Ibrahim’s Story – South Africa to Southampton – Overseas Accountancy Jobs

Our Managing Director, Abigail, recently caught up with a very positive Ibrahim to find out more about his move 18 months after he moved from  South Africa to the Southampton.

Why did you initially want an overseas move?

“I wanted something more complex and challenging and circumstances in my personal life meant it was good timing. My father is an accountant so I always knew I would be one someday.

I wanted an English speaking location and had heard about the wonderful culture in England, a simple way of life.  Specifically, my research showed me a country where people have respect for each other, a developed country, a financial hub – all the major institutions have head offices in the UK.  It was also a hub to meet people from all over the world and had a good proximity to home.”

What have you discovered about living in the UK?

“On a daily basis, I meet people from different countries which is always interesting. I am now closer to Nigeria than I was in South Africa and can get a direct flight for just £400 return! I have visited places I have never been to before or thought I would ever get to visit.”


Did anything surprise you when you moved to the UK?

“I was shocked, in a good way, how secure it was here.  My background was that I always had to be cautious and was naturally very reserved and never gave personal details to anyone.  Now I have let my guard down and feel more confident to speak to people.  People want to know you and are interested in what you have done, what you do, who you are.   I found myself opening up to talk to people more than I was used to.

If anything I was really surprised by the weather, it wasn’t as bad as I thought!  I thought it would be snowy and it’s not.  I haven’t seen any snow yet.”

How have you found working for Deloitte?

-Welcoming environment

“Everyone goes out of their way to be nice and welcoming, When I got here the Managing Partner for the entire South region came to the office to introduce himself to the four new starts.   He didn’t have to do that; it was a great gesture!

Southampton is a small friendly office.  Everyone knows everyone and most of my friends are from work.

I am part of the Deloitte football team and last year we won a trophy for a competition against other firms and teams include EY, PwC and Grant Thornton.”

-Training & support

“Deloitte are brilliant with training. They are very patient, they know it takes the time to learn how to do everything, we get technical updates once a month and other workshops.  They provide you with all the resources your need.

Deloitte will support you in every way, they don’t want people to leave.  If you are unhappy they will let you change your portfolio. If you have problems, there are advisors you can speak to.”

-Flexible working

“You can work your 7 hours a day anywhere, in the office, home, a restaurant.  Southampton is more relaxed, we do some overtime, but it is tailored to suit your life.  The office is open 24 hours a day, so you can work anytime.”

-Multicultural office

“In terms of work, I am getting new experiences every day. The office is multicultural, I have friends in the office from all over the world, including South Africans, Mauritians and someone from Kazakhstan.  Southampton is a sister office to Reading and there is, even more, diversity there. I work on a weekly basis with people from Reading. They have now split the firms into specialist sections rather than offices.

I am in the international business team now, working with international clients and work with people from many different countries, most of the team are international and have made a similar move to myself.”

How have you been finding Southampton lifestyle?

“The weather here is the best in the UK, it is so warm! I love sports, anything with sports, watching or doing.  I have also developed a keen interest in going to the cinema.  There is a nice one close to where I live. I also just live 20 minutes’ walk to the office and have a cousin here so I get to spend time with him.

The day I worship is on Friday’s.  I get to do this with other Muslims. It is hard having Ramadan in the summer with the long days, however, at the office, they helped make it fun, the support of the team at work was great.  Some afternoons after not eating, they said you look tired you should go home. There is a mosque 15 minutes’ walk away.  In Nigeria, it was so far away to get to so it was hard to go but everything is close here, shops, everything. I play basketball and ping pong.  I have found a new sport, 10 pin bowling.  I found I could hit a few strikes and thought yes I can do this!”

Have you been taking advantage of the travel opportunities?


“I have managed to get to visit Scotland, where I climbed Ben Nevis and loved Edinburgh. I got out to visit my sister in the US when she graduated in June. Around England, I’ve been to Birmingham, Yateley. Portsmouth, Bournemouth, and Poole.  I was home last December but I am going away for the entire December this year.”

What would you say the biggest challenge moving here?

“The food.  It’s very very different and it took me a while to get used to it.

The food wasn’t bad, I thought I could find exactly what I had before, Biltong and special salty sausages.  Now I know where to get them, which is good.  To be honest I have been healthier here. I used to have to be running 6kms each weekend to loose weight but lost it here through healthier eating.”

Is there any advice you would give to others thinking of making a move?

“Do it!  Challenge yourself.  Don’t think about what could go wrong. Whatever your fear is, try it.  I promise you will look back on your life and say ‘I am glad I made that move’.

Embrace change. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  You may make mistakes, but that is natural. Never say ‘I can’t’ or ’I am not able.’

I am so lucky, It has been amazing living here.”


Think Global Recruitment would like to thank Ibrahim for sharing his story with us and wish him the all the best for the future in Southhampton. 

Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our advisors.