Alex's journey: London to Cape Town

Alex McDonald


Job title: Recruitment Consultant - Oil & Gas

Gattaca start date: April 2014

Date of transfer: 2014


Why did you decide to transfer?
I always wanted to do an expat assignment, but I didn’t know where! I went to South Africa to visit a friend and instantly fell in love with the beaches, BBQs and sun.

Why did you transfer to Cape Town in particular?
Although you are in Africa, it is very easy to settle here coming from the UK. I would say it has more of a European feel, as there are so many expats and travellers in Cape Town. Everyone speaks English, the food is incredible and very cheap. There are hot summers for six months of the year and then it cools down, with maybe a month or two of real winter, so you have a nice break from the African sun.

How was the transfer process for you?
It was very quick, and only took a few weeks after my visa came through.

How did Gattaca support you with the move?
The Managing Director in Cape Town made the transfer really easy for me; advising areas to look for accommodation and he even visited a couple of places for me. My new colleagues also helped out with places to rent a car for the first few months and once I was in Cape Town they were jumping up and down to show me around which was really nice.

What do you like best about Cape Town?
The standard of food, definitely the weather and there are so many free activities to do with the beautiful beaches and mountains around.

How has the transfer helped to enhance your career?
It has helped me to understand conducting business internationally, especially in terms of contracting and finding payment solutions in different countries. I would say the biggest learning curve was how to approach business development, I quickly learnt that I needed to adapt the sales style I used in the UK to suit the way people like doing business  in Africa.

Do you have any advice for others who may be interested in relocating offices?
I suggest you speak to your colleagues who are already working in that office and pick their brains to gain some insight. YouTube is also a good source of information.

Find out more about our Cape Town office.