Graham’s Story from South Africa to the UK – Overseas Accountancy Careers

We’ve had the pleasure of assisting Graham in Leeds, England to secure his ideal role abroad. Recently we caught up with him to find out how it’s been living in the UK, his experiences, and his advice to others looking to make the big move abroad.

In his own words, here’s Graham’s story of working and living abroad.


‘My reasons for going abroad were two-fold.’

‘I met one of the Think Global Recruitment consultants at a networking event here in Durban, South Africa, and at that point I had been looking at potentially going overseas, but I had no idea how to go about finding a job and making the move. I had already visited the UK in the past and had family ties in the UK, so that was the easiest option for me to go overseas.’


‘It was, for me, the line of least resistant for me to move and transition into. I mean you’ve got so much uncertainty when moving countries and companies and you want one less thing to worry about. With Think Global Recruitment helping me, and having been to the UK before, there were far fewer things to worry about.’

‘My reasons for going abroad were two-fold. Firstly, I originally came from South Africa where I had qualified. From a professional career perspective, I wanted to move because there was more opportunity abroad and more scope for growth for my career. The other side of it was a personal decision as South Africa was going through a hard patch and good jobs are hard to come by.’

‘I was open to opportunities, so rather than just the UK it could’ve been Australia, Singapore, or USA, for me it was the allure of having the right facilities like social care, health services, and lifestyle.’

Settling into a new city and a new role –

‘I’d never been to Leeds before, but I’d been elsewhere in the UK on holiday and I’ve got family here in the UK but none of them are near Leeds. So, I was completely alone.’

‘The company I went to work for had a lot of experience in people coming from overseas and they were incredibly helpful. If I had any questions on anything that I needed or whatever, even if I needed to phone the manager after hours for help, I know they would’ve been there. In auditing, you end up with so many people from all over the world that are coming and going; and most of the major accounting firms have an international network, so there’s no lack of people to interact with.’

‘I found that I didn’t have a problem with transitioning because I had the support base from the company, everyone was helpful. I would argue that having been here 18 months, it comes down to the Yorkshire hospitality.’

Of course, you have to learn a few things along the way, but it was nothing that made me ever question or regret my decision to make the move abroad. I learned so many new things and I’ve been challenged and it’s definitely not been boring.’

‘It’s been a positive for me since the get go’

‘Working abroad has allowed me to grow professionally, and I’ve recently moved from practice as an auditor into industry as a financial accountant in a manufacturing company. Everything about coming overseas has afforded this opportunity.’

‘From a professional perspective, Think Global Recruitment were great because it allowed me to get that 18 months of experience which was kind of like a crash course of the UK market and from there I’ve used that as a springboard to go wherever I want to go with my career which is fantastic.’

‘And from a personal perspective, I’ve absolutely loved it. I became excited about coming to the UK and getting the whole experience, meeting new people, and obviously all the opportunities to travel around to see new places and new things. It’s been a positive for me since the get go.’

‘It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life.’

‘The biggest highlight is that you’re in a new country’

‘You have to go travel around and see new places and with Europe right on your door step. The other really great thing is that it gives your friends and family an excuse to come and visit you.’

‘There are always different events on and happening that possibly I wouldn’t have experienced in South Africa. Things like concerts, beer festivals, art exhibitions and all these new things to experience, that’s been fantastic! And I find myself thinking I never would’ve done this if I didn’t make the move overseas. You kind of catch yourself thinking this every now and then.’

‘Do you research’ – My advice

‘The biggest advice I can give is to do you research, that is the most important thing.’

‘For me, I did a lot of research before coming overseas. My advice to anyone going overseas is to do the research and make sure you have realistic expectations. That is the key to making the transition that much easier, when you know you’ve got accommodation sorted and you’ve thought about your transport. Because I’d done my research I found the transition very easy and I had no problems. It really sets the expectation at the right level. And everything that I asked for from Think Global Recruitment and the company I was placed in, they were there to help and made me feel comfortable.’

We would like to thank Graham for sharing his story with us and wish him all the best for the future.

If you’re interested in taking your career global, we’re here to help. Please get in touch with us here to talk about your move abroad with our trusted consultants. 


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