From Jakarta, Indonesia to Cape Town, South Africa


Echi Ismail


Apologies for publishing this weeks article a day late. Many of you following this series have messaged me to say how you look forward to the weekly article in the morning/evening depending in which time zone you live in. Inshallah from next week it will be back on time.


This weeks article is a bit different to the previous ones as it features someone who has emigrated from Indonesia to South Africa. The article was written by a lifestyle blogger, Echi Ismail.

  1. What is your name?


Echi Ismail


  1. What country were you born in?


Jakarta, Indonesia


  1. What job did you have in your home country? 


Business Lawyer


  1. How long have you been living in your new country for?


16 years


5. Did you immigrate alone or with your family and kids?


I immigrated to Cape Town to follow my husband.


  1. What is your job in your new country?


I am a lifestyle blogger and the owner of an Asian Cooking Class, Lemongrass and entrepreneur.


  1. What do you enjoy about your new country?


I enjoy the four seasons for sure! Spring and autumn are my favourites followed closely by winter – not so much on summer as I come from a tropical country. Therefore, a change of seasons still fascinated me until now.


  1. What do you miss the most about your home country?


I miss my family, friends, the vibes, the food, the fragrance of frangipani hanging from street trees, the dark tropical lush greenery, the list can go on! The first year would be the hardest time as to adjust with new environment and missing home badly. I would say after 6 years upwards, you will be settled and started to feel your new country is your adopted country after all. As for me now, I still miss the homeland but hey, this is my home too now!


  1. What advice would you give someone that is contemplating to immigrate to the country you have immigrated to?


Well, this advice applies to emigrating to a country far in distance from your home country: you’ll have to prepare yourselves that you will miss out many family’s funerals, weddings, eids, get togethers, etc


  1. What challenges, if any, would you advise them to anticipate based on your experiences when you first moved to your new country?


Do your research on laws and regulation pertaining the visa, permanent residency and many other aspects thoroughly before your actual move. As there are some documents that you will have to sort out from your home country.


  1. What advice would you give them to overcome those challenges based on how you overcame them?


Be empathetic, respect the customs, cultures, background of the adopted country.


  1. How was the visa process for immigrating to your new country?


As I have been relocated for almost two decades, the law and regulations on visa etc has changed ever since.


  1. How is the cost of living in the new country compared to your home country?


Cost of living in South Africa is higher than in Indonesia for daily/basic expenses, such as groceries, food, clothing. However, expect to pay more for cars and properties in Indonesia.


  1. Anything else you would like to add, or any advice you would like to give to anyone that is contemplating moving to your new country?


Life is a choice. When we choose this path of emigration with the ups and down, we will have to live with the consequences. Leaving your comfort zone to the unknown is not for the faint hearted. Yet along with that, you’ll grow and be wiser.

Click here to follow Echi Ismail’s blog on Instagram and follow her journey in Cape Town, South Africa.


Echi Ismail 1



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