on board. Shout me a message via FACEBOOK or TWITTER or comment below to be featured.