Embracing your choice to becom

Embracing your choice to become an expat is key to settling wherever you are

I decided to start down the path of becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom. Next stop? The possibilities are endless.

Embracing your choice to becom

It has been just over a year since packing up my life and moving to the UK from South Africa. I have gained some perspective on what I took for granted back home, but found a few things here I was definitely missing out on. The biggest obstacle about moving here, for me, was addressing the fact there would be no family here to comfort me, if and when I needed them. Every time something niggles at you, no matter how big or small, the lack of support starts to weigh in on you and you have to try and remember what the reason for coming here was.

My initial reason for moving was, I’m sure like a lot of other expats, for the opportunities a first world country has to offer. Then there is the matter of crime, rape and the ever-problematic issue with the government and where they are leading the country. Is the future looking bright or would it just be a hellish ordeal? I can safely say that although this past year has been nothing short of a struggle, I did in fact make the right decision. I then reached out to a few expats I know and asked the same question.

Was it the right decision for you? Would you do it again?

The answer…

A large resounding YES!

Barbara (36), having been in the UK for over 13 years says,

“When I first decided to come over to the UK, South Africa was still part of the Youth Mobility Scheme. This meant I was able to get a 2 year Working Holiday Visa. At this time, I had already been in the South African army for five years. I did not see myself making a career out of the army, in either SA or the UK. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to take a break and explore another part of the world, while still making a living. I was only going to stay for two years and then go back to South Africa, but once I realized that the world could be my oyster if I had a British Passport, I decided to start down the path of becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom.”

Next stop?

“The possibilities are endless. I love South Africa and my annual visit to SA is the highlight of my year, but being able to see the rest of the world whilst making a modest living in the UK is just not something that would ever be possible for me living in South Africa.”

Although finding work in the beginning does prove a bit difficult for most non-UK citizens, if you stick it out, persist and take into account that you will probably need start at the bottom, there is nothing you can’t do.

I have found that a lot of South Africans don’t plan on staying long term, more as an extended working holiday or a gap year of sorts. However it is becoming increasingly common for young South Africans to up and leave SA to embrace a new life in the UK. There are definitely a fair few people who either miss home too much or give up when the going gets tough. Sometimes they go back and regret not waiting it out.

It is a long way from home and the lifestyle and culture here is very different. Whatever people choose to do, stay or leave, embracing your choice will always lead to a happier life.