3 January 2019

Andri Bredenhann - Expat in Macau

Andri Bredenhann - Expat in Macau

We’ve had the chance to talk to Andri Bredenhann, 30, a South African expat who has moved to Macau with her husband. Mrs Bredenhann, who has been living there for two weeks is a housewife and blogger. Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: South Africa


Q: What made you move out of South Africa?

A: My husband got a job in Macau worth moving for.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Macau, we chose it based on his new work’s location.


Q: How long have you been living in Macau?

A: He has been here three months, I have been here two weeks. I am permanently moving in September after I pack up our home in South Africa.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Alone


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Yes I do, I usually phone my mom and go for walks outside to any green area I can find. I will sit there and watch the people go by and clear my head.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: They are very friendly and really try to help you in the shops even though there is a language barrier. They will patiently wait for you to use apps on your phone to translate what you are saying to Chinese.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Macau? How did you manage to find a social circle there?

A: I haven’t really made a lot of friends yet, but I will be joining a church group of locals, and also get to know the wives of my husband’s co-workers and make friends that way.


Q: How does the cost of living in Macau compare to your home?

A: It is basically twice as expensive as in South Africa.


Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 25-30 MOP


Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 60-100 MOP


Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: 150-300 MOP


Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: 50 MOP, and I don’t smoke so I don’t know about the cigarettes


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Macau?

A: Yes, have a letter of employment, and ask your work’s Human Resource department to help you with preparing all the necessary documents.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I think they have good service. If you have all the necessary documentation with you it should go easy. Make sure what you need to obtain from your home country and obtain it before you move. We need a recently stamped, original marriage certificate that is Apostilled.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Macau is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: From what we have seen so far the services are good. The only challenge is finding medical staff that can speak good english, but there are American trained doctors here that you can go to if the language is an issue. The Hope Clinic in Macau and Taipa is a very good option - we went to the Taipa branch for enquiries yesterday and the lady at the front desk was very helpful and could speak English well. http://www.hopemacau.com


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in South Africa or Macau? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes, we have secured medical insurance with the help of the Pacific Prime firm - insurance with Cigna global. Now we have worldwide coverage except for USA. Essentials in my opinion would be excellent hospital cover and great cover for day to day medical needs. Dental would be an added bonus. If you are in a dangerous country, emergency evacuation is also needed. Repatriation is also something to consider if there is not adequate medical care in the country you live in.


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Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Macau? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I am still in the process of moving. So far I have noticed that deciding what should come to Macau with us and what should stay difficult as we cannot bring all of our stuff over with a shipping container. Our house content will be put into long term storage. We are using Active transport for the move, and Strorage RSA for the storage.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Learning the new language and I suppose the acculturation. In our home country we used to live in a big house with a garden, and now we will be moving into an apartment where we will be lucky to have a balcony. I will have to get a lot of plants for some green around me.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Macau?

A: Positive: The air is clean, you can go to the beach on your off days and it is very safe. Negative: Not knowing the language, and therefore not being able to fully engage with everyone around you.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Hac Sa beach is a nice place to go for some greenery and nature. St Paul’s Ruins and Senado square are beautiful. The mosaic sidewalks are really special to me. The giant panda park is a great place to relax and get away from the city.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: In 7-8 year’s time we will probably move to a new country for my husband’s work.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Try to learn the language and culture, stay organised, get out and about, never leave home without google translate for communicating with stores when necessary, find the beautiful places and spend as long as possible there, try different food and make your apartment feel like home again by adding personal items.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Macau?

A: Not yet.