The Expat Chronicles

From time to time, we chat to expats from all over the world to find out how they adjusted and what they learnt through their move… This month we chat to Vicky, who moved from the UK to South Africa 5 years ago.

Where did you move from?

Where did you move to and when?
I moved to South Africa – arrived in Johannesburg on the 4th of February 2007!

What was your reason for leaving your home country?
What can I say? I met a man and fell in love! He lived in Johannesburg and travelled to London all the time, which is how we met. I arrived knowing nobody but him and moved into his luxury bachelor pad in Hyde Park. After about 2 months I started to regret my decision as it became obvious it wouldn’t work out long term. Luckily I had made some friends since then, and they suggested I go and check out Cape Town. I stayed in a backpacker for the first three months, waitressing as much as I could. Then I landed a job in the film industry and my life changed!

What is the best thing about your new country?
I can’t get over how friendly the people are, the beaches and just the natural beauty of everything. I also feel like Cape Town is probably the most incredible city ever.

What do you miss the most about your home country?
Absolutely nothing. I met someone in 2009 and we married last year… I own my own company now, so I fly my mom to Cape Town twice a year, and my sister and mom are considering moving here.

Anything you struggled to get used to in your new country?
I don’t think I could ever have adjusted to Johannesburg, but Cape Town feels like home. I was a little petrified of crime when I first got here. But now I understand you just have to be alert, don’t be stupid and live positively. The other thing that was a shocker was the lack of safe and reliable public transport!!!

Will you ever go back?
Hell no!

Which country do you identify with most strongly now?
In every sense – South Africa! I want my children to grow up as South Africans. (First one is on the way)

Which country’s sports teams do you support?
Always SA.

How has your life changed?
It’s hard to explain, but I feel that coming to SA has turned my life around completely. Maybe I was here in a previous life or something, but I was honestly miserable in London. I lost 32kg in my first year in South Africa and I have more friends now than I have ever had. I met the man of my dreams, I live a lifestyle I had never even considered possible. Everything has changed for the better.

What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?
Follow your instincts. When JHB wasn’t working out and the relationships was on the rocks, I could’ve easily gone back, but something deep inside me told me that I needed to find a way to stay in South Africa. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but I KNEW I wasn’t meant to head back to the UK!