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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.

Trends From IBA’s 2017 Global Immigration Conference

Relocation Africa recently attended IBA’s Global Immigration Conference 2017 in London, U.K. From the numerous talks, two main trends emerged.

Firstly, corporates are choosing regional immigration and mobility suppliers instead of global ones. This is due to regional suppliers having a much better focus on and knowledge of their own regions, and thus being able to provide a better quality of service to their clients. The infographic below describes the many benefits of using a regional supplier, such as Relocation Africa.

Secondly, corporate procurement divisions are working more and more with HR teams in order to ensure that the services they procure are truly meeting the specific needs of the business. This trend involves a move away from procuring suppliers based purely on price, and towards procurement based on considering quality of service.

Some suppliers make use of pricing models whereby a low price is quoted, without adding exclusions, for additional services which will be needed. Procurement divisions that are not aware of this may choose a supplier with a lower initial quote over a supplier that is more upfront, and provides a comprehensive quote for the entire service offering.

It is important for procurement to consider the above in order to ensure that the best possible supplier is sourced, based on reputation, and the exact business needs at the time.

Relocation Africa is focused on Africa, and has decades of experience throughout the continent. We also have an upfront approach with our clients, and consider each business’s unique and changing needs.

For an overview of the services we provide, view our digital brochure here.

For more information about how we can help your company with Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration services, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +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.

8th Biennial IBA Global Immigration Conference

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

The conference will be presented by the IBA Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and topics will include:

– 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

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

Relocation Africa Director Andrew Stegmann will be in attendance. To arrange a meeting, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call +27 21 763 4240.

Immigration changes in Tanzania

The Tanzanian Immigration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs has recently imposed significant additional company document requirements on foreign employees applying for residence permits. Applicants for Class A and B residence permits should take note that the Immigration Department is now requiring the following corporate documents from their sponsoring employers:

  • Letter stating the current status of shareholders from the Registrar of Companies of the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), including immigration status if shareholder is a foreign national;
  • Tax Clearance Certificate from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA); and
  • Certified copies of the employer’s tax payment slips from the TRA.

Sponsoring companies should take note that these new documents should be obtained early in their foreign employees’ immigration processes in order to avoid delays in obtaining their residence permits once the work permit is issued by the Ministry of Labor.

While still one of the world’s poorest countries in terms of per capita income, Tanzania’s economy has grown at an impressive average of 6+ percent over the last five years, making it one of Africa’s five fastest growing economies. However, much of that growth is still being propped-up by some ongoing government investment in infrastructure construction projects, and foreign investors are still leery of the frequent government policy changes of President John Magufuli’s administration.