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Expat Story: Lessons from a Nomadic Childhood

Being born into a family of diplomats has both its pros and its cons, says expat Diana Predosanu. On the one hand is a great adventure, even a life of privilege. On the other hand, many families lack the support they need for the ongoing changes of this nomadic lifestyle. Here are some of the lessons Diana learned as a child ‘growing up between worlds’.

Lesson #1. As a child, leaving friends behind was hard, but making new friends was relatively ‘easy’
Leaving friends in my ‘home’ country to accompany my parents on their mission was never easy, but the excitement of taking a flight and moving to a new country usually outshone any doubts or fears.

I was nine years old when we moved to Brazil. I have memories of learning Portuguese at home and slowly becoming integrated at school. Unlike other diplomats’ children, I never joined the international schools, so every move, every country, came with the challenge of learning the local language and making friends with locals. Often, the only ‘different’ child in school was me. But I found the other children were open and friendly and, as I was quite resilient, I made friends easily in Brazil (and later in Colombia).

My basic approach was: learn the language, go to school, make new friends and keep in touch with friends back ‘home’ via letters.

Later I did my university studies in Australia. In this environment – where everyone is ‘new’ and part of a multicultural society – I found my place and was able to enjoy the melting pot of Sydney.

Lesson #2. Going back ‘home’ was more challenging than I ever imagined it would be
Going ‘home’ was hard, arguably harder than arriving in a new place. Leaving everything that had been built in those years and going back to a place that had changed, as a person who had changed too, was never easy. I was expected to belong, but I didn’t… not really, not anymore. The experiences abroad had filled my soul with other smells, colours, tastes. I rekindled childhood friendships, but found it hard, as a teenager, to make new friends at ‘home’.

Lesson #3. A heart in search of a home and yet ‘itchy feet’…
Growing up constantly moving from one country to another made me think that I would like to settle somewhere and build a home. But my reality has turned out to be so different! I continued to study abroad and I accepted jobs in different countries. I realise I feel the need to keep moving, to keep trying new destinations. Every place I go to, I feel that something is missing. My first reaction is to pack my bags and head somewhere else. I keep trying to find that one place that will feel like my home, a mix of the various experiences I’ve had. Time is passing and I am still looking…

Lesson #4. It’s never the same when you visit any of your adopted countries
In my experience, no matter how well we keep in touch with a place, or with people, things change. In 2012, I went back to Australia, hoping to ‘get back’ my life there and with it my friendships and habits. This turned out to be impossible. Although my friends welcomed me back, so much had changed. My friends were now adults, employed, married, with commitments… we were no longer students. I, on the other hand, was employed part-time and no longer had both my friends and my family in one place. Things had evolved and I couldn’t go back to how they had once been.

Lesson #5. Home is everywhere you’ve lived, and nowhere
(See Lesson #3!) I have called every country I have lived in ‘home’. I am proud to have adapted each time, as a chameleon blends in with its environment. But nowhere have I really belonged. In my ‘home’ country, I don’t feel quite at home – after all, I have lived abroad for more than half my life. I don’t speak the same as my local peers and I think differently to young people my age. In my adopted countries, I may have adapted, but I wasn’t born there, so I am not quite one of them either. Home really is everywhere and nowhere.

 

Author: Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest). Source: [1]. Image source: [1].

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Relocation Africa Attended IBA Global Immigration Conference 2017

Relocation Africa recently attended the 8th Biennial IBA Global Immigration Conference, from 16-17 November 2017, in London, UK.

The conference was be presented by the IBA Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and topics included:

– The new age of global immigration and mobility: challenges and opportunities
– Global mobility report
– Skilled workers and compliance
– Global battle for the entrepreneur and investor
– Dual citizenship – renunciation and expatriation
– Economic and political risk migration in Africa and Middle East – the effect of the rest of the world
– Between cooperation and competition: the place of immigration lawyering in a global mobility world
– South Asia, Asia Pacific, Central and South America
– What future for EU and Schengen border controls
– US immigration and visa policy in the Trump era – what has changed and what has not?
– Navigating the storms: ethical dilemmas in immigration law

Relocation Africa ensures to attend as many relevant conferences as possible, as part of an effort to continuously improve our knowledge of what is happening in our ever-evolving industry.

For more information about the conference, visit: https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/conf786.aspx

To arrange a meeting with our Director, Rene Stegmann, to find out more about how we can help you with Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration services, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call +27 21 763 4240.

Relo Originals: Moving With Your Pet

Emigrating can be a stressful experience – not only for us, but for our pets too. It is important to ensure that the correct procedures are followed for a successful pet move, and to make sure that your special friends are taken care of throughout.

We have partnered with a local pet moving company, PETport, who have provided us with some information about the pet moving process, and the top pet-related things to consider when emigrating. Read our interview with PETport owner Hazel below for some helpful tips.

What are the most important things to consider during the process of moving your pet overseas?

It is important to ensure that pet vaccinations and microchipping are done. Afterwards, the process of doing blood tests and permits, as appropriate for the country of destination, can begin.

Are there any circumstances when you would advise someone not to take their pet with them?

Each pet and family is very different. If a pet is unwell, and fails the health certificate, moving it is not advisable. Animals can have differing side effects at altitude if there are underlying health conditions. PETport has successfully flown animals up to 23 years old, so older animals can be relocated successfully.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional pet moving company to assist with the move?

Doing so is highly recommended. The company will ensure that your vaccinations, microchipping, and any necessary blood tests have been carried out at the correct time, in accordance with export and import procedures, specific to your destination country.

If dates are missed at blood testing, the test may be considered null and void, and the entire export process must begin again. A professional pet moving company ensures that the whole process is tied together, managed to arrival at airport, and at the other side – door to door. All that the owner needs to be concerned with is having the correct documentation, and following the clearly laid out instructions provided by the pet shipper.

What are things to look for when deciding which pet moving company to use?

IPATA registration and accreditation is important, as this indicates a set of standards and ethics within your chosen pet shipping company. A red light to mark bad companies is quotes for crates that are too small. Air freight is measured in volumetric kilograms, so some companies quote for smaller crates to make their prices more attractive. Using a crate that is too small will make for a very uncomfortable journey for your pet. All pets need to travel in an airplane’s cargo hold, other than service animals, which, on approval, can sit in an airplane’s cabin.

What are the common requirements (documentation, medical, etc.) for taking your pet overseas?

Blood tests, vaccinations, and microchipping are all common, as is a health certificate, issued by your local vet. As part of its service, a pet moving company will prepare the documentation, and ensure that it’s up to date and correct. There are often issues where vets don’t know about the requirements for the process, and a pet moving company, which monitors the industry, could inform vets as to what is required in order to provide owners with a smooth transition overseas.

What can you do to make the transition for the pet as easy as possible (stress-wise)?

  • Keep calm, and try not to transfer any stress you may have onto your pet.
  • Keep your pet’s routines as normal as possible.
  • Put an old t-shirt with your scent in the pet’s crate.
  • If your packing process is hectic and you are stressed, it may be a good idea to move your pet to a boarding facility.Doing so assists with keeping the pet’s routine, allowing them to remain calm.Boarding kennels will also assist with crate training your pet prior to travel, which may make the journey easier for your pet.

Do you have any recommendations for familiarizing a pet with a new home?

  • Establish your pet’s routine in the new space as soon as possible.
  • Bring elements of the old routine into the new home.
  • Put pet beds, an old t-shirt, toys, bowls, etc. down as soon as possible.
  • Don’t make a fuss – let your pet explore and find their spaces.
  • Some pets like bathing with familiar shampoos for bonding.

Dogs generally acclimatise quicker than cats. Cats may ignore their owner for a few days, but soon settle into their new homes.Cat’s homes must have windows and doors closed until the cat has adjusted to their new surroundings.

About PETport:

PETport is a registered company. Its owner, Hazel Imrie, is a member of IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transport Association), and represents the Middle East and Africa region as a board member. PETport deals mainly with dogs, cats, and birds, but does transport some wild animals. The company does not do relocations for animals used for breeding farms, food, etc.

Following its code of ethics, PETport has markers that it uses to identify suspicious business opportunities, and rejects business when it feels the need, in keeping with its standards and vision. For more information about PETport and its services, visit: www.petport.co.za.

About Relocation Africa:

Relocation Africa Group is Africa’s premier Relocation and Immigration Service provider. With over 20 years of experience, and operations in 48 countries across the continent, Relocation Africa has the expertise to assist you with your mobility, immigration, research, and remuneration needs.

For more information, visit: www.relocationafrica.com, or email marketing@relocationafrica.com.

Corporate Housing: How Relocation Africa Can Help You

Mobility

Corporate Housing

Searching for corporate housing?

Whether you’re a business traveler or you represent an international company, we can help you find a new temporary home in South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya. We cater to our clients’ wishes and needs with a wide range of accommodation options. Simply tell us what you require and our professional team will find you the perfect apartment in no time.

What to expect from our corporate housing?

We offer serviced apartments that are fully furnished. Think about a fully equipped kitchen, weekly cleaning, high-speed Internet and other convenient facilities. We constantly look for the best ways to meet the needs of modern business travelers, and make our guests feel at home. In short, you will have the amenities and usual perks of a hotel, combined with the many benefits, such as more space and privacy, of having your own apartment.

For more information on our Corporate Housing solution, please contact Ursula@relocationafrica.com

Zimbabwean Special Permit Holders (ZSP)

Are you a Zimbabwean living in South Africa on a ZSP ?

If you are a Zimbabwean National currently in South Africa on a valid Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) and you qualify for one of the mainstream Temporary Residence Visas (Study, Work Relative, Etc.), you may apply for a change of status from within South Africa between 2 October 2017 and 30 November 2017.

For a quotation to assist, please contact Tracy on 083 650 5269 or via Tracy@relocationafrica.com.