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Magdalena: Biltong101

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in South Africa makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to South Africa, etc.

I’m a 25-year-old Polish expat living in Cape Town. I came to South Africa two years ago for an internship. I currently work as an editor in a research company.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started to write about my experience after I came here. Few months ago I decided that I can’t keep writing for the drawer if I want to become a writer one day and I started blogging.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I really like this post about travelers:

Tell us about the ways your new life in South Africa differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

South Africa is more dangerous than Poland; I really didn’t like Johannesburg with its electric fences and lack of public transport. Cape Town isn’t as save as Warsaw, but other than that it’s an amazing city. I think what I like the most about South Africa is the cultural diversity. I didn’t have it at home, Poland is very homogenous. I didn’t experience culture shock but there are some things which I find weird (no internal heating in winter being the most annoying of them).

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in South Africa? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

I’d been travelling and living abroad for short periods of time before I moved here which was a good preparation. I’m also lucky to adapt easily. My life here, especially last year, wasn’t a bed of roses but I don’t think I could have predicted or avoided certain events.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

In South African English “lekker” means cool. I misunderstood it at first and thought that people say “liquor”. My friends had been receiving messages saying “Liquor, I’ll see you later” for quite a while before they decided to stop laughing in silence and told me that I got it wrong.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in South Africa?

  • Listen to the locals but double-check with expats.
  • Make sure that you avoid dangerous areas. Being “tough” and going to wrong places to show off means risking your life.
  • Try food at Kauai.

How is the expat community in South Africa? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community in Cape Town is well-developed. I have quite a few friends among South Africans but many young and educated people here lack general knowledge and have no interest in culture.

How would you summarize your expat life in South Africa in a single, catchy sentence?

Cape Town is a must-have experience.

Sandro Pedace

"With InterNations, you'll meet interesting expats wherever you go - both online and offline."

Stephanie Gainsbourg

"InterNations provided me with an "entrance" to the expat circles of Pretoria, so to speak, and helped me get to know other French expatriates. "

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