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The Expat Chronicles: From Port Elizabeth to Australia

by 1st Contact | Sep 09, 2011
  • This month we chatted to Carina, wife to Jacques and mother to four boys, aged between four and 12 years, who took the plunge in 2009 and moved to Australia.

    What’s your name?


    Where did you move from?

    From Port Elizabeth South Africa.

    Where did you move to and when?

    To Brisbane, Australia, in August 2008.

    What was your reason for leaving your home country?

    With four young boys, life was becoming a bit difficult financially and we heard there were great opportunities in Australia in my husband’s field. The more we looked into it, the more we liked the idea. The safety was also a huge driving factor for us, living in a country where we could feel safe from day-to-day become more and more appealing.

    Why did you choose the country you chose?

    Mainly, work opportunities and security. We also had old family friends who had been living in Brisbane for a few years already, and another friend in Cairns, so I was lucky enough to go on a scouting holiday with our oldest son. Having three weeks there allowed me to feel secure in the knowledge that this was where we needed to be. Once we had decided, it took a long time for everything to happen, but it was worth it in the end.

    What is the best thing about your new country?

    The friendliness of the people, the lifestyle, quality of life, the feeling of freedom and safety. The vastness of the country also means that like in SA, there’s so much to see if you travel around.

    What do you miss the most about your home country?

    I miss my family, I miss the Eastern Cape beaches. Mostly, I just miss the different types of people in SA.

    Anything you struggled to get used to in your new country?

    Initially, the cost of things. Otherwise, it was an overall adjustment, but we kept focused on the positive and kept ourselves busy from the start. We’ve been camping all over and it gets hot, dusty and in some places there are a LOT of insects!!

    Will you ever go back?

    Oooh, that’s a tricky one. I am loving life here, but Africa is in your blood, so I can’t say I will never go back. We might go back if the corrupt government changes and SA becomes a safer place to raise children.

    Which country do you identify with most strongly now?

    Still SA!

    Which country’s sports teams do you support?

    SA – definitely!  We are developing a fondness for some of the Aussie players and teams, but our hearts are with South Africa’s teams.

    How does the food compare?

    Not bad at all. It’s the same, but different. We can’t find really GOOD biltong like we’re used to. We have loved braaing for our Australian friends!

    Was it what you expected?

    It’s even better than I expected. Somehow I think I thought the people would be rude, but they are quite friendly and straightforward, which I like.

    How has your life changed?

    We have as a family become more relaxed. My husband is much happier and we are far more active, doing things we never even considered in South Africa. Maybe because in the beginning we felt like we were on holiday in a way, so we were more adventurous than normal. Now it’s become a part of our lifestyles and my husband and four sons are always looking for the next thrill.

    What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?

    If you can, go and spend time in the city you’re considering moving to first. Get a feel for the place and the people. There is a LOT of red tape, so I would give the advice to be very patient and organised. If possible, use a REPUTABLE immigration agency who can help you with all the paperwork. Don’t expect it to be perfect because no country can be perfect. South Africans have a good reputation for being hard workers. If you are motivated and not lazy, you should emphasise that on your CV. There is so much to see and do in Australia, but choose your city wisely, as the main cities and places are very different.

    To find out how 1st Contact Visas can help you with your relocation plans, visit  our visas section or call 0808 141 1664 (in the UK), 0800 003 163 (in South Africa) or 1800 039 300 (in Australia).

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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