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An Expat Talks about Living in Johannesburg, South Africa

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Johannesburg

How long have you lived there?

3 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

I would suggest either an involvement with the Women's International Club or a similar group. I am not personally involved with any such groups, but have found I have met many people through going to the gym. Also, if you have children, you can always get involved with the school (generally) and meet other parents that way.

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Expats living in South Africa interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

I have found Johannesburg to be extremely culturally and racially diverse........and economically as well. There are a lot of very wealthy people and there are a lot of very impoverished people. It's an interesting dichotomy. I have found most people to be accepting of me. Having said that, there is still an undercurrent of the old apartheid feelings. Remember that SA is still a very young democracy.....only 12 years.......so, there are still a lot of feelings, good and bad.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The main industries are extremely diverse from mining to banking as well as the fact that Joburg is probably the capital of southern Africa which brings in all the embassies, the UN, etc. I'm not sure how difficult it would be for a person trying to move here without a job. Because of affirmative action and Black Empowerment, finding a job (unless you are previously disadvantaged in this country) is probably tricky.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Work seems to be the general feel of Johannesburg..... accented with lots of holidays during the 'festive' season (Dec & Jan). People are quite social on the weekends and plan large all day 'braiis' (barbeques) with loads of families and loads of food and drink. Going to the 'bush' is also important when one can take the time.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Work with a relocation person to find out about shopping, schools, banking, etc. Check out Joburg (if possible) in advance. There are a lot of problems with crime so one has to be hyper aware at all times. But hey, it's Africa and Joburg in particular has it's own kinda vibe.........not a bad thing. Good luck!

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10-Tips-for-Living-in-South-Africa10 Tips for Living in South Africa

The reviews of expat life in South Africa are mixed. Some expats feel that crime is a big problem and causing an expat exodus. Others debate that the crime rates match those of other big cities in the world.

The reviews of expat life in South Africa are mixed. Some expats feel that crime is a big problem and causing an expat exodus. Others debate that the crime rates match those of other big cities in t...

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