A world in motion series

Welcome to our A World In Motion series. The last two years have been a time when many people confronted the significance of mobility and borders – in our own personal lives and the lives of others. With much talk of people arriving in South Africa, it is also important to acknowledge that many South Africans move to other countries too. Our world is one that is in motion.

Siya is from Johannesburg and now lives in Bangkok

Do you think it is important to make an effort to integrate into the new society you find yourself in?  

I think it's important to integrate yourself. because integration leads to the understanding of different cultures. learning the language and understanding people 

How is your life there different from your life in South Africa?  

Life here is at times a little easier. Transportation is so convenient and it is cheap to travel around the country. The cultural differences can, at times, make things challenging, but you learn to work around that.  

Wanda is from Cape Town and now lives in Shikoku, Japan

What do you miss about South Africa?  

I miss South Africa so much. It is and will always be home. It will always have my heart. I miss my family and friends the most. Having that confidence to do things, knowing that you have an army of support at your side, should things hit the fan. Being so far from home, you realise the true and meaningful relationships with friends that will last a lifetime. I miss the laid-back atmosphere of Cape Town in the festive season of the summer months. 

Do you see yourself moving back to South Africa in the future? 

No, I don’t see myself moving back to South Africa permanently. It will always be home and I will visit from time to time, but I don’t see myself as a permanent resident. I plan to marry and raise a family in the land of the rising sun. 

Japan has a very high work ethic in all the industries. You are expected to work hard and get the job done in the highest quality; from businessman, to retailer, to fast food server. All professions are done with pride resulting in a high standard of living, no crime and just a clean and peaceful environment. People are also well looked after by the government. By no means is Japan a perfect country. It has its own problems like everyone else, but what sticks out to me and what draws me to stay in this country is that people look out for their neighbours and care for other people above their own needs. 

I just don’t feel I could go back to a system that is self-destructive and not forward thinking. Once we stop thinking how we can benefit as individuals at the cost of others and actually help and rise together, then I think we could have a chance. 

James is from Cape Town and lives in Maun, Botswana

Do you think it is important to make an effort to integrate into the new society you find yourself in?  

Yes. You never know when you will need help from your neighbour or a passing stranger. Also, to live a fulfilling life in a new place it is important to set yourself up with friends. Networking with a wide variety of people can unlock great opportunities for you.   

How is your life there different to your life in South Africa?  

There are more opportunities here and I have the ability to directly help and train many people. Also, the quality of life here is incredible and having the Delta on your doorstep is an unbelievable privilege.  

Kari is from Cape Town and lives in São Paulo, Brazil

What are some things that you have done to help with your integration into the country that you are now living in?

Learning the language was a huge turning point in my integration into the country and making friends. Team sports is another way however, sadly, the team sports they are most famous for (soccer and volleyball) did not form part of our school sports when I was at school. That said I have made some friends through work and horse riding.

Do you think it is important to make an effort to integrate into the new society you find yourself in? 

Most certainly, it is part of your duty as a foreign citizen to make an effort to get to know the local culture, what is considered acceptable and what is not as well as learning some of the basic language.