• Alexa Perry

South African Women Abroad - Part 1

I recently chatted to two South African expat friends that I met in the last 16 months of living in Shanghai, China. We spoke about the experience of living abroad and how it’s affected them in different ways. It’s so interesting how we can all be foreigners in the same country but have polar opposite experiences and views.

Noxi is originally from South Africa, and has lived and worked abroad for a total of three years to date. She’s lived in Hefei, Nanjing, and Brazil.

Noxi’s experience:

Q: Why did you choose to live abroad?

A: I consider myself a “citizen of the world” which to me means there are no limits to where one can live. I see each move as moving on or moving into another phase of my life.

Q: How does your family feel about your global citizenship?

A: I come from a very supportive family, so they are for it. They encourage and give me as much support as they can. They constantly remind me that I am not an anomaly.

Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of living abroad?

A: Adjusting to being disconnected physically and often emotionally from the people back home, and the people I befriend along the way who are often only in my life for the brief moment that our paths cross.

Q: What has been the best thing about living in different parts of the world?

A: The best part has been creating family with strangers. You are almost forced to make “new family” connections when you're abroad because you become a lifeline for other expats and vice versa. You find that you have to reach out in ways that you wouldn’t ordinarily have to if you’d been home.

Q: How have you grown from your experience thus far?

A: I have learned resilience, tolerance, patience, how to lean into vulnerability, soldier through the dark times, inner strength and a deeper connection with my spirituality and the higher power.

Q: Do you plan to return home?

A: I will live abroad as long as I need to. I have a number of places I want to live and work in. I will continue living abroad until I have accomplished my goals.

I hope reading about Noxi’s experience has inspired you to take on this world one country at a time.

No two people are the same, which is what makes the human race so dynamic. We all experience life in different ways, and see things through lenses that are filtered by our unique human experiences.

Read about Didi's experience next Friday...

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