Skip to main content

Leaving South Africa: Moving abroad and thriving as an Expat

Leaving South Africa: Moving abroad and thriving as an Expat

June 28, 2024


Moving to a new country carries both excitement and challenges, especially when you’re leaving behind the vibrant culture and friendly faces of South Africa. For many South Africans, the decision to emigrate isn’t just about finding new opportunities but also about creating a new sense of belonging in an unfamiliar place. Whether you’re relocating for work, study, or adventure, settling into a new country can be a smooth transition with the right approach. This article is designed to offer practical tips and insights to help you feel at home in your new environment.

Leaving South Africa: Tips on emigrating from South Africa

The trend of emigrating from South Africa has been on the rise. Many are seeking better job opportunities, more stable political climates, or simply a change of scenery. Understanding the reasons behind your move can help you stay focused and motivated during your transition.

Preparing for the journey ahead

Preparation is key when moving overseas. Start by researching your new country extensively. Learn about its culture, language, and customs. Understanding these aspects will make it easier for you to adjust and integrate into the new society.

Essential documents and paperwork

Before moving abroad, ensure you have all necessary documents in order. This includes your passport, visa, work permits, and any other legal paperwork required by your new country. Having these ready can save you a lot of hassle and stress upon arrival.


Finding your new home:

Choosing the right neighborhood

When moving to a different country, choosing the right neighborhood can make a significant difference in your experience. Look for areas that offer amenities you’re accustomed to, such as grocery stores, parks, and public transportation.

Renting vs buying property

Decide whether renting or buying property is the best option for you. Renting can be a good way to get a feel for the area before making a long-term commitment. However, buying property might be a better investment if you plan to stay for an extended period.

Setting up your new home

Once you’ve found a place to live, make it feel like home. Bring along some familiar items from South Africa, such as photos, decorations, or even your favorite snacks. This can help ease homesickness and make your new place more comfortable.


Navigating the local culture:

Learning the local language

Language barriers can be one of the biggest challenges when moving to another country. Take language classes or use language learning apps to help you communicate more effectively. Even learning basic phrases can go a long way in helping you feel more integrated.

Understanding social norms

Every country has its own set of social norms and etiquette. Grasping these concepts can help you prevent misunderstandings and foster stronger relationships with locals. Research common customs and practices before your move.

Participating in local events

Get involved in local events and activities. This is a great way to meet new people and learn more about your new community. Whether it’s a local festival, sports event, or community gathering, participation can help you feel more connected.


Building a support network:

Connecting with other expats

One of the easiest ways to feel at home in a new country is by connecting with other expatriates. They can offer valuable advice, support, and friendship. Look for expat groups or communities online or in your area.

Making local friends

While connecting with fellow expats is helpful, don’t forget to make local friends as well. They can offer insights into the culture and help you feel more integrated. Join clubs, take classes, or volunteer to meet new people.

Staying in touch with family and friends

Maintaining relationships with family and friends back home is essential. Regular communication can help ease feelings of loneliness and keep you grounded. Use video calls, social media, and messaging apps to stay connected.


Managing finances when moving to a different country:

Opening a local bank account

One of the first things you should do upon arrival is open a local bank account. This will make it easier to manage your finances, pay bills, and receive your salary. Compare different banks to find one that offers the best services and rates.

Understanding the cost of living

The cost of living can vary significantly from South Africa to your new country. Research the average prices for housing, food, transportation, and other essentials. This will help you budget more effectively and avoid financial stress.

Transferring money internationally

If you need to send money from home, find the most cost-effective way to do so. Many banks and online services offer international money transfers, but fees and exchange rates can vary. Compare options to find the best deal.


Final reflections on moving to a new country from South Africa

Settling into a new country as a South African expat might seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By understanding the local culture, building a support network, and managing your finances effectively, you can create a new sense of belonging in your new home.

Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal

Ready to start your new adventure? if you’re considering moving out of the country or are based abroad and need help with your financial and tax emigration needs, look no further than FinGlobal.

FinGlobal can handle every step of your tax emigration for you, helping to eliminate the headache and streamline your transition from South Africa to your new country of choice. We can also assist you with expat tax compliance, tax refunds, retirement annuity withdrawals, and more.
Contact FinGlobal today to discuss your unique queries by calling +27 28 312 2764 or emailing

Leave a Reply