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by Annemarie de Villiers
This is the first of a three-part series by Annemarie de Villiers giving practical advice on steps to take before emigrating to Australia. She speaks from experience and here’s how she introduces herself: “I was born and raised in Johannesburg, am an expat mom of two active boys and enjoy the outdoors, helping people and all things social, fun and funny. We left South Africa nine years ago for the Netherlands , but after six years decided to go on a fabulous adventure and moved to Seoul , South Korea. A year ago we relocated to Sydney, where we live in the Hills District. I am the editor of a blog called Austrangelia: http://austrangelia.blogspot.com/
I have been working on a list of concrete things you can do to help you succeed when emigrating. There is very little in the process of successful immigration that is not up to you. It is an action, one for which you will need to take full responsibility if you want to reap the rewards in the end. Much like parenting you may not see the benefits initially, but I can guarantee you that proper preparation, planning and continued hard work will pay off.
1. Be realistic in your expectations
I have put this one at the top of the list as I do find it one of the most important things you can do for yourself. No country is perfect and every single place you can ever move to will have its down sides. It is crucial to be realistic in your expectations of what your new life will be like. Even in Australia there are bullies in schools, maniacs on the roads, traffic fines, rude people, drugs, etc.
All of the negative aspects of Australia are probably still way better than the negative aspects you are currently experiencing in South Africa - making the move well worth while. But keep in mind that your standard of living may drop, your life in Australia is not going to be a permanent sunny, seaside holiday, there will be clothes to iron, beds to make, food to cook, grocery shopping to do,
traffic, administration, school runs, etc.
Some things we will never get away from, no matter where we move! Keep the negatives and positives in mind and compare them to the negatives and positives of your current situation. Is what you are gaining worth what you will be giving up?
2. Be clear on why you are leaving
Keep a journal or do a scrapbook of all of the reasons for leaving. Write down all the negative things about your current situation. Cut out newspaper reports and magazine articles and keep them. Take this book/journal with you on the plane when you leave - it will be your reminder/wake-up call on those lonely, teary nights when you start regretting and questioning your decision to leave.
3. Be specific on why you have chosen your adoptive country
Keep a journal or scrapbook with all the positives of your adoptive country. Write down all your thoughts on why you have chosen this specific country. What do you like so much, what are the advantages and what do you look forward to seeing and doing once you are there? It is important not to think like a tourist when creating this book! Think of things like politics, economics, schooling, business opportunities, climate, multi-cultural living, sports, etc. Also, take this book with you on the plane when leaving. Initially culture shock might get the better of you and a concrete, positive reminder of all the great things about your new country will help you keep perspective.
4. Identify what you want your life to be like
If you are moving to Australia for your children to have an outdoor lifestyle, to be safer or to have a better education, be very clear on how you will achieve this. Do your research and be sure that you will actually be able to achieve the life you are dreaming of. It is no use dreaming of having a beach/surfer lifestyle if you can’t swim! And there’s no point planning a country life on a horse farm in Kenthurst, while your sponsor wants you working as an air traffic controller at Sydney International Airport -- you will spend more than three hours a day in traffic, leaving no time to enjoy your horses. Do all of the research you possibly can and then draw up an action plan covering:
  • what you want your life to be like
  • whether you will realistically be able to achieve this
  • what you will do to realise it.
Posted in migration | Annemarie`s Blog
Posted by Annemarie de Villiers
01 Aug 2007

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Hi Annemarie.Ons oorweeg dit ook sterk om na Australia te immigreer.My man is 'n Diesel werktuigkundige op 'n myn.Daar is verseker baie werksgeleenthede daar vir hom.Maar die kostes wat gepaard gaan met immigrasie is onbekostigbaar.Kan jy ons dalk help met hoe ons 'n "sponsor" kan kry en waar om te begin?
Rating: 4 / 5
by Eliza on 06 Oct 2010

Hi, I am on holiday in Perth and would like to contact Daryll van der Westhuizen. Friend from somerset west. E-mail address if possible. Des McCay
Rating: 5 / 5
by des mccay on 30 Sep 2009

Danny, we were also over the age limit for Oz but on the skill shortage list for NZ so opted to come here instead and are very happy here. You might want to consider New Zealand?
Rating: 5 / 5
by Adrienne on 20 Apr 2009

Thanks for the info. I would like to know whether you can possibly guide me in the right direction. I am currently 45 yeasrs of age, have a trade (Telecommunications); a Diploma and a BComm degree but apparently I am over the threshold age for emmigration to Australia. Is there any hope for someone in my position?
Rating: 3 / 5
by Danny on 26 Dec 2008

Great article Annemarie. We are moving in 7 weeks for St Ives, Sydney and both our kids are busy with a scrapbook at their current schools. Looking forward to the challenges ahead. Thanks again for a great article.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Mark Houseman on 19 Nov 2008

Puik Vriendin! Baie goeie advies en baie goed uiteengesit! Sal dit ook vir die kinders gee om te lees. Dankie vir jou harde werk en baie dankie vir die oproep! Sien jou binnekort!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Bone on 25 Apr 2008

Hi, We have lodged our application for permanent visas. The problem is that it will be another 15-18 months before we have our answer. It would be great to give a detailed time roster for South Africans who believe that they could decide to leave and then leave in a short time. Great magazine. Thank you.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Wessel Appel on 21 Apr 2008

Dankie vir die artikel.Ons kyk ook na emmigrasie na Perth.Dit bly steeds 'n angswekkende besluit.Ek het'n ander oulike link teëgekom met die boek Secrets to Immigration to Australia Exposed en gewonder of enige iemand dit al bestel en gelees het?Dit lyk op die oog af baie nuttig.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Ken Willemse on 30 Mar 2008

Annemarie, ons beplan verseker om later in die jaar te emmigreer na Oz. Jou artikel help baie mbt tot sekere aspekte waaroor ons wonder. Kannie wag om die res te lees nie!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Frieda on 25 Mar 2008

Hmm, ja stem saam met almal, dis erg dat mens nie weet wat die toekoms inhou nie.That is why every step must be calculated, we need to know what our aim and reason for being here is. My greatest fear at the moment, will there be house help? Must I do all the awful chores myself? Ag nee, wat 'n gemors, did not think anything like this will ever come my way. Thanks for being there!
Rating: 5 / 5
by HANLIE GORDON on 29 Feb 2008

Hi Annemarie, Thanks for this. We are looking to emmigrate, my hubbie is an engineer and myself an optometrist. We would like to get our parents in once we have become citizenz. Please let me know if this is possible or is it a pipe dream.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Janine on 20 Feb 2008

Excellent, article. Thanks for the solid advice. Lots of rumours about EX South Africans wanting to come back but can't afford it....or is it only a rumour ? Were planning to settle in Melbourne end of this year.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Deon Boshoff on 18 Feb 2008

G'day Annemarie , thanx for the heads up and solid advice. By taking this step, one that will always be emotional, we dare to be brave. Brave for our children and that they may dream of a better life even at the expence of our own tears for home and all that’s familiar .
Rating: 5 / 5
by Gustav Du Plessis on 13 Feb 2008

Hallo Annemarie, we need to draw from another's experience. I have also started with the process of moving, problem is finding work. I am completing MBL this year (2008) but experience does not match requirements, any suggestions in coming articles? Which companies offer sponsorships to immigrants?
Rating: 5 / 5
by Gerhard Jansen van Rensburg on 11 Feb 2008

Thank you for being realsitic. Agree that there will be challenges in a new environment. Where do i start with an immigration process?We are definitely planning to immigrate, just completed a master and the time to move is now. Our country is becomming a bigger challenge. Regards
Rating: 4 / 5
by Lourens van Tonder on 21 Jan 2008

Hi there Annemarie. I am in the process of planning my family's move to Perth where I recently returned from after a 2 month fact finding trip. I would just like to say that after meeting with a few ex- South Africans, I realised that the transition from here to Perth depends largely on which part of SA one comes from and the extent of your Afrikaans roots. I was also born and raised in Jhb, and 15 years ago I made the move to Cape Town, and I can honestly say that if I had moved from Jhb to Perth it would have been a vastly different experience , because I truly believe the culture change is not as severe when moving to Perth after living in Cape Town. I have no experience as far as other parts of Australia is concerned, and thus can only comment with regards to Western Australia.
Rating: 3 / 5
by Darryll van der Westhuizen on 03 Dec 2007

Hi Thanks for the great article. I am also in the process of looking to move out of South Africa.Maybe in other articles you can provide us with steps to take when deciding to leave. Because I am young white Afrikaans male and opportunities for us to grow in business is very limited.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Chris van der Berg on 03 Dec 2007

I have only just read this article today, 03 October 07 and find its the most honest, and most practical article Ive read thus far. It forces you to question your motives for migrating and to give honest answers to those questions. No dilly dallying here. Well Done Annemarie. I would love to hear move from you.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Livia on 03 Oct 2007

Thanks for the advice,we have only started our investigation and this will surely help us to be realistic
Rating: 4 / 5
by Ian Swanepoel on 05 Sep 2007

Rating: 5 / 5
by Johan Smith on 22 Aug 2007

Well done! We need more balanced advice and guidance like this! My guiding light is always: "Disappointment is a function of expectation!" i.e. you will always be dis appointed if you get less than you expect! Also: "Keep your expectation realistic!" Congratulations to Annemarie!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Johan Smith on 22 Aug 2007

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