Four South Africans share their experiences on living and working abroad.
DIKELEDI TLHAKO (32)
is from Kempton Park, Joburg, but now lives and works in Seattle, Washington, US.
"MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
This came about because I was itching to explore what the world had to offer. I had met many working foreign nationals who fuelled my curiosity about potential career prospects abroad. When a job opportunity overseas opened up, I immediately grabbed it. The company I was going to work for facilitated my travel and work logistics. They also petitioned for a working visa on my behalf; I had to liaise with the embassy. I had to provide a police clearance and a birth certificate. I paid about R1 200 for my working visa and postage fees. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy the process was.
ADAPTING TO A NEW ENVIRONMENT
Eight years later, I still enjoy working and living in the US. When I arrived, I was shocked by how Americans live. The amount of junk food that is consumed is alarming, and the way children talk rudely to their parents still baffles me. I also had to adapt to not drinking water from the tap and driving on the opposite side of the road quite quickly. I love the efficient and safe public transport systems because I don’t need to own a car. I was also surprised to see that America’s social scene is calm compared with South Africa’s; they love socialising with board game nights, whereas I grew up socialising through music, vibrant conversations and braais. I’m excited about my blossoming career and I love the quality of life offered by this country. I have been warmly received with elements of curiosity and fascination. Some people are genuinely interested while some ask whether I live in a hut at home.
I still find it hard to be away from my family and friends. Luckily, technology helps me to keep in touch with them. I want to grow old with my family in South Africa, so I will definitely come back."
ONDELA MLITYWA (28)
is from Midrand, Joburg, but now lives and teaches English in Asia.
MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
I had always dreamt of going on sabbatical – a minimum of two years – to travel South East Asia. I also wanted to teach while travelling and blog about my experiences of learning about various cultures so different from my own. I finally plucked up the courage to make this dream a reality in April 2016. It wasn’t an easy decision to make; I had to leave what was the beginning of a really good career, and sell most of my belongings.
ADAPTING TO A NEW ENVIRONMENT
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