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  1. 2 points
    I have found that people really enjoy a different accent - and in all of my work environments, there has been not just acceptance of it, but appreciation. Diversity is highly valued in most US workforces - companies have a big focus on it. I once presented to a group along with some of my colleauges (who famously gave me an English>American dictionary as a joke gift), and said something like 'nought to 100' instead of 'zero to 100' - and I saw my colleagues crack up. I later asked them whether I should focus on using the US lingo - and they all said 'NO' - they all understood what I meant, and it was refreshing to hear things differently. That said, I have changed much of my vocab (post has become mail, queue has become line, lift has become elevator and so on) just because that is what you hear all around. Subtle changes to accent too - as SJ272 says, with the 'Rs'. Don't however, try and cultivate an American accent - it will come off as phony - and is totally unnecessary.
  2. 2 points
    Thank you [at]oscar and [at]SJ272 for your valuable input. It gives me a lot to think about. So, regarding benefits - if my husband is employed with benefits, does it mean that I can latch onto that for medical (like in SA)? Yes, Oscar, I get your point regarding the accent. I didn't think of that before, but I can imagine how that may be a problem. I'm actually practicing my American English, also need to be aware of the different words that can make a huge difference, for example we went to Hershey Park with American friends and I was saying how long the "Q's" were and just got blank stares 😂 Only realised later that they talk about a "line" and not a "Q". Can't anticipate everything though, will have to learn as we go along. Regarding the tours - my idea is not to open a travel agency per se. Like SJS272 said - it's more about getting a group of people travelling together that doesn't want to bother with self drive. For example, I used to have clients from Canada that visited SA once a year and they would book my tour bus upfront for about a week. So I'll do all the driving. Airport transfers, daily excursions wherever they wanted to go, Dinner transfers, Tours, etc. Yes, they were wealthy, but what people don't realize, is that if you're a group and you split the costs, it is not so expensive per person and better to hire a bus with a driver than to rent 2 or 3 cars and then they have to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road as well. Also, the way it works is that the clients don't pay me any commission - I negotiate better rates with my network partners. The clients don't pay extra than what they would have if they have booked online. In many cases, I can actually reduce the cost for them and they get the benefit of having a tailor made tour. The 'challenge' here for me was that wealthy clients actually don't really care about the cost (especially if they earn $), and trying to convince people that they can actually save money doing it this way without it being a scam is really tricky to market.
  3. 1 point
    Some Youtube videos:
  4. 1 point
    The DA is trying to improve the service to South Africans living abroad in getting a new passport quicker. Please sign the petition if you are interested. Here is the link https://petitions.da.org.za/p/capablehomeaffairsabroad
  5. 1 point
    [at]FranetteM How I decided on products, I first looked for a place that suits nut production, Hawaii is it. Also California for Almonds, and Texas for Pecans. Hawaii imports everything, apart from mac nuts, coffee, and maybe fish. And imported goods will already be ~20% more expensive from freight, and if imported from other countries, even more expensive from excise and freight. So it is a captive market if you produce locally. But it has down sides, farm labour is $10 an hour (compared to SA R18 an hour = 800% of SA rate), and land is a bit expensive.
  6. 1 point
    This is so right! Unless you have a VERY heavy accent, I wouldn’t stress about trying to change it too much. As Malamute said, more often than not Americans absolutely LOVE hearing a different “exotic” accent. Forcing yourself to sound like an American never works, you more often than not, just end up sounding like Gru from Despicable Me, and even if you happen to nail the accent you’ll almost certainly trip up on the American words, phrases or names. Best stick to what you’re comfortable with and own it! Make it your own and embrace your “foreignness”. Whenever I have mentioned to friends, colleagues and even complete strangers that I forget just HOW different I sound and that I probably should work more on sounding more “local”, they quite literally beg me not to. They really do love hearing the different “exotic” accent and love that we use different “fancy” words for almost everything! I’ve had at least half a dozen people ask me to record voice mail messages for them to impress their friends. My wife’s entire office and nearly all of her 30 staff members now naturally say things in conversation like “dodgy”, “crap”, “rubbish”, “lovely”, “just now”, plus a litany of random Afrikaans words and a whole bunch of very British ones too. I’ve even noticed that the vocabulary of our friends and colleagues has improved dramatically over the years and in some cases expanded. It is truly quite amazing what a little bit of diversity can do. Most important though, is just being understood. 99% of that is just using the American English words instead of the British English words. You simply don’t realize just how many words are different, until you have to actually use them to be understood. I used to think American English was only slightly different, maybe 30-50 words and then some slightly different spellings eg. “z” instead of “s”, “color” not “colour”, “aluminum” not “aluminium” etc. Not even close! In some ways it really is a completely different language. The weird thing is that growing up with American TV, Music, Movies and media we already know almost all of these names and words, we just never used any of them. The best part of having an accent is that you get a LOT more slack and people are generally a lot more forgiving, receptive, understanding, and considerate. It’s like playing stupid, instead you still come across as intelligent, only different. I once got out of a traffic ticket because I sounded foreign and the officer cut me a break because I accidentally said kilometers instead of miles. Hahaha! Also, whenever i’m dealing with people in customer support, banks, information desks, reception, on the telephone, etc. and don't quite know the procedure, need help, or just have a question, I just say something in my best South African accent like, “Excuse me. You might have noticed, but l’m not from around here... and I really have no idea how this is supposed to work...” and they laugh with genuine delight and more often than not make a concerted effort to explain things in great detail, go out of their way to be as helpful as possible, and often cut you some serious slack, when they’d normally cut off or shut down the average customer. It really is like a secret weapon in many cases. Your accent will naturally change over time as you learn to stretch out your words and slow down your speech. The hard ‘g’s and rolling ‘r’s will soften, and the quick and flat “a”s will become more accented and drawn out with time and you’ll start to naturally pronounce many words and names the American way, especially the American ones, which you’ll use more and more. So much so that your South African friends and family will start commenting that you “...sound so American!” I realized just this on our recent visit to SA this April. I was talking to my daughter on a swing in Durban (where I grew up) and the mother next to me turned around and asked me where I was from! The exact same question I get almost every single day (sometimes 5 times a day) in the US. That’s when I realized than I now officially have an accent without a home, as I like to say. I sound foreign to Americans and I sound foreign to South Africans. Hahaha! In short... just be yourself. Embrace your accent and incredibly unique foreignness. Unless you are intending to act in Hollywood or host a TV show, going full Charlize Theron is just a complete waste of time, effort and money. If anything, it might even work against you, as you’ll often be treated like every other American. Unless they already personally know another South African, the vast majority of Americans effectively have absolutely no preconceived ideas or stereotypes associated with South Africans. Especially negative ones! Unlike, they do for so many of the other larger immigrant populations that they might otherwise perceive in a negative way. This lack of preconceived ideas tends to make them more accepting, welcoming, friendly, and genuinely curious towards us. And that goes a really long way in most cases.
  7. 1 point
    They also tend to say “store” rather than “shop”. and btw if someone asks you for your “autograph”, they are not being funny or cute, many use it interchangeably with “signature”.
  8. 1 point
    Well, they feel saying "going to the shops" Tends to sounds so British. Americans tend to be more specific and say " I'm going to Duane Reade to pick up a few things. ( Duane Reade is a pharmacy chain in NY similar to CVS )
  9. 1 point
    ^ I think summer Friday’s are catching on more and more. At my husband’s previous company, they had them all the way from Memorial Day to Labor Day! It’s also a lot more accepted to do work from home here, at least in the Bay Area. Many companies officially have wfh Fridays. Friend of mine lectures at a local university (came here on a work visa to do so, so jumped right in) and also had a bit of a learning curve with words. I don’t think it’s that critical that you need to wait a few years, but getting a voice coach actually is a good idea if you want to do something like that. The other thing is to pronounce your Rs - like in water, forty, over etc where saffers tend to pronounce as though it’s silent/h! Otherwise you may get blank stares! Also, at a supermarket, they won’t know what you mean if you say trolley - it’s a cart! Lots of these little ones to learn. You can usually figure out what other people mean, but they can’t always figure out what you mean!
  10. 1 point
    Good Morning Franette ! its Summer fun Friday so I'm feeling great ( During the summer months we only work half days on Friday 8-12) this only applies to the months of July and August. Summer Fun Days are not offered by many companies, but its catching on as more companies transition to casual Fridays. You also don't get much vacation time here so any bit of extra time is a huge gift. If your husband gets a job with benefits you certainly can be added to his health insurance together with any siblings. It works both ways if you were to be the sole income earner your husband and siblings could go on your insurance. I'm sure you could eventually become a trainer but give it a few years to learn the local lingo. We need to find out who Charlize Theron's voice coach was. She perfected it but does slip occasionally. and get some lessons. When I speak to family in SA They say what's with the phony language. Interestingly people in the office have commented when I go back to SA on vacation and get back in the office after three weeks, they say I sound more South African again, something that I did not notice. What I do notice when I get back I always tend to get into the wrong side of the car. When writing letters I suggest you add Grammarly to your computer it helps with writing in American.
  11. 1 point
    I think like with travel agents, the Internet has taken the place of a lot of recruiting business. Millions of candidates are on LinkedIn, zip recruiter, etc that HR departments can zero in on exactly what they’re looking for, whereas recruiters often do a “spray and pray” approach of tossing everything in hoping something works, or like the ones I mentioned above who send unsolicited resumes to companies advertising publicly. We used a recruiter at the company I worked for back in SA and I still don’t know why, they never did anything we couldn’t have done for ourselves imo. And almost all the senior hires were never advertised but interviewed through networking, of course the market in SA is much, much smaller so that’s easier.
  12. 1 point
    My timeline was the same as yours, with my interview completed in June 2005 We arrived in Los Angeles in November 2005 went to Social Security the next day after arrival only to find that it would take 3-- 4 Weeks to get our SSN numbers. That was a shock as you needed an SSN number for everything. So we stayed in the USA for a week and then went back home to Cape Town for 3.5 months. I enjoyed the summer weather, and this time Landed in Boston MA where I got my job with the TSA very quickly as My SSN number had been issued while I was away. While in Cape Town I could then go online and upload my resume on all the sites possible, and that's how I got a recruiter to contact me. I also used a contact address in the USA so my resume looked more American. While I was out here in my first week in November I bought a cell phone so I had a US phone number. As I had no credit score I could only get a pay as you go phone, but it worked out ok. You will just need to have a lot of patience and not let anything get you down, as there will be many times that you will feel like packing up and heading back home. At one stage we had booked tickets back home again but decided to stay it was also then that I got my first well paying job in Washington DC which included a sign-on bonus of $10,000 and a furnished apartment for four months fully paid for by my new company.
  13. 1 point
    Experience is different to Oscar, my husband got poached for his current excellent job in the “quiet time”... he wasn’t even looking, lol! Talking of macdonalds, just about every single shop, restaurant etc around here and through the main parts of the Bay Area has “help wanted” signs, granted they are minimum wage or just above but still, they are genuine, my high schooler earlier this year, zero experience, found a part time job in a well known coffee shop literally within a day of starting to look and they wanted her to start training immediately. The unemployment rate in the US is currently at the lowest level it’s been since the late 1960s https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000 ... it really is not difficult to find a job at the moment. It may or may not be the ideal job for a new immigrant, but you should be able to get your foot in the door pretty easily. It may be regional too, the Bay Area is booming, nyc may be less so because globally there have been a lot of layoffs in the investment banking/finance arena and nyc is disproportionately affected for that. Again, understand where to look for what you do. Just remember to do a US style resume and understand how the auto filters work so that you word your cover letter correctly.
  14. 1 point
    The US job market works in cycles. The best time to find a job is from mid-January through to April. The reason for this is most companies pay out bonuses in March So many people wait for their bonus before quitting. The hiring season stops in October around Thanksgiving through to mid-January See link below https://careersidekick.com/the-two-best-and-worst-times-of-the-year-for-job-hunting Suggest you check out jobs on www.indeed.com If you do post your resume on any search engine do not leave it posted there indefinitely. Post it for three weeks and then remove it for two weeks the post it again. Keep it Fresh. Any reference to a recruiter contacting you in South Africa is highly unlikely but it does happen. I had a recruiter call me and spoke on the phone for at least two hours all in all. For any job in the USA, you will need to provide your Social Security number. Without it, they will not even look at your application. They usually run your SSN number to check out your credit score. As you will have a new SSN number you will be regarded as someone with a low credit score like a Student. It may be a good idea to get your South African Credit score and put it on your application. You have nothing to lose. Its all a matter of Patience with getting a job in the USA. When I got here in 2005 I got a job with the TSA at Logan Airport within ten days. (Mandatory drug testing results delayed my application by about a week) I got the job because I was in the SA Army and they were so happy that I knew how to use a gun. Who would have thought that my two years in the SADF would land me my first job in the USA. Getting the right job took another two months, I landed up in Washington DC, for 9 years then Texas, California and now in New York City. The only way to get your pay up initially is to job hop every few years. There is no point in coming here in October – January to look for a job it's just a very quiet time. Although the US economy is doing well it is still a little weak and has not fully recovered from the 2008 housing and stock exchange crash. When I came here in 2005 jobs were really in demand and most companies even Mac Donald’s was giving out sign-on bonuses we have never got back to that sort of level in the economy.
  15. 1 point
    [at]Kallas, honestly, I wouldn’t bother with recruiting agencies. They are mostly a different animal here to what you see in the SA. It will be hard to get a job when you’re outside the US, which also means you will be highly limiting yourself in terms of opportunities. I know it’s scary, but my best advice is honestly to take the leap. Just do some research into areas that are good for your type of job. We had someone on the forum a few years back who battled to find work but he had gone to the place based on cheapest housing market he could find, but housing was so cheap because unemployment was so high there and there were no jobs. US is pretty hot jobs-wise at the moment, and if you are looking in the right region you should find something fairly quickly, I’d expect, bearing in mind many immigrants start out a little lower hierarchy-wise than when they left. My husband was pretty senior in his company on SA. took a cut in position when he moved over, now, 4 years later he is way more senior than the position he left SA at a fabulous company (nothing like it in SA). I hear similar stories like this all the time from our SA expats.
  16. 1 point
    [at]FranetteM Great. Yes that is the consulate in Sandton City. Cool, saw the Capital Empire, walked past it on the way, nicely done.
  17. 1 point
    Congrats Heidi. It’s pretty unusual to actually get a job offer before going over, but right now the US job market is strong so even going over with no offer (as many of us DV winners usually do) is probably no problem, as long as you’ve done some research about going to the right kind of region for the work you want to do.
  18. 1 point
    [at]Kallas Great stuff, it’s easy hey? Glad you got through with no hangups. But it was good to have backup plans. You probably have your passports back? What is the next step for you? [at]FranetteM How’s it going? You guys must be getting ready for the medical? Make sure to confirm your appointment on the consulate website, hey? And to go to the consulate, not the embassy, I’m sure that mistake has been made in the past. Exciting times. Anything you are doubting? And have you found your flights yet? I just got back from Transkei diving the sardine run, tons of sharks and wales, and even a few orcas in the water. But back now and waiting for good news, we can have 3 out of 3 cases successful from the help of others on this site. Happiness!
  19. 1 point
    Congratulations, Kallas It can all start out to be quite daunting, and everyone seems to get VERY nervous about the interview (and there IS a lot at stake) - but for most people, like yourself, it is really almost anti-climactic, and so simple. People get themselves in knots about it, thinking it HAS to be more complicated, it HAS to be more difficult.....but it isn't. Key is being prepared with documentation, and the rest is really a breeze. Let the adventure begin!
  20. 1 point
    Yip, huge relief, now to recover from the financial knock from the medicals and interview fees! I only realised on Tuesday that it's $330 per person, and we're a family of four. Good luck [at]FranetteM, if you have all your docs you have nothing to worry about, they're really chilled.
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