Expat Stories – Dale Kent
February 2020   EXPAT STORIES

Expat Stories – Dale Kent

Dale Kent works in the Broker Sales and Support Team at Cigna Global IPMI.
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Dale is from South Africa but now lives in Scotland. He moved to Scotland with his wife in September 2018.

This is his expat story.

Tell us about your expat move.

I moved to the UK from South Africa with my wife on the 22nd of September 2018. We started planning our move about six months to a year beforehand.

We’ve been in Glasgow ever since!

What made you decide to move to the UK?

My grandad was born in the UK so I had the rights to an ancestry visa, so I’m here on that basis.

In recent years, there have been a lot of people leaving South Africa and moving to different countries to become expats. We also figured it was our time to do it. We could have stayed but we decided to make change.

How have you found it living here?

It has been a challenge but also very rewarding at the same time. Being an expat, you get to test yourself in ways that you never even knew. I’ve had more challenges last year than I’ve ever had in my life. It is definitely a process and I’ve heard it said that there is a two to three year process of integrating into a new country.

We are on a journey at the moment where we are integrating ourselves into our new lives in Scotland, getting used to a new culture and everything that comes with it.

Is there anything in particular that you miss from back home in South Africa?

Friends and sunshine are definitely missed. The weather in South Africa is very consistent so it’s definitely a lot different to being here in Scotland!

I also miss the great food in South Africa. You get used to eating the types of things that we have in South Africa. Other than those, I don’t miss too much from back home to be honest.

What have been some of your biggest highlights so far in Scotland?

Right now, it’s pretty much been about getting settled here so renting a house, buying our own car and things like that. We’ve got to travel around Scotland a bit, we’ve bene up to visit Ayrshire and that place is beautiful!

Building a new life here has been the most rewarding thing for us. We left our lives in South Africa and sold up everything we had there to come over here and start over. The longer we’ve been here, the more we’ve started to establish ourselves.

Overall, the expat journey that we’ve been on here has been amazing!

What advice would you give to those who are considering making an expat move?

Doing research on the place you are moving to can be a real help. We found that our research got us around 60% of the way there and the other 40% came through living through it.

Before we moved here, we did some research, came over for a holiday here and had seen all we wanted to see in terms of being around the culture and stuff like that. But when we moved here we realised that there was still things we needed to live through and get used to.

There were plenty of changes, such as job recruitment and renting a house that were very different to what we were used to. For example, in the UK we were amazed that there were so many different companies that could supply you with energy where as in South Africa there is only one.

I feel like I’m twenty years old again! I’m learning so many different things living here where as in South Africa I felt like I knew what my day-to-day life was like, and now it keeps me on my toes being an expat in a new place.

How would you summarise your expat journey up until this point?

I think we are still trying to find our feet in the grand scheme of things. What I’ve learned is that everything is a step, we are always taking steps in life and moving forward. We started at zero again when we moved to the UK and I think it will take us a few years to feel fully settled here.

Take the weather for instance, I was still wearing a jersey and a jacket in the summer! It wasn’t even that it was cold, I just didn’t trust that it wasn’t going to rain!

As an expat, you learn as you go along and that’s also the same with life. I remember my brother-in-law said to me one day that “you never stop learning in life” and I think that is so true.

You’ve always got to look ahead in life and continue learning and that’s what we are doing here currently. Looking ahead and thinking about what we want to build here in the UK.

Are you glad you made the expat move?

Definitely. We could have stayed comfortable living in South Africa but we decided to give it a go and move here.

Back in South Africa, moving is a big deal. Then we came here and I realised that people move around all the time (laughs). For us it was a very big thing, but we are really enjoying the challenge.

Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?

Immigration - the hardest yet most rewarding challenge of my life.

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