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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I am considering an EXPAT position in East London, South Africa. It would be from 8 to 12 months long. I have never been anywhere in Africa, so I do not know what I would be getting myself into.

I work for a large company that has an office there. They would house me somewhere nearby the office u would be working at. My main concern is safety. I may stick out being a pale, blonde haired, blue eyed 28 year old female. I don't want to be seen as a tourist that is an easy target and I don't want to have to never leave my apartment! I am originally from Detroit (another "safe" city), but now live in Charlotte, NC.

This EXPAT position would help my career, but I don't want to be scared for my life the entire time I am there!

What does everyone think?
 

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Hi DaniMarieQC,


Is your company giving you an allowance for housing? Do you know how much in Rands you would get per month?

And would it be just you coming?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, it would be just me. They would pay my housing, food and "extra money." I would also be paid my normal salary at home and a bonus.
 

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I grew up near Greensboro. :) But moved from N.Y.C. to Cape Town. I was younger then you when I first moved on my own. I lived in Cape Town for 6 years.

It will be an adjustment from coming from N.C. but you will adjust quickly. Just use common sense. I don't carry my nicest equipment while I am out. I don't walk around alone at dark.

I would suggest renting a car. As you would be limited to calling a taxi every time you want to go out. I never leave my purse on the seat in the car. I tuck it under the seat. I don't leave any valuables out for someone to steal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will also be given a company car, however it will stick out like a sore thumb if I'm not just driving to work. I work for Daimler, and Mercedes-Benz is under them, so that is what I would be given. Were you able to enjoy the city? Did you shop, eat out or did you mostly stay in your home/apartment?
 

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I did enjoy the city. I did road trips. I shopped. I would go watch movies. Eat out.

I was in Cape Town. Hopefully someone who lives in P.E. will read this and can tell you more about P.E.
 

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1.Being pale skinned and blonde would hardly make you stand out as there are LOTS of blondes in SA.
2. Driving a Merc or BMW is fairly common amongst the more wealthy, just be sensible where you park it so it doesn't get stolen.
3. Going out was not a problem when I visited and certainly before I left, but you have to be sensible and check your intended movements with locals that have been there a while. They will know the dangerous and safe areas to go.
4. I would suggest you hook up with a crowd of friends, as going out in a group is always safer in any country. Single women are targets in most countries after dark. And before I get flamed: I know this should not be the case, but it is the reality of life.
5. South Africans are very friendly people, both whites and blacks, so you will mosy likely be overwhelmed with offers to take you places and show you the country; enjoy it, but as in all cases, check the background of the offerers with others.

East London is in one of the pretty regions although the weather is not the best in SA.

From what I have seen on the news about Detroit, you should be able to be sensible and have no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great. Thank you for all of your replies.

I used to travel to Mexico often and having blonde hair, blue eyes and pale skin seemed to make me a target for attention - good and bad. I had a Mexican friend who was with me at all times and people seemed to leave me alone. When he wasn't around I was hollered at and cornered once at my hotel.

Can anyone tell me what there is to do there for fun?
 

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Because of the weather, outdoor living is the main style of living. This means various forms of sport: tennis, swimming, waterskiing, sailing, jet skiing and of course rugby and cricket(neither of which Americans understand). I don't know what the live theatre situation is like in East London these days, so cannot advise.
Unlike the UK, people entertain at home a lot, so how busy you are will depend on how many friends you make. Eating out is never a problem and seafood should be great at the coast, fresh and relatively inexpensive.
But I am not from East London, so a local would be better able to comment.
If you want to stay in there is subscription TV to watch. There is public TV but choices are limited on it.
And be prepared for a certain levelof male arrogance as in SA all are not equal yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey! Don't assume all Americans don't understand rugby and cricket :) My ex b/f's college roommate played rugby and I attended many games. My understanding of cricket came from working with co-workers/friends in India :)

Thank you for your replies - I appreciate you taking the time to respond. This is something that I really want to do, I just need the final push to go for it!
 

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Go for it. It will at the very least be an experience you will never forget.

If you get a chance while you are in SA visit the Kruger Park in nothern Transvaal (quite a distance from East London and go and have a look at Gold Reef City, where you can go down an old gold mine and see a gold bar getting poured(in Johannesburg).
 
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