South Africa

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Aussie families are increasingly heading overseas to reap the benefits of international mining. But what's it really like? Mining Family Matters women spill the beans on living and working across the globe ...  

Alicia on South Africa

Living overseas was fantastic.  My husband and I (then childless) were lured by the adventure of living in South Africa, the excitement of the unknown and the great financial benefits.  We didn't know a soul when we landed and left two years later having met and made the most wonderful friends who we still keep in touch with nine years later.

Financially it helped us enormously. Our accommodation, utilities and health insurance were all payed for.  We received two flights home a year to Australia and we were paid in Australian dollars.  So with the value of the Rand being much lower than our Aussie dollars the cost of living was very low. 

The main negative for us was safety, but once we had learnt the local ways we really felt as safe as we do here in Australia - we just had to take a lot more precautions.  And it certainly didn’t stop us from travelling by car to some of the wonderful destinations Sth Africa has to offer, or flying further afield to parts of Northern Africa.

We both loved learning the local culture and were quick to ascertain that St Africans (like us Aussies) love to socialise, BBQ (or Braai as its known there) and have a few beers.  The people were so friendly and welcoming and were keen to teach us the great benefits of living in such a beautiful country. 

Another obvious perk of expat life is being able to have hired help.  We adored our maid, welcomed the garden service and tipped our hats to the guy in the parking lot who would guard the cars in the supermarket with his rifle.

I couldn't more highly recommend a stint overseas, and my husband and I look forward to taking our two children on a similar adventure, perhaps to Asia or South America in the near future.

Other great testimonials from overseas:

Q&A: what to expect when moving overseas

Ever worked and/or lived overseas for an international mining company? We'd love to hear your story!