Moving from Austria to South Africa – how to settle in

Africa to start a new life? It can certainly be a wonderful lifetime experience, but be prepared that it may not be a five star hotel. Put your sneakers on and dig in deep. Imagine moving from Austria where things are well organized and arriving in South Africa, a strange country, all alone during your first month – no cell phone, no internet, in the worst case even no electricity, no car, no friends apart from some ants in your cupboard, in your sugar, running up and down your bath.

Also be prepared that you will experience load shedding, snail pace internet, customer service is non-existent and traffic officers make a quick ‘buck’ around every corner. Any European expatriates who have tried applying for a driver’s license, opening a bank account, getting from the airport to new home, going grocery shopping in their first day or month in South Africa can tell you their experiences.

Now imagine you do not have a car. What do you do as an expatriate? Johannesburg has the Gautrain, public transportation and other cab or shuttle services.

Gautrain is an 80-kilometres mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province, South Africa, which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekhuruleni and or Tambo International Airport. It offers commuters a viable alternative to road transport, as Johannesburg has limited public transport infrastructure. The project was completed with the opening on 2012 of the final section between Rosebank and Johannesburg Park Station.

Your kids do not like their new school, they don’t have friends, they don’t like their new teacher. Is your child in the International school or the local school? Try the local school, your kids will learn a new language like Sotho. Learn a new language with your children. For all the moms who drop off their children at the school, talk to parents at the school, ask them questions about South Africa. Make new friends through the school.

How does it feel ‘not recognising one plant or bird species!’ Take up hiking, join an expat networking club. Take up ballet, English classes, tennis, cooking classes in your area.

Lend a hand to the needy or less fortunate. Help out a charity organisation.

And very important: Take one bite at a time out of your apple – Crown Relocations can offer you settling in services to make your life and the transition in your international moving destination easier.

Our local team will provide a tailored and fully accompanied post arrival orientation/settling in programme which give the assignee an in-depth introduction to the new neighbourhood. The programme is designed to ensure that the assignee and their families settle as quickly as possible. This covers:

  • Information guide about your destination city
  • Overview of local leisure & hobby facilities
  • Advice on employing a domestic helper
  • Introduction to expatriate networking clubs & support groups
  • Introduction to public transport
  • Visit to shopping malls/food markets
  • Identification of options for doctor, dentists, baby health care
  • Visit to bank and post office (assisting in opening bank account or post office boxes)

Our local Crown Relocations team in South Africa will be able to provide to our customers helpful destination services such as airport pick up, temporary accommodation, intercultural training, personal security briefing on crime awareness as well as security briefings to ensure your new home is sufficiently secure, assistance with drivers licenses and vehicle registrations, and various further services for expats from Austria and any other country.