We are South African : do we stay in the UK or move to Aus

(11 Posts)
Sibella1 Thu 26-Nov-09 23:43:13

We are South Africans who have lived in Surrey for nearly 3 years. I have 2 DD's (3 and 8 years old). We really struggle with the winter weather and with our tiny house. But I love my daughter's junior school, the community feeling of the town we live in and being able to travel around Europe (we've been to France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland!)

We have started the process of immigrating to Australia which I thought would suit us better. Our only way was Canberra State Sponsorship which we recently received and we haven't applied for the actual visa yet.
Once we get the visa (which could take a few years, we need to live in Canberra for 2 years).

Now I'm not so sure - I've kind of settled here and made lovely friends. But then I feel really down when its dark so early.
But then in Aus I get the idea that the schools are not as good as here and the kids have no discipline and the shops are crap - who knows. What to do what do to - any advice will be much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
Sandgroper Mon 30-Nov-09 17:19:14


An an expat Aussie who has been here for 10 years (in Surrey as well which I love), I too hate the English winters, don't think I will ever get used to it! Also the houses are so small but there are a lot of good things about the UK, otherwise I guess I wouldn't still be here. And the ability to travel abroad easily is a great plus.

Take it from me, we have moved back to WA twice and still come back to the UK, mainly for DH's work!

It has taken me a long time to realise there is no perfect place to live. Life is what you make it wherever you live and remember you always have the choice to go home if you don't like it!

I have never been to Canberra, only what I have heard, full of politicians and can get very cold in winter. Am sure Oz or expat mumsnetters can enlighten you.

Salaries are generally a lot lower, although that depends on what DH does for living but we found the cost of living very high and food prices nearly made my eyes water on my weekly shop!

As for schools, well it is like anywhere good and bad, but the shops are crap compared with the UK High Street, well on the West Coast anyway. You just don't get the choice you do here but that boils down to a population thing.

BTW WA doesn't have daylight savings so it was getting dark at 5 pm in winter anyway so not much difference to here really, except the winters are a lot warmer.

Guess it depends what you want out of life. Good luck with your decision, remember the grass is not always greener on the other side!

expatinscotland Mon 30-Nov-09 17:24:33

i'd move to aus

midnightexpress Mon 30-Nov-09 17:26:11

feelin' the cold expat? grin

wannaBe Mon 30-Nov-09 17:33:11


I grew up in South africa (originally born here in the UK though), have been back here for fifteen years and still hate the cold. grin

I have always said that if I were to emigrate then it would be to Australia as things like the lifestyle (ie outdoor living) are similar to SA but without the added crime and security issues (which is a huge part of the reason why I would never go back to SA, even though I loved it there and didn't want to leave at the time).

But I do think that there is no such place as the perfect place to live, and the good things in one country might be the bad in another and vice versa, and after all, there are plenty of ausi's living over here so if it was the best place to be then they wouldn't leave it to come to the UK.

Perhaps weigh up the pro's and cons of living here and living in Australia before making a decision.

Also - if you left here to go to Aus and it didn't work out, could you come back here? Or would you have to go back to SA, in which case would you want to?

expatinscotland Mon 30-Nov-09 21:14:38

nice and warm in this flat, mid .

but from the OPs point, i'd chose aus. it's not as far from SA as it is from the UK, for starters, and the lifestyle can be similar in a lot of ways due to the climate/weather in both places.

midnightexpress Tue 01-Dec-09 20:49:02

Glad to hear it expat - good to see you back, and glad you got sorted with somewhere to live.
<sorry for slight hijack. On today's evidence I'd go to Oz too>


Sibella1 Wed 02-Dec-09 22:52:55

The problem is that if we go to Aus we won't be able to come back here as we don't have citizenship yet.

And we don't really want to go back to South Africa. Well we do but we can't really as it would not be sensible. (I learnt to be 'sensible' here in the UK!)

Decisions decisions...

OP’s posts: |
sunnydelight Thu 03-Dec-09 04:40:10

Where we live in Sydney there are so many South Africans the supermarkets have a special section and there is a South African butcher grin There are a lot of SA kids and teachers in my kids school too, all of whom are happy they made the move (they weren't comparing it with the UK though and a lot of people have scary stories to tell about violence).

Most people say that the climate and space makes them feel at home - I would imagine though that it would depend entirely on where you end up living, I've never even been to Canberra so can't comment. My personal experience is that schools here are much better than the UK, but that's possibly because being Irish I never rated UK schools anyway (runs and hides).

CertainAge Thu 03-Dec-09 04:45:42

How about hanging on the the UK for 2-3 years until you get your citizenship and then re-evaluate? As you say, your Australian visa could take that long.

slim22 Thu 03-Dec-09 05:04:48

Wisdom comes with a certainAge.

its would be a win win.

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