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SARA Conference: 2-3 November 2017

Are you looking for a global relocation provider? Reach out to Relocation Africa to see what we can do for you.

We will be at SARA Conference 2017 on 2 and 3 November, so feel free to visit us at our exhibition stand.

The conference celebrates Southern African reward success, and will feature talks on topics ranging from social media to global mobility trends.

To arrange a meeting with Relocation Africa Director Rene Stegmann, email: marketing@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.

René Stegmann accredited as a SARA Mobility Specialist

Relocation Africa Group announces that its Director, René Stegmann, has been accredited as a Mobility Specialist, which is part of the South African Reward Association’s (SARA’s) Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Program.

To ensure that SARA members remain relevant in their field, SARA launched their SAQA-approved International Mobility Designations, designed to accredit those in the field of reward and mobility.  The aim, through an accreditation process, is to uphold a level of knowledge associated with the accredited designation.

There are three different International Mobility professional designations that can be achieved within the profession:

1. Mobility Practitioner;
2. Mobility Specialist; and
3. Master Mobility Specialist.

The CPD requirements for each designation are similar in terms of an allocated number of points that need to be achieved over a three-year period (measured in calendar years). However, inherent requirements will be different based on the level of competence that the member would have achieved through accreditation, and is expected to uphold through continued professional development.

If you are in the field of reward and deal with International Mobility and Expatriates, the designations are a valuable accreditation to ensure that we remain relevant within our industry.  For more information, contact Debbie Lane-Mitchell on wlane@mweb.co.za, or visit the SARA website at http://www.sara.co.za/PROFESSIONALISATION/ProfessionalMembers.aspx.

Interactive mobile app for relocation services in Africa

Relocation Africa is excited to announce the launch of their new Interactive Mobile App! The App will become an integral part of our service delivery going forward. Starting with Johannesburg and Cape Town, we plan to roll out the use of the App across all of our African Destinations within the next 6 months. Each assignee will be given access to the platform that will provide them with a wealth of information and knowledge about their new destination. We will include information on the location as well as information unique or specific to their relocation to the new destination. We hope this will make their transition simpler, more efficient, and allow them to settle into their daily life with ease.

What is the App?

The App, at its core allows for the secure sharing of information pertinent to the services that we are delivering to your assignees, and the city / country that they are relocating to, as well as company policy or other information that the assignee may need during their transition.
Its core functions include:
Information Sharing Using the App your assignee will have access to the following via their cell phone/tablet:
• The Relocation Africa Country Fact Sheet.
• The Relocation Africa City Guide which is a comprehensive document, split down into various areas of interest including History, Schooling, Housing, Healthcare, Culture and Entertainment to name but a few.
• Information related to the setting up of utilities.
• A comprehensive checklist relating to the packing up of their home.
• Some Support tools such as dealing with change.
• Emergency numbers.

We will also be able to upload Lease Agreements and Check-in Inspections to the App as they become available, allowing the assignee to have all of the information related to their relocation in one place.
In addition, if required by the Client, we can tailor the App even more and upload policy documentation, employment contracts, medical insurance policies, etc. There will however be a small fee for this additional support.

 

Interactive Service Delivery Via the App the assignee will be able to:
• View their itinerary. This can be uploaded prior to their meeting with our Ground Consultant.
• Familiarize themselves with the location of the items on their itinerary through the interactive map function. This allows for property addresses to be entered and

highlighted on the map, and for links to the related properties to be viewed.
In addition, the interactive map will also contain local ‘points of interest’ – hospitals, shopping malls, police stations, etc.

Communication
The App can be used as a communication tool between the assignee and ourselves – we can send them short messages / reminders which will flash up on the screen of their phone.
Family members can also be added to the App, and photos and messages can be shared between them – ideal when the partner has not been able to participate in the home search or orientation trip.
We believe that the use of the App will greatly enhance the assignee experience, allowing them and their family members to access more of what they need before they travel, as well as enjoy an array of useful information about their destinations once they have arrived, all from one secure source.
This is just another way that Relocation Africa is constantly improving our services by embracing the unknown.

This product can be used in conjunction with our other services or a cost-efficient stand-alone product.

Please contact us on info@relocationafrica.com.

Becoming Madame: Realities of an expat life

What’s expat life really like after the initial sparkle fades away? An american expat provides 10 truths to the most frequently-thought myths about living abroad as an expat.

Over the past two weeks, three different readers (a gentleman and two ladies) from three different countries on two different continents have written to me asking about the realities of living in a new country. They asked: How did I make a life for myself in France? How did I find a job? Was I scared to give up my career and my entire life? How did I make the final decision to embark on the big move? And how in the world did I learn French well enough to live in a French society?

I see the timing and similarity of these correspondences, from authors literally thousands of kilometres apart, as a nudge from Mother Serendipity that perhaps it is time for me to write a little more seriously about life as an expat.

I try to be as honest as possible in my posts about living abroad. But you, dear reader, must remember that I have been here for nearly six years now, so naturally all the trepidation, the worry, most of the confusion and the anxiety of the first few months and years have dissipated. My ‘Big Move’ was in large part a personal adventure at a time in my life when I needed to make a decision as to whether I was going to dedicate my life entirely to one path or to make a change in search of something new.

Like my new correspondents, and perhaps like many of you, I wanted more out of life than what I had created for myself thus far. I felt an unexplainable void and an indescribable need for new air, new scenery, new people, new everything. And to be quite honest I didn’t want any part of the life that I had – even if it meant giving up a lucrative career, a fiancé, a long-lost love, and my family. I was prepared to start all over again, which is the single most important part of an adventure like the one I’m on. You have to be willing to start again from the beginning.

Some of you might say, “Yeah, well, all that’s okay with me. I just want something different.”

Fair enough. I understand and commend you on your desire for adventure and change, and your yearning to undertake a challenge and to widen your comfort zone. I applaud taking life by the reins and making it what you want it to be. Indeed, I did just that.

I distinguish my adventure from the countless number of temporary expats I meet here in Europe, those who have rented their house out back home and who have taken a position in the European division of their company. Theirs is an excellent way to experience life through a different cultural lens, especially for children, but it is not the same as stepping off a plane in some new place with a completely blank slate before you. This latter experience is what I’m writing about to you now.

(1)If you move to a new country, particularly one where you don’t know the language, you will feel as if you’re starting life over from the beginning of adulthood. You’ll likely have to go back to school to earn credentials to open up the work possibilities of your adopted homeland. You will, at the very least, need to take language classes. So returning to a student life is an essential ingredient.

(2) Since you quit your job back home and you don’t know the language of your new home country, if you aren’t enrolled as a student when you arrive, you will not be able to obtain a working visa – unless, of course, you come over with a company and then your experience is more akin to the temporary expats I mentioned above. As a student you can generally only work limited hours – in France for instance, it’s 19 hours a week, or in the Netherlands, 10 hours per week. The most common part-time jobs available for non-French speakers are serving in one of the American or Anglo restaurants/pubs (again back to the beginning when you worked your way through college), teaching English at Telelangue or Wall Street English or babysitting. Even these jobs require a visa if you want to them legally.

(3) A visitor’s visa generally lasts only about three months (in most European countries), so you will need to come prepared:

  • Have a job lined up (or at least interviews set up) or acceptance to a study program. Know the visa requirements. In France, if you come as a visitor and then enrol in a study program, in most cases you will have to return home to apply for your visa through the proper channels.
  • Have a place to stay arranged before you jump on the plane.
  • Come over with about five month’s worth of savings just in case. When you don’t know anyone in a new place, you are forced to go out all time to meet people – this is not an inexpensive endeavour.

(4) If all this going back to school business seems a little daunting, which I can understand as someone who has spent a great deal of her adult life in post-graduate study, you may want to think about trying this experience in an English-speaking country. If you’re Canadian, try England, Scotland, Ireland or Australia. If you’re American, why not Toronto or Montreal? Finding a job in your field will be infinitely easier in such cases.

(5) Your new job prospects might not be ideal in the new country, especially following the global financial crisis. Try not to trick yourself into thinking, “I hate my desk job so I’ll move abroad and never enter an office again.” Or the other great misconception: you’ll walk right into the same standard of living that you enjoyed back home. In reality, you will probably revert to 10 years earlier and plant your roots in the soil of a younger you. You will most probably regain your standard of living but it takes time and patience.

(6) If you come to a country where you don’t speak the language, prepare yourself that you will not only be going back to the beginning in your work life, as mentioned above, but you’ll also have no friends or family. If you’re like me, you’ll know no one, not a single soul, when you walk off the plane. Periods of extreme loneliness are inevitable. The key is to get yourself out of your apartment and just keep going: get up each day, and get outside no matter how intimidating it is to walk into a world of confusing mumble-jumble all around you. Take baby steps, but just keep taking them.

(7) As I recently confided in one of my correspondents, know why you’re making this move. Because at the end, once the excitement and fear and glee of starting a new life and being free from your old one have worn off, you will still wake up with yourself every single day. Whatever you might have been running from or trying to escape – a broken relationship, a tedious job, a dead-end career, your family – these things don’t magically disappear. Your job will be replaced by another; you’ll still have to pay the bills each month; you’ll find another relationship that will at times break your heart; and your family will eventually track you down. This is important: No matter where you call home, you still have to wake up with yourself and life’s problems. Keep that in mind.

(8) You’ll need humility. Becoming part of another culture is quite an unique experience. You redefine your preconceived notions of people, culture, how life should be lived, and your perceptions of yourself. Take my situation as an example: A Big City attorney, ambitious and successful one day, and then just like that, woke up another day in a tiny 18sqm apartment, in a strange place where I couldn’t communicate with anyone. For an A-type personality used to using her words as her first line of defence, you can imagine the shift in my self-definition.

(9) Be cautious of following a lover half way around the world. I was recently involved in trying to help a woman who moved over to France at the request of her French boyfriend. They had met on a few business conferences in the States and one thing led to another. After a year-long, long-distance relationship, the charm of living in Paris won over this woman and she accepted her boyfriend’s invitation to live with him until she got on her feet. In her mind, she was starting a life with him. That was until his wife showed up and threw a fit. Oops, boyfriend forgot to mention he was still technically married. It sounds like a novel, but very unfortunately for this woman it was not fiction – it was a terribly heartbreaking, disappointing and humiliating real-life experience. This woman is a successful, intelligent lady who simply got caught up in a dream, divorced herself from reality and refused to face it until forced to do so. (As a caveat, I met my husband in France and when I moved here love was the farthest thing from my mind.)

(10) Even though European countries seem to be very Western (and they are Occidental countries), their cultures are quite different from North American culture, and from one another for that matter. French people have their own ways of doing almost everything and sometimes they are amused to see how we foreigners undertake a particular action, but most of the time they are not in the mood. You have to remember that we’re the ones in their country. It’s us who need to assimilate, not the other way around.

Starting over at 30 or 40 or 70 years-young is as much about discovering more of yourself than it is about seeking new adventures in a new, far off destination. You have to let go of your former self to an extent and allow change to happen, all the while holding on to what is essentially you. It’s easy to get lost 4000km from everyone you’ve ever known. And you will get homesick, even if it’s your family from whom you’ve run away.

With time you’ll build a new family, meet new friends, find a job, and live a life. But you still have to clean the bathroom every once in a while, take out the garbage in the morning and pay the bills no matter where you live. Life, at some basic level, is the same everywhere.

What you are giving up in progression and stability, you are gaining in life experience and adventure. That’s the reality of it. And time heals all wounds.
A little food for thought dedicated to those of you who might be contemplating that old adage ‘The grass is always greener…’

The original article can be viewed here on the website becomingmadame.wordpress.com