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You’ve heard all the normal reasons why you should or should not emigrate from South Africa. Politics, crime, education, family, roots, culture, finance… you’ve probably thought of it all and weighed up the benefits and disadvantages of setting sail. Maybe you’re one of those people who just grunts immediately and shake your head at how far-fetched the idea is.

But there are other reasons why emigration may be good for you.

Why emigration may be good for you

Reason 1: Migration is in your blood

Irrespective of your bloodline, if you’re from South Africa, your forefathers (and mothers) were migrants. From the French Huguenots to Dutch and British colonisation, Bantu migration from West Africa and the Voortrekkers. In fact, the first mass homo sapien migrations, according to National Geographic’s genographic project, started around 60 000 to 70 000 years ago from the area we now call Ethiopia. This means that humans are simply geared to move. It’s part of who we are.

Reason 2: Eating new foods is good for you

There’s a reason for genetic diversity of everything on earth. And when it comes to food – every different plant and animal we consume contains a unique composition of nutrients. Moreover, these species are simply not available throughout the globe. Feeding your body a diverse range of foods will help you be more healthy in the long run. And although you may think you’ve been born with a certain ‘taste’, learning to eat new foods is simply a neurological process which requires persistent exposure and a paradigm shift.

Reason 3: You will make new friends

If you don’t move, you will make new friends too, of course, but you will never get to make these same foreign friends of yours whom you’ll meet once you’ve emigrated. The chances to broaden your social and cultural horizons are simply endless once you’ve decided to relocate.

Reason 4: We live in the age of technology and globalisation

You are not Jan van Riebeeck. and you do not need to know how to talk pirate. Indeed, in this day and age, you can connect with anyone across the globe with the click of a button. And whoever it is you are longing for is simply a few hours away. Of course modern travel can hit your pocket quite hard, but if you take care of your finances (and paperwork), there’s no reason why you can’t be anywhere in the world by this time tomorrow.

Reason 5: Travelling makes you smarter

Being exposed to new experiences and new routines forces your mind out of autopilot and gets it back into ‘learning gear’. Not only does this help brain development, but it guards against illnesses and syndromes associated with ageing, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology also found students who’ve lived abroad to be 20% more likely to solve computer tasks than those who stayed put. This is because exposure to foreign cultures is said to train the brain to understand that one concept, item, word or representation of anything could have several meanings and applications.

Reason 6: It strengthens the small family unit

Though you’ll undoubtedly say goodbye to many friends and family once you’ve shipped off, the isolation of living far from everyone could actually strengthen your bonds as a small family unit. This could be a pill for couples who need to eliminate toxic relationships from their lives or get rid of meddling friends or family. This does not mean that you’ll eliminate these people from your lives permanently, but simply that you’ll get some space to run your life the way you want, and raise your kids by your own rules.

Reason 7: Travelling in South Africa could be much cheaper

Depending on where you are in the world, it may just be a good thing not to earn in rands. As those of us who still earn in ZAR want to pull out our hair, our friends who have emigrated now see this as a perfect opportunity to book their trips to, and through, South Africa. It does sounds somewhat ironic that leaving a place could make it easier to explore that same place, but somehow this really works.

Reason 8: Second chances are not just for the movies

You may be a big shot businessman who’s built an empire from scratch and shook hands with the rich and famous, but inside all of us there’s a yearning for a clean slate. This does not mean your problems may not follow you there, but emigration is the perfect opportunity to start fresh and become that better you.

Reason 9: You don’t need to stay

Nothing’s permanent. That’s a good motto to live by, yet it seems to be a concept many people struggle with. It’s important you don’t limit your dreams and aspirations with permanence. Though it’s important to grow roots, you must never find yourself in a situation where changing your mind or amending your dreams is a taboo. It may be that there are other countries you need to move to, or perhaps your situation has changed in such a way that you’re ready to come home. Keep those options open. See everything as temporary, and if it turns out you find your forever-home along the way, then that’s a pro.

Reason 10: Travelling makes you more creative and resourceful

A study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that people who have emigrated are more imaginative and inspired than their homeland counterparts. This resourcefulness is attributed to the culture shock which forces your mind to think outside the box and do things in different ways than you’d done them before.

Still want to stay put? Maybe, but perhaps the idea is growing on you. So next time you find yourself shrugging off the thought of relocating abroad, ask yourself “why not?”. You only get one life, after all, you should go out and live it!

Financial emigration

If you require any help with financial migration or converting your South African retirement annuity or pension to cash in your new country, let us help you with the process.

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