Being an expat in a foreign land opens you up to a world of vulnerabilities and challenges, but it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to take advantage of an entirely new and positive lifestyle. As an expat, you’re probably already aware of some of the challenges involved. Perhaps you need a reminder of everything you stand to gain and just how advantageous being an expat really is.
Expat Life : 5 Benefits/Advantages
Having dealt with hundreds of expats, we often hear all about the anticipation and expected benefits of an entirely new life in a foreign country. Below are just 5 of the most common advantages of expat living/life.
- Increased earning potential.
It’s no secret that most expats leave South Africa’s shores in search of better earning opportunities. Money seems limited in South Africa and even professional career paths don’t often offer lucrative incomes. As an expat, you have access to more job opportunities and earning potential. Global property ownership surveys put this into perspective by showing that 37% of expats own property in their new home country.
- Quality healthcare.
In South Africa, government provided healthcare leaves a lot to be desired. Public hospitals aren’t particularly well-equipped and while there is private sector medical aid and hospitals to rely on, these come at quite a high extra cost. When living as an expat in countries like the United Kingdom or New Zealand, you can expect high quality public health care to be provided for free. Of course, you need to be a registered expat with all paperwork in order to benefit from this type of health care.
- Access to international services.
Living in South Africa sometimes feels like being cut off from the rest of the world. Think of how long it takes for a product ordered online to reach South Africa from Europe. And it’s not just the time waited for the delivery that’s the problem. When in SA, international purchases are often held up at customs and then customs charges are incurred along with taxes. When living abroad, an online order is quickly serviced and delivered – no mess, no fuss.
- Access to a stronger currency (very rewarding when visiting home).
It’s no secret that the South African rand is nowhere near as powerful as international currencies such as the British pound or the American dollar. It becomes very obvious when traveling abroad and having to spend rand in a foreign country. Now, as an expat, you get the perfect opportunity to earn a powerful currency. As an expat earning the local currency in your new country, your life will be comfortable, but that’s not the only benefit. You will also reap the rewards when bringing your new currency home with you for a visit. When you exchange your currency for rand, you will be smiling (and of course, enjoying a very comfortable visit with family and friends).
- Exposure to new people, places, and cultures.
Living in South Africa is a wonderful thing; there’s no doubt about that. Our country is jam-packed with different cultures and people, but you’re probably used to all of that already. When you head off to distant shores to start a new life, it’s a whole new “scene”. You get to experience life from a completely new angle and that’s something that inspires great personal growth. You will meet new people, see new places and learn all about new cultures – that’s guaranteed. What a great way to live! Expat communities also put you in touch with people in the very same position as you in a new country and that’s a great way to make new friends.
How to Become an Expat & How to Fit into Expat Communities
What does it take to become an expat? Some might think that it takes packing your bags, hopping on a plane and touching down in a foreign land, but that’s just not right. It doesn’t just take moving to a new country to become an expat. You actually have to take a few steps to ensure that you fit into expat life and have an expat community to form part of and turn to. Below are 4 tips to becoming an expat.
- Make sure that your emigration paperwork is all in order, so that you don’t run into any problems. This will play a big role in everything from renting a car to buying or renting a home.
- Book an Airbnb to host your first month of stay in the new country. Take some time to suss out the areas and find a home where other likeminded expats are living. Community is important in the first months of emigration.
- Join an online expat community before you arrive. Expat.com is a great place to start as it connects expats from 197 countries.
- Go to local markets, visit the local sites, and participate in advertised community events. This is the best way to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings and meet new people. Facebook is a great place to find out about events in your local area.
Get Financial & Tax Emigration Advice & Assistance at FinGlobal
While settling into your new expat community, you might also want to ensure that your tax emigration, financial emigration and SA retirement annuity funds are all in order. With the assistance of our experienced team, you can expect a smooth, hassle-free transition into your new country and life. The FinGlobal team has assisted countless SA expats across the globe – and we can help you too. For more information and advice, simply contact us. You can give us a call or send us an email for further assistance today.